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How to make your noisy RV furnace quiet

Have you ever cursed your RV furnace for waking you up in the middle of the night? Have you ever had to turn up the volume on the TV when you turn on the heat? RV furnaces are notoriously noisy for a number of reasons. Generally, most of the noise comes from the high speed fan which is then amplified by the enclosure the oven sits in. This instructable focuses on how to reduce oven noise using soundproofing material and a little airflow trick that will reduce the noise level to a dull roar.

Step 1: Measurement enclosure

Start by removing the return air register and inspecting the inside of the heater enclosure. Using a tape measure, measure the dimensions of the top, back, and sides of the enclosure. For example, the top of the cabinet might measure 24″ x 24″. That’s 2′ x 2′, or 4 square feet. ft What you are doing is measuring the total square footage of the interior of the room where you will place the soundproofing material. Usually about 6-8 square meters. footing is necessary, unless you have a really large enclosure, like the inside of a dining room lower storage area.

Step 2: Determine Airflow Requirements

Now take out the manual for your oven. Find out how many square inches of return air area the furnace requires to operate effectively. For example, a 30,000 BTU Suburban furnace requires 54 square feet. in. of opening area for air to flow through the return grille. This size of oven will usually have a rack that has 4 sets of louvers. In reality, only 2 are required to support the return air requirement, which in this case is approximately 60 sf. in.

Step 3: Adding Soundproofing Material to Check In

Next, add soundproofing material to the back of the cash register. Much of the noise is transmitted through the front of the cash register, so it makes sense to try and reduce noise here as well. In the example in step 2, you would apply soundproofing material to the back of the cash register over the two center columns of the four louvers. This is fine as it still meets the return air requirements of the furnace.

Step 4 – Add Soundproofing to the Enclosure

Cut the soundproofing material to fit your oven enclosure measurements and glue it to the walls (sides, top and back) of the enclosure. The material suggested in the parts source link below can be had with a peel and stick backing, making joining the material much easier. It costs a bit more than the non-sticky stuff, but you won’t have to use glue if you choose this type.

Step 5 – Install the Return Grille

Replace the return air grille and turn on the oven. Let the oven run through a complete cycle to make sure everything is working properly.

Tips and Warnings:

  • You can expect around a 6dB reduction in noise level. How much is this? The human ear perceives sound levels of 3 dB as twice as loud or soft. For example, if you measure the noise output of your furnace, it might be 61 dB at 5′. Reducing the noise level to 58 dB would feel twice as quiet. With this mod, using the 3/4″ material, your oven could be up to four times quieter! Now you won’t have to turn up the volume on the TV every time the oven turns on!
  • Be sure to provide adequate airflow through the return air grille by meeting your furnace’s minimum airflow requirements specified in your owner’s manual. Otherwise, the heater may work erratically or shut down due to overheating.

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