Being woken up at 3 AM by your neighbor’s generator kicking into full gear is not something anyone wants to deal with. But, confrontation is uncomfortable, too. So, what are you to do if your neighbor’s generator is too loud?
If your neighbor’s generator is too loud, you need to politely speak with them about the situation. If your neighbor refuses to listen to you, then involving either your HOA or the police should be your next course of action.
But, before we get the police involved, we need to understand what exactly the laws are regarding generators and what you can do before involving the police. We are going to let you in on all of this information right now.
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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!
Quieting a gas generator can be very tricky since they are naturally loud due to all the vibrational noise they create.
One way to deal with your neighbor’s loud generator is to cancel out the noise completely until the situation gets dealt with.
Here are a few products we recommend:
1. Sony WH-1000XM4 Noise Canceling Headphones – Probably the best and most effective way of drowning out your inconsiderate neighbors.
2. PQ Wax Ear Plugs for Sleep – A simple yet somewhat effective approach to ignoring your neighbors.
3. SNOOZ White Noise Sound Machine – Helps promote great sleep quality, and will drown out the noise of your neighbor’s car.
Before we get into what you should do about your neighbor’s noisy generator, let’s discuss the laws regarding generators. This will help you understand the actions that you can later take.
Is It Against the Law to Run a Generator?
It is not against the law to run a generator. During times of crisis, generators provide households with necessary electricity, therefore, it is not illegal.
Even outside of natural disasters, when there is electricity, it is still not illegal to run a generator. However, if your neighbor’s generator is producing too much noise, they may be breaking other laws.
Is It Illegal to Use a Generator to Power Your House?
It is not illegal to use a generator to power your house. However, if your generator is creating too much noise, you may be breaking other laws regarding excessive noise.
Generators provide a house with electricity when it is not available. They are sometimes a necessity especially in areas that often get hit by hurricanes and tornadoes.
There aren’t any laws regarding using a generator to power your house but there are laws that state how much noise you can make throughout the day and night.
If you believe your neighbor is breaking these laws you can bring them to their attention.
Can You Get In Trouble for Using a Generator?
You won’t get in trouble for solely using a generator, but you can get in trouble for the generator making too much noise. If you are using a generator in a neighborhood, you need to take your neighbors into account.
Therefore, if your neighbor is using a generator all the time and producing way too much noise, it is possible that you can get them in trouble for the excessive noise.
Any noise that is threatening the enjoyment of your property, can be considered excessive.
You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Use a Generator in an Apartment
Can You Use Generators in Residential Areas?
You are technically allowed to use a generator in a residential area. Generators are necessary to supply electricity, especially to medical equipment, so there are no laws prohibiting generators.
Regardless of whether you live in the country or in a residential area, you are allowed to use a generator. However, if you have an HOA, they may have specific regulations regarding this, but it is not necessarily likely.
Some medical equipment like CPAP machines, run off of electricity, and therefore, generators are a must for people who use this type of equipment.
Can My Neighbor Legally Run a Generator All Day?
Your neighbor is legally allowed to run a generator all day. However, if the generator is creating excessive noise, he may be breaking other laws, such as nuisance.
There are no laws stating how long you can run a generator, especially during power outages. Sometimes when the power is out for a long amount of time, people need to use their generator constantly to power their house.
As annoying as it is, unfortunately, there are no laws helping you out in this situation. However, if the generator is causing too much noise, you can think of charging your neighbor with noise nuisance.
Can a Neighbor Run a Generator All Night?
Your neighbor is technically allowed to run a generator all night but it is not a safe idea for them. They shouldn’t leave electrical devices running unattended since anything can break at any time.
A generator can break at any time, and if someone is sleeping while this happens it can prevent them from noticing that something is wrong. This can possibly result in a fire starting.
Additionally, generators produce carbon monoxide. If the carbon monoxide builds up overnight, it is possible that while your neighbor is sleeping they could suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning.
This is especially possible if the generator is near their bedroom window
You might also enjoy our post on What to Do if Your Neighbor Won’t Turn Down Their Music
Should My Neighbor Turn Their Generator off at Night?
It would be very polite for your neighbor to turn their generator off at night since loud generators can make it difficult for you to sleep. However, depending on what your neighbor is using the generator for, this may not be possible.
If your neighbor is using the generator to power a medical device, such as a CPAP machine, it may not be likely that they are going to turn off their generator at night.
However, you can always suggest to them to purchase a battery-powered generator that they can use inside which doesn’t produce hardly any noise.
Is It Rude to Run a Generator at Night?
Running a generator at night is not considered rude or abusive behavior. However, it can be considered intrusive and disturbing to whoever is nearby.
Generators emit very loud noises that can be heard hundreds of feet away from where you are using them.
This can cause serious disturbance for your neighbors who might need their rest the whole day due to an already stressful situation.
If this is a temporary situation, such as during a power outage, you can set the generator out of earshot of where your neighbor might rest.
If it is an ongoing issue, you can always talk to your neighbors and let them know how loud their generator is.
It’s worth noting that generators should be operated no less than fifty feet away from your home or residence.
What if My Neighbors Generator Is Too Loud?
If the generator is a temporary issue, such as a result of a power outage, there are several steps you can take to ensure your neighbor gets through the situation with minimal disturbance:
- Place towels or blankets around the windows and doors of their house to reduce the amount of noise getting inside.
- Close your windows to block out any extra sound.
- Wear earplugs or use white noise machines to sleep through them.
If you are experiencing an ongoing issue with your neighbor’s generator being too loud, talk to them about the situation first before taking further action. Your neighbor may not be aware of the problem!
What Can I Do When My Neighbor Runs a Generator All Night?
If your neighbor’s generator runs all night and it is making it difficult for you to sleep, you should start by discussing the issue with your neighbor.
Try to approach your neighbor during a time when you don’t assume they would be in a rush, for example, when they are walking their dog or gardening.
You can kindly ask them why are they are using their generator and wait to hear their response. If it is a medical reason, you should approach the situation with a lot of sympathy.
You can discuss strategies to quiet the generator or you can discuss that they purchase a portable generator to use inside, instead.
Either way, let them know that the generator is very loud for you during the night, and you would like to reach a middle ground so that you can have a peaceful night’s sleep again.
How Late Can You Run a Generator?
There isn’t a specific time regarding how late you can run a generator but there is a specific time that states when you need to stop making as much noise. This is typically 10 PM.
Your area will most likely have a bylaw that’s States when quiet hours are. Generally, this time is between 10 PM and 8 AM.
Therefore, if your neighbor’s generator is creating a lot of noise after 10 PM, you may have grounds to charge them for a noise nuisance.
How Many Hours Can a Generator Run?
A generator can run for as long as it is being fueled. Loud generators typically run off of gasoline, so, as long as there is enough gasoline to run the generator, it will continue running.
This can be unfortunate news if you are waiting for your neighbor’s generator to turn off at some point during the night.
However, that generator will keep running like the Energizer Bunny until it runs out of fuel.
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Actions You Can Take About Your Neighbor’s Noisy Generator
Now that we have sorted out the laws regarding generators, let’s discuss the actions we can take to limit your neighbor’s noisy generator.
What Can I Do When My Neighbor Is Constantly Running Their Generator?
If your neighbor is constantly running their generator, you first need to ask yourself if there is currently a natural disaster that is causing them to use the generator and then go from there.
For example, if there has been a hurricane or a snowstorm, and your area is out of power, this may cause your neighbor to constantly run their generator. They are supplying their home with the necessary energy.
However, if your area has power and your neighbor is still running their generator constantly, you need to have a conversation with them about it.
Start by discussing with your neighbor that their generator creates a lot of noise and it interrupts your day. You can explain to them that it is not allowing you to sleep or work properly, whatever the issue is.
You can suggest finding ways to quiet the generator or perhaps, purchasing a quieter one, specifically a battery-powered generator.
How Do You Mitigate Generator Noise?
Thankfully, there are several ways that your neighbor can mitigate their generator noise. The obvious strategy is placing the generator further away from your house.
However, this may not be possible if you live in a tight neighborhood. Thankfully, there are other ways to reduce the noise produced by generators.
Try suggesting these strategies to your neighbor:
- Reduce vibration – By placing a rubber washer to the screws that secure the engine to the frame, much of the vibration will be reduced, leading to less noise.
- Mount on a rubber platform – This will also reduce any noise created by vibrations.
- Install an acoustic barrier – Some generators come with a type of enclosure that is meant to reduce noise. You can either DIY one or see if you can purchase one that suits your generator’s model.
- Purchase a quieter generator – Many battery-powered generators produce little noise that may benefit both you and your neighbor.
How Can I Talk to My Neighbors About Their Noisy Generator?
The best way to talk to your neighbor about their noisy generator is to first understand why they are using their generators so much. If it is for medical reasons, you should approach the situation lightly.
Additionally, be careful not to bring up their noisy generator if you are currently experiencing a natural disaster in your area, such as a hurricane, tornado, or snowstorm.
Your neighbor likely does not have the capability to currently go out and buy a new generator or implement any strategies to quiet it.
Regardless of the situation, you should approach your neighbor in a friendly and kind manner. Express to them how loud their generator is to you and why it is causing you distress.
Hopefully, they will be sympathetic to the situation and try to reach a middle ground with you. But, if they do not, you can start to think about involving either your HOA or the police.
Can I Call the Cops on My Neighbors About Their Noisy Generator?
You definitely have the right to call the cops on your neighbor if their generator is being too noisy. Although, before you call the cops, you should have a discussion with your neighbor about it first.
Being a good neighbor involves being understanding and sympathetic. Therefore, you should discuss with your neighbor why they are using their generator so much and go from there.
If it is for medical reasons or because there is simply no power in the area, you should be a little more understanding that they have to use their generator.
But, if it has nothing to do with any of those reasons, you should first discuss how much the generator is irritating you and see if they will do something to mitigate the noise.
If they simply do not care, you can let them know that you will be calling the cops on them if they cannot deal with the noise.
When To Involve The Police
Unfortunately, some situations have to involve the police. In this case, if your neighbor does not care that their noisy generator is bothering you, you have the right to get the police involved.
Can I Complain About Generator Noise?
You can complain about generator noise if it is going over a certain amount of decibels that is prohibited during quiet time. The noise from the generator also needs to last at least three hours.
In most areas, the quiet time starts at 10 PM. This means that levels of noise cannot be over a certain amount of decibels and cannot last for a long time.
For example, if a dog barks a couple of times really loudly, you cannot complain about this.
But, if your neighbor’s generator is constantly making noise all through the night that is really loud you can complain about this.
What Is Considered Excessive Noise?
Noise is measured in a unit called decibels. Excessive noise is a noise that is above 60 decibels for a long amount of time, at least a couple of hours.
As an example, the regular conversation usually produces a noise of about 60 decibels. A vacuum cleaner produces a noise of 75 decibels.
If your neighbor was constantly running their vacuum outside, this would be considered excessive noise.
So, if you think your neighbor’s generator is as loud as a vacuum cleaner, and they are running it constantly, this can be considered excessive noise.
Is Seventy Decibels Too Loud?
Seventy decibels is too loud for a sustained amount of time. The average generator does, in fact, typically measure around 60 to 70 decibels. So, if you are running your generator constantly, you may be creating noise pollution.
Therefore, if your neighbor’s generator is constantly running, you likely have a good case to be made for noise nuisance.
You can file a noise complaint with your local police station if your neighbor does not change anything about his generator after you speak to them.
Is a Generator a Noise Violation?
A generator can be considered a noise violation if it is loud, between 60 to 70 decibels, and running for a long amount of time, usually longer than 2 to 3 hours.
Cities typically have bylaws that state when you can produce more noise than usual. Typically this time ends at 10 PM.
Therefore, if your neighbor continues to run his generator throughout the night, and it is very loud, this can be considered a noise violation.
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What Is Considered a Noise Nuisance?
A noise nuisance is anything that causes excessive noise after the designated quiet time decided by your city. Excessive noise is noise typically louder than 60 decibels and lasts for at least two to three hours.
Additionally, the noise has to affect the enjoyment of your property. For example, if your neighbor’s generator does not allow you to sleep or work properly, this can be considered a nuisance.
How Do I File a Noise Complaint?
To file a noise complaint, you can either do it through your city’s website or visit your local police station. They will ask you to fill out a form that specifies the parameters of the complaint.
Most major cities will have a form on their website that allows you to quickly fill out a noise complaint. For example, here is the one for New York City.
The form will ask you the specifics of the complaint such as what exactly the problem is, where it is happening, and who you think is causing it.
If your city does not have a noise complaint form on their website, you can either call your local police station or dial 311 which should put you through to the police.
What Will Happen After I File a Noise Complaint?
After you file a noise complaint, an investigation will be opened. The police will typically visit your home within 8 hours, depending on where you live, if they are not handling any emergencies.
If the noise is still happening when they arrive, they will be able to take action. But, if it is not still happening, they may be able to speak with your neighbor if you have enough proof of the noise.
This is why it is wise to keep a logbook of when your neighbor’s generator is running so you at least have something to show the cops.
How Can You Make Your Generator as Quiet as a Cricket?
The easiest way to make your generator as quiet as a cricket is to actually purchase a battery-powered generator. Gas generators are naturally very loud and it can take a lot of work to only reduce the noise by a little bit.
Gas generators tend to produce noise that is around 60 to 70 decibels, this is as loud – if not louder – than a vacuum cleaner.
On the other hand, battery-powered generators, are typically either noiseless or make very little noise. This can be an ideal solution if you are looking for a quiet generator.
Now that we have covered exactly what you can do if your neighbor’s generator is being too noisy, hopefully, you can make the best decision for your situation.
Just remember to give your neighbor the benefit of the doubt and let them explain why they are using their generators so much.
It is best to be a friendly neighbor before you start throwing around threats that involve the police.