sound proofing a shop vac vacuum

I developed a solution to my vacuum loudness as touched upon in my blog post on Monday.

First, i put the shop vac on a towel in the basement bathroom, closed the door, walked upstairs to the living room couch and turned on a tivo’d episode of Rick Steves Europe (travel show). That wound up being my testing grounds. I don’t want to disturb my wife when she’s upstairs watching TV while I’m running the shop vac downstairs.

Then I hung two huge comforters in the bathroom. One comforter covered 1.5 walls and it was folded in half. The other comforter was folded in half and covered 2/3 of the ceiling. And i hung a batman blanket on the door. I went upstairs. I could listen to Rick Steves comfortably at level 9 volume. The vacuum was still quite noticeable however.

Then I took down the comforters and Batman blanket. The vacuum, sitting on a blanket, remained in the bathroom with the door closed. I needed to have the volume at 10 to experience Rick Steves at the same comfort level as before. Not a huge difference, but certainly noticeable.

As a side note, it’s a bad idea to cover the vacuum with blanket. Initially I tried that and the vacuum was really hot after a couple minutes even with the exit vent uncovered. The blanket was simply sitting atop the vacuum.

Next, I put the vacuum under my work desk in the basement about 10 feet away from the bathroom. (The bathroom is about 4 feet away from the steps going down to the basement.) Rick Steves required a 10. So, having the vacuum in the closed bathroom with no comforters was exactly the same as having it under my desk with no comforters.

Finally, I set up some MDF boards around the desk on two open sides. The third open side is completely blocked by a couch. The fourth open side is where I sit. Then I covered the MDF and underside of the desk with a comforter folded in half. The other comforter was placed on top of some boxes under the desk.

Rick Steves could be heard at level 8 and the vacuum was barely noticeable! SUCCESS! The space under the desk turned out to be the perfect size. I was able to sound proof the entire space with two comforters, an exisiting couch, and 4 pieces of MDF.

Plus there should be enough room so the vacuum won’t overheat, though my legs will probably get toasty under the desk. And I can go do my work at my work desk which is a natural working space. When I had the comforters set up the bathroom, I tested out the space by dremeling some painted mat board. It got really hot in there with the vacuum running (even with the bathroom vent running.) There’s no windows in that room. It’s about a 4 1/2 foot by 6 foot space. I felt like I was in a prison cell.

The soundproofed work desk is gonna do just fine. I’ve been itching to dremel in the basement for a long time.

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16 years ago

You need to reincorporate the batman blanket.

16 years ago

What do you think of Rick Steves? I’ve been listening to his podcasts, but haven’t seen the TV show yet.