Whether you’re trying to catch your nightly beauty sleep or you just want to hear your favorite tunes on the radio as you cruise down the highway, dealing with obnoxious noises coming from your RV can be a serious travel frustration. Squeaks, rattles, revs and hums… who knew your RV came with so many sounds on board?
Not only are RV noises annoying, but they can actually cause some serious headaches on occasion — and I’m not talking about the kind you can fix by popping a couple of Advil. For instance, if your RV’s front engine is way too loud when it runs, you may have trouble hearing the navigation directions on your RV GPS or map app. As you probably know, a wrong turn isn’t always the easiest thing to deal with when your vehicle is 30 or 40 feet long!
But no matter what kind of din is disrupting you, there are ways to calm the cacophony — without basically living in a set of earplugs. (Not that they’re a bad investment; this writer actually sleeps with them in almost every night!)
The first step to turning down the turbulence is to figure out its source. So we’ve put together this post outlining just a few of most common causes of RV loudness. That way, you can find the root of the racket and tell it to quiet down.
Causes of RV Sounds
From your engine to your camper AC unit to even smaller, sneakier components, there are all sorts of places annoying RV sounds could be coming from. Here are a few.
There’s no way around it: an RV engine has a lot of work to do, and it’s got to make some noise to do it. This will be especially impactful if your RV’s chassis has a front-engine design, since you’re basically sitting right on top of it while it runs.
You can contact your RV’s manufacturer to look into insulation packs and other ways to minimize engine noise. If you think this will be an issue for you in the long run, you can look into purchasing a rig with a back-engine chassis — though these are usually only found in more expensive, large diesel models.
The Water Pump
Your RV’s water pump serves a very important purpose. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to use any of your RV’s plumbing. From the kitchen sink to the toilet, you need running water to camp comfortably!
However, the water pump can be a source of noise, from clicks and ticks to vibrations. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to fix… once you find the pipes in question. Here’s a full guide on how to quiet a noisy water pump system. And while you’re poking around in the bathroom, don’t forget to check out your RV vent fan. It can be a noisy little bugger, too — but luckily, it’s a fairly simple replacement.
The Air Conditioning Unit
Like any other HVAC system, an RV air conditioner can create all sorts of noises. Loudly blowing fans and clicking compressors can be normal, but if it’s making a big commotion, it may be time for some maintenance.
This piece of equipment is so infamous for its noisiness, it gets its whole own subheader. Although an RV generator can be a wonderful convenience while you’re boondocking, it can also be loud enough to be seriously disruptive. That’s before we even mention all the nasty fumes it’s spewing into the air — and possibly into your coach. That’s why you should NEVER run an RV generator without having installed a working carbon monoxide detector.
Although a generator will always make some noise, newer models include technology that helps them run more quietly. So if you’re experiencing a whole lot of noise every time you run yours, it may be time for an upgrade. The Champion 3500 will support a 30-AMP RV connection, and it comes with quiet technology to help keep it to a dull roar.
If you want serious silence, though, the only way to get it is to simply not run a generator. Consider upgrading to solar if you boondock frequently!
How to Quiet RV Sounds
Obviously, the way to quiet your RV down will depend on what the specific source of the noise is. For instance, if your water system has rattling pipes, you’ll need to figure out where they are and take steps to stop their shaking, such as wrapping them in insulation.
When it comes to your air conditioner, a lot of noise may, unfortunately, signal that repairs are necessary. If the unit’s still making a ruckus after performing regular maintenance yourself, you may need to replace a component such as a compressor or fan motor.
Always refer to your user manual for full details on all your RV’s components, and don’t be afraid to hire professional help if you need to. On the market for a trustworthy mechanic? They do exist! Here are our tips for finding one.
Now that you’ve figured out the source of the sounds that annoy you while you’re camping, let’s address another important concern: your neighbors! Their ears are just as sensitive to all your RV’s whirs, clicks, and beeps.
Along with taking care of any of the noise issues we’ve listed above, it’s also important to be respectful of your neighbors with more intentional sound choices — for instance, running your RV’s sound system late into the night while you’re hosting a party. Most campgrounds have certain quiet hours, usually between about 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., to help ensure everyone gets a good night’s rest. But even if there are no posted rules, use your common sense and judgment. And don’t forget, it’s not just loud music your neighbors might hear. RV walls are notoriously thin, so TV shows and even loud conversations might be audible to those around you. Ditto smoke alarms, raucous laughter, and other — ahem — vocal activities. 😉
Happy camping, RVers — we hope your next trip comes with the sweet sounds of silence!
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