Letter Re: Home/Retreat Power Generator Noise Reduction by “Jerry the Generator Guy”

One thing to note about generator noise reduction. It’s not just a matter of running quiet by normal standards. It’s a matter of running quiet when nothing else is making any noise. With the grid down, a lot of normal background noise will be gone. That was one reason for my choice of solar electric power over a generator. – Raymond

JWR Replies: Remember that light discipline will be just as important as noise discipline, post-TEOTWAWKI. It is important to have the materials on hand to black-out your windows. Regardless of your power source, if you have power when nobody else does for blocks–or miles, then your house would be a “come loot me” beacon at night. Buy a stack of 1/2-inch plywood and two dozen 2″x4″x8′ studs now. Carefully measure and cut inserts for each of your windows, and label each of them for quick reference. The edges can be wrapped with rags or old blankets. They can be tacked in place (so that they don’t fall inward) with finishing nails or power screws driven in above, parallel to the sheet of plywood. At the same time, build a framework of 2x4s so that you can make a relatively light proof “airlock”–something a little bigger than a phone booth. It can be covered in opaque blankets. That way you can open your front door without fear of a blast of light escaping. T o be prepared for any overlooked light leaks, buy a few cans of expanding insulating foam (such as Dow “Great Stuff”, available at any hardware or building supply store such as Lowe’s or Home Depot) and some dark spray paint. Once you have your blackout shutters up, do a check for light leaks. As a final test, look for light leaks while wearing night vision goggles. (You will be amazed at what you missed!) It takes considerable effort to make a house that light-proof. But perhaps that is overkill, considering the capabilities of most would-be looters.