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Reducing noise in the home

Reducing noise in the home

Below is an extract from the noiseactionweek.org.uk web site that may be of interest to homeowners when it comes to issues about noise.

“Here are some tips for reducing noise in the home to minimise disturbance to neighbours and the rest of the household.

  • Alarms
  • DIY
  • Garden Noise
  • Loud Music
  • People
  • Pets
  • Household Appliances


Alarms are designed to make a noise – however misfiring alarms are one of the most disturbing and annoying neighbourhood noises.

  • Ensure you choose a reliable product and ensure alarms are installed and serviced regularly.
  • Car and intruder alarms should have a 20 minute cut out.
  • Register a key holder for your intruder alarm with your local authority who can be contacted if you are away if the alarm misfires (in some areas this is a legal requirement).


DIY jobs – such as drilling and hammering, sanding the floors and car repairs – can create a lot of noise. Eventually, they can take their toll on neighbours and the rest of the household.

  • Warn your neighbours that you are undertaking noisy work and try to work during normal waking hours.
  • Carry out the noisiest tasks in the middle of the day – if you must start early, do quieter jobs first, but get the really noisy work over before the end of the day.
  • Keep tools well maintained/sharpened and use lower/quieter settings on power tools where feasible. Where possible, use hand tools.

Garden noise

Our gardens are a place to rest, relax and play. Like our homes, they need maintaining, and are used for entertaining. Remember that any noise you make in your garden will be heard by your neighbours.

  • Carry out noisy activities in the middle of the day and if you have a prolonged, really noisy job to do such as hedge cutting, agree the best time to do it with your neighbours.
  • Where possible, use CE markings to help you purchase quieter equipment and maintain your equipment properly.
  • Site water features and wind chimes away from neighbouring properties and switch them off/silence them at night or if you go away.
  • If a child’s toy or game is extremely noisy, offer quieter alternatives.
  • If you have a barbeque or party, tell your neighbours, invite them if appropriate, avoid amplified music out of doors and if anyone does complain, keep it down.
  • If you fancy a garden firework display to mark your celebration proceed with care. It is now illegal to let off fireworks after 11 pm (except for Bonfire Night (Nov 5th), Diwali, New Years Eve and Chinese New Year) – see EPUK Firework leaflet for detail.

Loud music

Your music might not be to everyone’s taste – music in the wrong place at the wrong time can be torture for neighbours.

  • With amplified sound, keep the volume down, especially the bass which can be more annoying than higher frequencies. Don’t put speakers on or close to party walls, ceilings or floors.
  • If you have a bedroom TV, keep it quiet at night – especially if your bedroom adjoins someone else’s.
  • If playing an instrument, practice where and when it will have least impact on neighbours.  Play without amplifiers if possible and use mutes for wind instruments and pads and brushes on drums.
  • Where possible, use headphones.


  • Take care when closing doors – particularly if you live in a flat with a shared entrance – and particularly late at night and early in the morning. Make sure doors are shut or wedged open to avoid banging in the wind.
  • If necessary loosen hinges to reduce impact noise or fit a rubber or spring doorstop attached to the skirting board.
  • Cupboard doors can also be annoying – particularly if they are fixed to party walls. Avoid slamming doors. When fitting cupboards use isolating wall plugs.


  • Dogs bark – but only bark a lot if they are not content. If you have to leave your dog alone, make sure it’s well exercised and fed. Some dogs like a radio for company, or get a friend or neighbour to look in. If your dog continues to bark, consider dog training.
  • Cats can wail and fight – as they are independent they can be difficult to manage – however if a neighbour complains about your cat at least try and keep it in at night.
  • If you have a caged bird that likes to sing and squawk, make sure it’s kept where it will least disturb neighbours, particularly at night.
  • Some caged pets tend to be more active at night -chewing and rattling their cages. Consider carefully where and how such pets are housed.

Household appliances

  • When buying new appliances, buy a quieter model – not all models have a noise rating – if they haven’t, ask why. If manufacturers make claims about noise they must display an EU Energy or CE Label.
  • For washing machines, if possible, place on an even, concrete floor; do not overload and spread load evenly; run the machine at a time when it will least disturb neighbours – remember the final spin is the noisiest bit.
  • Check the rotating arms spin freely before starting as this will avoid thudding.
  • Do the vacuuming at a reasonable time – especially if you live in a flat or terrace, avoid early morning or late night cleaning sprees.
  • In the kitchen, avoid banging pans and cupboard doors and don’t use blenders/grinders on surfaces attached to party walls.
  • If installing a new boiler, consider the noise impact on your neighbours as well as the legal distances from windows when siting it. If pipes and cisterns are making noises get your plumber to check them, they may need adjusting.
  • Ensure extractor fans are securely fitted to avoid rattle, and kept them clean so they run smoothly. Fans on internal toilets should not be switched off – but it may be possible to adjust running times.
  • Avoid putting your refrigerator or freezer against a party wall – vibration from these can pass through the structure. Vibration can also pass through floors – if you live in a flat avoid placing your fridge above a neighbours bedroom.”

With all noise issues, sometimes soundproofing is the only solution and when this is the case, go to the domestic soundproofing experts at www.keepitquiet.co.uk or call the Sales department on01993704981