If you’re growing cannabis indoors, there are always considerations over and above the equipment you need for optimising growth.
For many growers, stealth is often a high priority, so you’ll want to make sure you’re well-armed with odour prevention methods, but have you considered the noise level?
From fans and exhausts to lighting, all that equipment running soon adds up in decibels. Humming, rumbling and whooshing are all part of the landscape here – do you have anything in place to keep the noise to a minimum? If not, you might want to take steps to ensure your project is safe and discreet from prying ears.
In some buildings, regular daytime noise pollution will likely be enough to keep the noise of your project hidden – televisions, radios, traffic, and the daily chatter can go a long way to providing a decent screen for the sound coming from a cannabis grower’s equipment doing its thing. Nighttime, however, is a different matter. When all is quiet, and still, that noise will be far more perceptible in the building. For example, take an apartment block – you can potentially have neighbours above, below, or on either side.
Unless that building has incredibly dense concrete flooring and walls, you don’t need the ears of an elephant to hear grow equipment working at 2 am.
This article will look at common solutions for keeping your grow room quiet.
How to Silence a Grow Tent
This is the most common method of growing cannabis indoors for small-scale cultivators. The beauty of a grow tent is that the tent itself will do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to noise reduction, as these usually provide some degree of insulation.
Start by ensuring all of your equipment is inside the tent, and that includes that bulky exhaust fan – tempting though it may be to mount it outside the tent to save space, you have to remember that your exhaust fan is going to be the loudest piece of equipment when operational, so this should be your first consideration when looking to soundproof your setup.
1. Ceiling Mount Your Extractor Fan
Your tent’s ceiling bars are the true saving grace in this situation, and with some bungee cords and clips, you can easily mount your extractor/exhaust fan on the inside of your tent.
Better yet, employing bungee cords will eliminate any contact vibration which would otherwise occur if the extractor was pressed against the tent. Here’s an experiment for you to try – take anything which makes a noise (an electric razor or an electric toothbrush are two handy household examples) and press the butt end against a wall or a floor, then switch it on.
It appears louder because of the additional vibration. The same rule applies in your grow tent, so hoist that extractor high and keep it safely suspended to cut down on noise immediately.
2. Switch Your Grow Lights to LEDs
If you haven’t done this already, consider making the switch to an LED lighting setup. LED grow lights are significantly quieter than HID (High-Intensity Discharge) lighting setups.
This is primarily because older lighting systems produce a lot more heat and, as such, require a lot more cooling, which makes a lot more noise. To that point, using LEDs means you can even employ a smaller, quieter extractor in your tent, so switching to LEDs has multiple benefits.
3. Be Sure to Seal All Openings
Grow tents come with numerous openings and orifices for your convenience. These allow you to run various equipment through them, along with all the necessary additional hoses and cables that go along with them. All those extra nooks and crannies are spaces for sound to escape from (as well as light), so be sure you keep them all sealed.
To do this, all you need is a roll of duct tape. Tape them up as well as you can, and do it on both the inside and outside the tent (to make a good solid seal). Larger openings can be covered with a good thick cloth, which will do just fine for absorbing the sounds within your tent, stopping them from spilling out.
3. Don’t Run Fans on Full Blast
This seems like a no-brainer, but it would surprise you how many novice growers make the mistake of having everything running full tilt. As well as being considerably noisier, running fan speed at maximum can be too much for your plants.
Set the fans to the minimum required for the optimal airflow – providing just enough fresh air that your cannabis plants shimmer in the current – and you’ll enjoy a much quieter operational volume into the bargain. If you mount them up and off the floor, even better, as this will reduce fan noise even further.
How to Silence a Cannabis Grow Room
The most critical step in silencing a grow room is also the most labour-intensive step. There are numerous ways to soundproof a grow room, and the way you do it will depend on the size of the project, the space, your needs, and your budget. Before beginning, be aware that in some cases, these steps mean changing the room permanently and can require a good deal of effort.
The easiest way to soundproof a room is to hang vinyl coverings over the walls. Remember the experiment before, with the contact vibration? The same principle applies here, only on a larger scale. The vinyl will dampen those vibrations and cut the sound down considerably. Once you’ve taken care of walls, you’ll want to consider floors, and if you’re dealing with wooden flooring especially, vibration will be more of an issue than with concrete. The good news is this can be handled without too much of a headache – soundproof underlay is an excellent way to dampen the noise effectively. While it’s not exactly cheap, it’s easily obtained and provides a good soundproofing barrier. Better yet, even though it’s called underlay, you can lay it on top of existing flooring and still achieve results against both airborne noise and vibrational noise.
If you want to – or have to – go seriously ultra-stealth, then soundproof plasterboard should be affixed to the walls of your grow room. This is specially designed to absorb noise, and while it’s a more considerable undertaking, it’s the most effective. Some people even double-layer it to the walls to reduce the noise further. Are you thinking of using egg cartons for soundproofing? Think again. Egg cartons are highly flammable, and their soundproofing properties are poor at best.
As for your equipment, employ bungee cords and suspend everything from ceilings where possible to further minimise those vibrational noises.
Get a Ventilation Muffler
Again, your exhaust duct is going to be the source of the most noise, so if you’re not lucky enough to have a system that came with a muffler, get a muffler. Buying these can be costly but definitely worthwhile if you need to keep the noise to a minimum.
If Running Hydroponics, Add More Air Stones
Air stones play a part in determining how much noise the pump will make in a hydroponic setup. If you add extra air stones, the pump will run more quietly. Also, if your air stones are old or blocked, your pump will make more noise, so consider replacing your air stones regularly to keep things efficient and, therefore, quieter.
Lastly, remember that you may not have to employ every one of these techniques to quieten your setup. If dealing with neighbours, try to situate your noisier equipment away from adjoining walls wherever possible, and make sure any new soundproofing measures are non-flammable!