How to Reduce Freeway Noise in My House

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Noise generated by cars and trucks traveling on a freeway is created by the vehicle's engine, exhaust system and the sound created by tires moving against pavement. Traffic noise typically increases with higher vehicle speeds, greater volume of vehicles and higher numbers of trucks. Residents living adjacent to or near freeways can find noise levels objectionable, and will seek solutions to reduce traffic noise levels in their homes and yards.

How To Reduce Freeway Noise

  • Contact your local planning department to determine if any freeway improvements are programmed. Freeway construction projects frequently include noise mitigation.

    Since traffic noise increases with speed, vehicle speed enforcement can also have some effect on highway noise.

  • Evaluate opportunities for constructing noise barriers on your property. A variety of materials are available for noise walls, including wood, masonry, stucco, steel, fiberglass and composite materials. Key requirements are that the barrier be solid (no gaps), and that the barrier is high enough and long enough to block the line of sight between the highway vehicles and your home. For multistory homes, it can be difficult (cost-prohibitive or in violation of community building codes) to install walls and fences that are high enough to block the line of sight to upper story windows.

  • Consider constructing noise barriers using natural materials. Where sufficient area is available, you can construct earth mounds ("berms"). Again, the berm must be high enough to block the line of the sight to highway vehicles. Foliage typically has little noise reduction value unless it is very dense.

  • Look at the windows in your home. Double- and triple-pane windows provide more noise reduction than single-pane windows. Heavy draperies on the interior of windows can help reduce noise. Heavier exterior doors may help. Increased insulation in walls and attics can also contribute to noise reductions. Seal any gaps in exterior walls.

  • Evaluate opportunities for installing central heating and cooling systems to allow windows to remain closed.

  • Lower-cost solutions include "white noise" generators--using music, fans, waterfalls, etc. to create controlled sounds that can drown out or muffle traffic noise.

References

  • Photo Credit freeway image by Fabio Barni from Fotolia.com
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