Even the best windows and patio doors will let some external noise into the home. The question is how much noise will reach your ears. This all has to do with science, the way sound travels, and the location. But it also has to do with the window installation, the glass, its condition, and whether or not it’s sealed. The measures you take relate to your windows but they are subject to your location, how much sound insulation you like to achieve, and whether you intend to reduce or absorb sound. Let us dig into all these wonderful things to help you understand how to reduce external noise through the windows.
Do you keep your windows shut due to external noise?
All neighborhoods are noisy. But not all neighborhoods are too noisy. Some cause disturbance only when an ambulance or police car passes by and the sirens make you close the windows. In urban areas, street noises are truly annoying since they are constant.
Your project may or may not involve window replacement, but it surely aims at reducing external noise from traffic, construction sites, nightclubs, children playing, car horns, voices, et cetera. It’s understandable. Such noises interrupt your work, affect your peace and quiet, keep you from communicating with others, and may cause health issues.
Can you really fight external noise pollution coming through windows?
The level of external noises entering the home can be reduced but it cannot be completely eradicated. Of course, it depends on the noise. There are two things to consider at this point.
a. How loud is your neighborhood? It’s one thing to try to reduce some noises, like an occasional dog barking, children’s voices, and light traffic and it’s different to try to reduce constant traffic, horns, music, screaming, and other noises in a busy street. In the case of the former, you can nearly reach perfection. In the case of the latter, you can reduce noise but not entirely.
b. Not all sounds are the same. High-pitched sounds (female and children’s voices, sirens, et cetera) reach our eardrums easier. Low-pitched sounds may not reach us equally easily but travel farther and so distant sounds can still enter our home.
You also need to consider your hearing ability. Humans usually perceive pitches between 20 Hz to 20 kHz, but this goes down as we grow older. How is this important when you consider changing your windows or doing something to reduce external noises? You need to consider it if there are people of different ages or hearing abilities within the house. And it’s best to follow the needs of the person with the best hearing ability to make sure their eardrums do not still suffer the noise while others think the problem is solved.
It’s important to mention once again that the noises – when loud and constant, cannot disappear. But they can be reduced or they can be absorbed.
- Noise reduction is all about blocking external noises from entering the home. This can happen by sealing and weatherstripping the windows, getting inserts, and placing sound-reducing curtains and blinds.
- Noise absorption is all about decreasing external noise once it enters the home by controlling its movement within the space. This may happen by placing objects that can absorb noise and keep the sound waves from bouncing off various surfaces. Some examples of such objects would be rugs, plants, acoustic panels, and more furniture.
If soundproofing windows 100% cannot be done, let’s see how to make homes quieter
We already established that the best way to make your home quieter is to stop the sound waves before they enter the interior and to absorb the waves so that they won’t travel in the internal space.
The glass of your windows plays a major role in this direction. When an external sound hits the glass of your window, the glass absorbs the sound wave’s frequency, causes vibration, and transmits the frequency to the following glass pane. During this short journey from one glass to another, the frequency of the wave is reduced, that’s why the wider the gap between the two panes, the better – the first glass absorbs some energy and the second glass absorbs some more energy.
To be more efficient, the window installers prefer to use two glass panes – each of a different thickness. This is a way to disrupt the sound waves – hence, their vibration and oscillation. And this helps to reduce the level of noise that actually comes into the house.
So, what you need to reduce external noise from coming through the window as much as possible is the following.
- At least two glass pane windows with thick glass – each pane should have a different thickness.
- Large space between the glass panes filled with argon.
- Place acoustic caulk, sealants, and weather strips around the windows.
- Use heavy fabrics to cover your windows.
- See if you can get a laminate coating film on the window glass.
- Put plantation and rugs in the home.