With more people moving into urban areas each year, noise pollution is a growing concern. Airplane flight paths and highway noise are two major offenders. Dealing with Houston highways are a fact of life here, and it would be ideal to leave them behind once you have finished driving.Even if your home is on a low traffic street, a new neighbor’s dog who barks all day and night or the leaf blower fired up next door can disrupt a calm indoor environment.
1) Outdoor Noise Barriers
Fences, Walls, and Berms get between the exterior of your home and the source of the noise. You can make a living wall with a dense planting of trees, bushes, and shrubs. Bamboo can be a good option, since it is fast-growing and naturally dense with the stalks growing very close together. Just make sure you plant the “clumping” variety, not the “running”, otherwise it will spread all over the yard and will be difficult to remove. Building a tall fence can also help lessen outside sounds. The less gaps there are, and thicker the material is, the more effective it will be. An earthen wall, known as a berm, is an effective way to stop sound from traveling and also directs rainflow on the property, yet can be a major undertaking if done once construction and landscaping is already complete.
2) Indoor Sound Reduction
Soft, spongy, absorbent materials soak up more sound than hard, brittle ones. Think of how a house echos when you have moved all of your furniture out. Thick floor-to-ceiling curtains, rugs and carpets, and even potted plants can all be effective at damping the effects of noise in the home. They won’t stop outside noise coming in, however, they absorb some of the soundwaves bouncing around and noise created from within the home.
3) Create Your Own Sound
You could put on a pair of noise cancelling headphones or earbuds once you get home, especially if you are dealing with a noise that usually stops by a certain time. This option is the simplest, but isn’t practical if you want to talk to and listen to family members. Running fans, playing music over speakers, or white noise machines could also overshadow outside sounds, but again, aren’t the best option if you want a quiet atmosphere to hear and be heard.
4) Caulking the Gaps and Sealing the Holes
How is all this noise pollution getting in, anyway? Since sound travels through the air as vibrational waves, any cracks or gaps from the interior of a house to the outside air is going to allow all that air and sound to come and go freely. You can stop this air transmission the same way you would stop a cold draft in the wintertime- by hunting for gaps around windows and doors and filling them with caulk or applying weatherstripping along the bottom edge. This simple step can reduce air infiltration, and is an affordable way to determine if greater measures need to be taken.
5) Window Replacement with Amsco Serenity Series Windows
Amsco Windows offers superior sound control in the Serenity Series. They are available in 3 styles and colors: horizontal slider, single hung and picture window in white, almond or taupe. With three glazing panels of varying strengths, and air space between them, these windows do more to stop sound frequencies. A layer of transparent plastic can deaden even more noise than glass alone- this is known as a laminated window, and is also an option. STC, or sound transmission class, is a rating to measure soundproofing. The higher the number, the less sound transmitted. Serenity Series offers an STC of 40-47, depending on the glazing options chosen. So maybe you’ve found those drafty spots around the windows and sealed them up. What if the windows themselves aren’t performing optimally? Could be the seals are leaky and the window has fogged up, they are older single-pane windows, or they were just improperly installed. When it comes to window performance, proper installation of windows is a must! The nicest new windows can leak, bow and buckle if sloppily installed, wasting your money and negating energy efficiency. You can trust the Houston Window Experts to take the time to measure accurately for a custom fit and do a proper, professional install on each and every window. If you think it may be time to upgrade to new windows to replace the old, let the Experts come to your home and go over the options with you.
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