Kitchen Noise – dishwasher

According to a survey by AEG Electrolux, 40% of the people surveyed long for a quieter kitchen and 25% of the people surveyed take noise into consideration when buying an appliance.

The most important element in designing a quieter kitchen is to select quieter appliances.   An example of relative noise levels from our surroundings, are shown below:

Normal conversation   60db

Moderate rainfall          50db

Quiet conversation       40db

Whisper                           30db

Decibels (a measurement of noise) are logarithmic and not linear in measurement.  This means that a 50db dishwasher will be twice as loud as a 40db dishwasher.  Most dishwashers rated below 50dbA can be considered quiet, and dishwashers rated below 45dbA can be considered relatively silent.    Industry standards for measuring dishwasher sound levels now allow you to compare between brands as well as models in selecting a quieter dishwasher.  Technical specifications on appliance websites or customer service 800 numbers provide you with access to the db rating.

 Proper installation and placement can also affect how quiet a dishwasher will be.  A dishwasher that is surrounded by cabinets and on an outside wall will probably be quieter than a dishwasher that is placed in an island with only a thin sheet of wood separating the dishwasher from the room.  The access hole for drain and water lines (side of the sink cabinet) allow pump noises to escape under the sink unless the hole is plugged with insulation.  Drain noises at the end of a cycle can be minimized by choosing a good garbage disposal such as the Insinkerator Evolution, which has a special rubber drain flap designed to minimize drain noise.  Insure that the bottom dishwasher kickplate cover sets flush on the floor, and add additional sound deadening material to the back of the plate if necessary. 

If the noise level is still too loud after installation, you might consider upgrading or adding soundproofing in the following locations:

-        If insulation behind kickplate is fiberglass or thinner than 2 inches, you might consider replacing it with a 2” absorbent soundproof mat.

-        If there is a gap between the dishwasher and the cabinet/counter, fill this with a flexible round foam weather stripping material from the local hardware store.

-        If room allows, line the dishwasher cabinet space and under the counter with ½” absorbent sound mat or drape soundproofing mass loaded vinyl over the dishwasher before installing.

-        If only a small piece of foam is between the inner and outer door, replace this with a soundproofing absorbent mat the same thickness.

-        www.soundproofing.org for materials and additional info

Personal Experience – I have a GE profile dishwasher rated at 47dbA, and I hear a very light swooshing of water.  Noise level seems quite tolerable.

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