Keeping the City Out of Your City Living: A Guide to Reducing Noise Pollution

City living is thrilling, but challenges like noise pollution affect well-being. Urban sounds, though ambient, can harm quality of life. This blog discusses minimizing sound intrusion into your space.

Sound can enter your home through windows and walls. Identifying these points helps devise noise reduction strategies effectively.

 

How Sound Enters Your Living Space:

There are several ways sound can infiltrate your home, especially through your windows and walls. Identifying these entry points can help you devise effective strategies to reduce noise pollution:

 

  1. Windows with Leaks: Windows that leak air also allow noise from the street to seep inside. Worn-out weatherstripping is often the culprit here.
  2. Window Seal Types: Different window seal types offer varying degrees of tightness. Casement or tilt and turn windows with compression seals provide better sound insulation compared to double hung or sliding windows.
  3. Single Pane Windows: Single pane windows offer little to no insulation from street noise due to their limited thickness.
  4. Poorly Insulated HVAC Units: HVAC units mounted under the windows, without proper insulation, can allow significant noise penetration.

Understanding Sound Transmission:

Sound is vibrations in air pressure, measured in decibels (db). A small decibel change is perceptible. Annoying sounds exceed ambient noise by 4db; reducing them is crucial for peace.

 

In the realm of sound insulation, STC (Sound Transmission Class) and OITC (Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class) are key metrics. STC, focuses on mid to high-frequency sounds, while OITC, emphasizes on lower frequencies, making it more suitable for environments with outdoor noise like traffic. To choose the right metric, consider your space’s unique sound environment, and consulting with professionals can provide valuable insights. Combining both STC and OITC ratings may offer a comprehensive understanding of a material or assembly’s sound insulation capabilities, ensuring an informed decision for a quieter and more comfortable space.

 

Reducing Noise Levels in Your Living Space:

Addressing noise pollution doesn’t necessarily mean bricking up your windows or walls. There are more practical and effective methods to tackle this issue:

 

  1. Replace the windows:  Replacing your existing windows with new updated windows with new weatherstripping should be an improvement. 
  1. Sound-Attentive Glass: Replacing your existing windows with sound-attentive glass is one of the best solutions. Here are some options:
    • Double Pane/Insulated Glass (IG): This upgrade typically offers a Sound Transmission Coefficient (STC) of 29 and Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class (OITC) of 24, providing a noticeable reduction in noise.
    • Laminated Glass: Incorporating laminated glass in a double pane package can further improve sound insulation. A typical 3/4″ insulated glass package with laminated glass typically offers an STC of 33 and OITC of 28. Additionally, it helps block harmful UV rays, reducing fading of interior furnishings.
    • Staggered Thickness: Increasing the overall thickness of the IG package and staggering the thickness ratings can achieve an impressive STC of 38 and OITC of 28 – almost equivalent to a standard building wall construction.City living is thrilling, but challenges like noise pollution affect well-being. Urban sounds, though ambient, can harm quality of life.City living is thrilling, but challenges like noise pollution affect well-being. Urban sounds, though ambient, can harm quality of life.

  2. Interior Windows: In some cases, where replacing primary windows is not an option (e.g., landmark areas), consider installing interior windows inboard to the existing ones. While this may sacrifice some views, it significantly reduces noise intrusion as each additional layer of glass adds to reflection and distortion.

Argon Gas Misconception:

Contrary to a common misconception, Argon gas used in insulated glass does not block noise. Its primary function is to enhance insulation by offering a cost-effective alternative to ambient air, which primarily contains oxygen and nitrogen. If superior insulation is desired, Krypton gas, with its smaller molecules, can be used, but it requires a specialized sealing process.  For better sound reduction, focus on window upgrades and other strategies mentioned above.

 

Conclusion:

Living in a bustling city doesn’t mean you have to endure constant noise disturbance. By understanding how sound enters your living space and implementing effective solutions like sound-attentive glass, you can create a peaceful and tranquil urban sanctuary. So, take the necessary steps to keep the city out of your city living and enjoy a quieter, more serene home environment.