Don’t let unwanted noise disturb your quality of life, as it can lead to fatigue, headaches, and irritability. Avoid getting cranky by making sure your home is a haven of tranquility from loud neighbours, trains, traffic, and more.

“With heavy city traffic at 85 decibels and an ambulance siren at 120, today’s lifestyle is a loud one, so it’s important that our homes are quiet spaces where we escape the hubbub of the outside world,” advises Kate Campbell, celebrity contractor.

In your home, sound is spread by vibration through the air, walls, floors and ceilings. Culprits include household appliances, televisions, plumbing, and HVAC systems. You can reduce some of this with sound-rated windows and sound absorbing surfaces like fabrics, carpeting and acoustical ceilings. Adding noise reduction insulation to exterior walls and between rooms is a good idea, as is wrapping or insulating piping to deaden structure-borne noise.

You risk hearing loss from prolonged exposure to 85 decibels and permanent loss if regularly exposed to noise of 110 decibels – the level of rock concerts and chain saws – for more than one minute. To put that in perspective, a power mower clocks in at 90 decibels and personal stereo go up to 105 decibels.

To find out whether you have a noise problem, a renovation professional uses a metre to calculate the amount of noise and its sources. You can also get the MC350 device from CertainTeed Insulation starting early next year. It records noise and reports levels in decibels, allowing homeowners to decide how best to correct the problem.

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