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Street noise is an issue for almost everyone at one point or another. Whether you hear sirens and street life in a high-traffic environment like New York or loud construction noise interrupts your relaxation in the suburbs – street noise can and will penetrate your home. Here are some of the most effective and most common ways to keep the unwanted noise out.
Soundproof Your Windows to Reduce Street Noise
Windows are typically the largest transmission path through your home facade.
Sound blocking curtains, like the AcousticCurtain and AcoustiTrac reduce incoming sound by up to 90%, while also blocking 100% of light and reducing electric bills by their built-in heat transfer properties. Sound blocking curtains help deflect the traffic noise or construction sounds away from your living environment, and can be designed with decorative fabric styles and sheers for the ultimate lifestyle amenity.
Reducing Traffic Noise through Windows
Don’t jump to double-paned windows without doing research and measuring the amount of sound your current window treatments block. The STC rating of a product determines how much sound is actually blocked by it. The average window in your home will have an STC of about 21 – 24. Double-pane windows have an STC between 26 – 32, with the average being 29. For double-pane windows, it’s not the two pieces of thin glass that stop noise, for the most part it’s the airtight sealant and caulking used which prevents airflow into the home, along with the vacuum gap in the center that prevents noise from transferring through the window panes themselves.
Exterior Barriers Blocking Direct Line of Sight
If possible, create a natural barrier outside to fragment the sound waves. This can be done by planting tall shrubs between the road and your home, or erecting a fence in your backyard. Noise will still travel over or around the barrier, but will have less strength due to diffraction, which takes place before the sound waves can bend back down to the earth. Combine this with adding a fountain or waterfall and you create your own white noise. This tends to be more pleasant to the ear and more likely to distract you from the disruptive street commotion.
The amount of sound energy lost over a barrier can be calculated with the Fresnel calculation, which largely depends on the height of the barrier.
Seal Gaps to Reduce Exterior Noise
Comb through your home to find any air openings or unsealed gaps. As I mentioned before, this is crucial. Especially around windows and doors where sound will take the path of least resistance and travel directly into your home no matter how small the cavity is, eliminating the space altogether is key. Caulking and sealant is sold specifically for sound blocking and will also do a fair job of adding insulation to your home as well.
In today’s world, keeping your home a peaceful sanctuary isn’t always easy. We are constantly surrounded by commotion, so understanding the nature of sound and what products are on the market to help you is the first step to a more restful and peaceful existence.
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