Noise pollution may be a major issue, particularly if you live in a densely populated region or in a high-occupancy apartment. Construction sounds, music that neighbours may play at all times of the day or night, screaming children, or simply the general sounds of everyday life may invade and become a disturbance in your house. You often find your sleep, attention, and discussions may be interrupted.
Your window is intended to allow things into your house, mostly sunlight and air, but it also allows sound in, even while your house is closed. Taking efforts to soundproof the glass in your home may go a long way toward minimising all that obtrusive noise, resulting in more peaceful evenings, less stress, and more enjoyable social interactions.
There are quite a few methods of soundproofing windows of which window inserts are undoubtedly the most successful choice, but they are expensive. Replacing older single-pane windows with modern double-pane windows, is another excellent, if costly, approach. Soundproofing windows using acoustic caulk is an option if you want something less expensive.
Noise Pollution and Its Types
Living in a city may cause noise levels to become exceedingly bothersome, if not hazardous, affecting both your lifestyle and your health. While noise pollution can take virtually any form, it is important to note that most homes will face noise pollution from a multitude of sources.
Noise pollution from aeroplanes can cause mild to serious disturbances depending on how distant you are from the flight path. Noise levels can exceed 97dB for people living one mile below the aircraft path. Prolonged exposure to this level of noise (more than one hour per day) can cause substantial health concerns.
According to a 2013 British Medical Journal research, those who resided near Heathrow airport were 10-20% more likely to be referred to a hospital for a stroke or other cardiovascular illness. Also according to a German study, being exposed to an average noise level of 60dB elevated coronary heart disease by 61% in males and 80% in females.
2. Road Traffic
Noise pollution from vehicle traffic may be a serious annoyance for almost everyone in the city. With motorcyclists, buses, vehicles, and mopeds all sharing the streets, it can be a true riot of sounds, with levels varying at all hours of the day and night. Most traffic noise pollution will be around 45 and 75 decibels.
The noise of road traffic will be a little inconvenient at the low end of the spectrum, but extended exposure can cause a major increase in cardiovascular illnesses. At night, when the preferred noise level is 30dB, exposure to noise from traffic might be very hazardous.
3. Railway or Train Noise
It can be quite advantageous to live near a railway station. The unmistakable rumbling of tunnels or the chug of freight trains, on the other hand, might rapidly become a visceral pain. A diesel train will peak out at roughly 80dB from 100 feet away, which is equivalent to a freight train from 15 feet away. This degree of noise pollution can cause irreversible hearing impairment if exposed for an extended period of time.
How Do Soundproof Windows Work?
Soundproof windows minimise noise pollution by simply reducing the strength of the sound wave. This is accomplished by utilising materials that filter and reflect sound. To fight noise, soundproof windows use acoustic glass as well as sealants and other acoustic features.
Because wood is neither very elastic nor thick, it is inherently a good conductor of sound. This means that unprocessed wood won’t do anything to soundproof your home. However, the construction of soundproof windows attempts to compensate for this inherent shortcoming. Wood is classified as an anisotropic material (when sliced perpendicular to the grain, it is stronger than when cut lengthwise). So, for soundproof windows, the timber is chopped against the grain to create increased noise resistance.
Glass is an inelastic material, which means it should be a weak conductor of sound in comparison to wood. However, because window glass is very thin, it will hardly do much to soundproof your house. This is why acoustic glass is usually used in soundproof windows.
These are some of the various ways in which glass can be soundproofed:
1. Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB)
The panes of glass in noise reduction glazing are separated by a layer of PVB. This is intended to block noises from passing through the glass in the 1000–3000 Hz range, which is the most vulnerable range for humans. PVB normally provides a 10dB decrease in perceived loudness, which is regarded to be a 50% reduction.
2. Micro Rubber Spacers
Micro-rubber spacers are installed around the windows. These spacers act as a buffer between the window frame and the sill, reducing the amount of noise surrounding the wood.
3. Coincidence Frequency in Glass
A ‘coincidence frequency‘ will be found in any sheet of glass. This is the frequency at which sound is conveyed or enhanced rather than suppressed as a result of the form and size of the glass. This coincidence frequency is accounted for by employing glass thicknesses that differ by 30%.
Ways To Soundproof Your Windows
Don’t worry, replacing your windows isn’t the only option. There are a few other options you have to soundproof windows that have already been placed in your home. Remember, all methods will not be as successful as upgrading your windows!
1. Plugging in Air Gaps in Your Windows
Close investigation may reveal minor air spaces around your windows that are allowing noise through. These might be in the frame itself or in the space between the glass and the frame. The good news is that either can be adequately treated and make a significant impact. To begin, run your palm around the frame, feeling for any little air draughts. You have two easy alternatives based on where they are placed.
Acoustic caulk is a product intended particularly to fill air gaps and act as a noise insulation barrier. What’s more, it’s rather affordable and doesn’t require any specialised skills to utilise.
Weatherstripping is installed within the window aperture. These are referred to as ‘window jambs.’ It is made of materials such as foam and silicone and is intended to keep the rain out. However, it does an excellent job of filling air spaces. Furthermore, installation could not be easier.
2. Installing Noise Reduction Curtains and Blinds
It should be emphasised that these items will do little to keep noise out of your house. They will, instead, alter the acoustic qualities of the space. In other words, they will lessen the echo. They can also increase thermal performance while covering your windows.
The important factor to consider when purchasing acoustic curtains and blinds is thickness. Less noise implies more mass. Curtains, on the other hand, tend to perform better since they tend to cover more of the frame.
3. Installing Acoustic Window Inserts
When living in an area with quite a lot of noise pollution, the most effective way to lessen the amount of noise penetrating your house is using soundproof window inserts. Inserted about a few inches in front of your existing window frame, double-pane windows help prevent over 90% of all sounds from entering your home.
Almost all of the sound vibrations are muffled by the air that is present between the two panes, resulting in higher noise-reduction advantages than double-pane windows alone. The most efficient inserts are all made of a type of laminated glass, which is made of two layers of glass that are separated by a layer of plastic in between. The layer of plastic in between is what helps efficiently muffle all of the vibrations entering your home.
Installing Double-Cell Shades
Cellular shades are made up of rows of cells or hexagonal fabric tubes layered on top of each other. These shades have numerous functions: they stop light from entering inside, prevent heat from accumulating inside in summer, preserve heat in the winter, and soak up the sound to prevent echoing. While single-cell blinds have a single layer of cells and so absorb only a limited amount of sound, double-cell shades have two layers of cells and hence absorb more sound.
People Also Asked
A quick FAQ section will help resolve any doubts and queries still left after reading through the details above. Here we go:
Why can wind be heard throughout my house?
The sound of the wind flowing through the trees may be strong enough to pierce the windows if you have single-pane windows or no soundproofing devices in place. Wind may also be whistling into your home through gaps between window panes and other elements of the window housing, such as the casing, sills, or jambs.
Can glass windows be 100% soundproofed?
Unfortunately, for now, 100% soundproof windows don’t exist. However, you can purchase noise-reduction windows that prevent over 90% of all the sounds from entering your house.