Tips on Keeping Noise Levels Down

The time of day may affect your neighbour in different ways. Levels of noise, which are acceptable in the daytime, become intrusive at night, especially when people are trying to sleep.

Loud Music & Home Entertainment

Actions you can take to reduce noise:

  • Avoid locating speakers on or near party walls, on the floor or in corners, next to open windows or doors
  • Avoid standing speakers on hollow furniture as this can intensify the sound level.
  • Mount load speakers on sound absorbent stands or pads
  • Provide independent speakers in each of the rooms in which you wish to listen to music
  • Consider the use of headphones instead of loud speakers, especially at times when noise is likely to interfere with your neighbour.
  • Reduce the volume & avoid using full bass control on the amplifier.
  • Hard surfaces, and minimal soft furnishing will result in sound being reflected from any hard surfaces, resulting in increased volume. The absence of carpets on the floor causes particular problems, especially in flats. Carpets, curtains and soft furnishings in rooms absorb sound and reduce the reflection of sound
  • Avoid placing equipment in the garden or on a balcony.

DIY, building work & car maintenance/ repairs

Vibration & noise from this type of work can come from a number of sources, such as hammering, sawing, using power tools, jet washers etc.

It is inevitable that neighbours will need to complete maintenance tasks on property, improve living conditions or change decor. Most people can accept a certain amount of noise generated from DIY activity, even during evenings or at weekends so DIY generally does not usually become a problem unless:

  • it continues over a prolonged period of time without a break and it takes place at unsociable hours
  • is work on a party wall or floor between properties which can create louder levels of noise , such as wallpaper stripping or wall preparation which can sound very loud next door, whilst work on the floor, such as plumbing, rewiring and sanding, can be very loud downstairs
  • is carried out using badly maintained or unsuitable equipment. Sometimes more powerful equipment will actually help solve the noise problem.
  • There is inconsiderate use of 'professional' tools, which can be very noisy. This is the type of equipment that can usually be hired. such as pneumatic hammers, cement mixers, large power saws and planers, compressors and generators.

Talk to your neighbours to let them know that you will be carrying out work and for how long it is expected to take place. Take into account their requirements such as needing to study, shift work, visitors, babies & toddlers sleep patterns

Late Night Parties

How to enjoy your party and keep the peace with your neighbours

  • Tell the neighbours that you plan to hold a party and what time you propose to finish. Consider inviting them.
  • Do not play music at the same level as you would expect in a disco. Remember that your house is not as well insulated and if you have windows open, then your neighbours may be treated to music which they do not enjoy.
  • If you decide to hold your party in the garden, music should only be played at reasonable levels for the time of night. Remember that it will carry for a very long way, and that the bass beat can be particularly intrusive.
  • Refrain from loud singing and shouting and encourage your guests to be equally respectful and when they leave to do so as quietly as possible.

Household Chores & People noise

For household chores , such as mowing the lawn, vacuuming, washing, especially when spinning clothes & tumble drying:

  • Be considerate about the time of day these chores are used or carried out
  • Mount machine machines/tumble driers etc on sound absorbent stands or pads and wherever possible do not locate next to party walls

People Noise - Just living in your home can create noise that can disturb your neighbours especially if you live in a flat or terraced property. These can be lessened by being considerate such as avoiding slamming doors, shouting, the location and use of equipment, children's toys etc

Footsteps - the recent popularity of hard and laminated flooring has been the cause of an increasing number of complaints about noise. In many properties the fitting of hard flooring is prohibited by the lease. If you are considering fitting hard flooring, you should carefully consider the potential impact on your neighbours. Using insulation, rugs and removing shoes will help to lessen the impact.

Barking Dogs

Don't let your Dog be a Noisy Neighbour

All dogs bark every now and again, but constant barking and whining can be disturbing or annoying to neighbours.

Dogs which are kept outside are often the cause of more complaints, so think carefully before you leave the dog alone in a yard or garden. If you do leave him/her outside, make sure that his/her kennel is not near to a neighbour's fence or in another location where it will be tempted to bark

There are many reasons why your dog may bark:

  • Loneliness
  • Boredom or frustration
  • When seeking attention
  • Defending his/her territory
  • Medical problems

Helpful tips to stop dogs barking

  • Check with your neighbours that your dog is not causing a problem when you leave it alone
  • Make sure your dog is well-exercised before you leave it for the day and check that it has an adequate supply of water
  • Consider attending dog training classes as early as possible to prevent bad habits and to socialise your dog
  • Check that your dog's diet is correct and that it is not hyper-sensitive from eating the wrong food.
  • Get your dog used to being alone - start by putting him/her into another room for a few minutes, then gradually build up the time you leave him/her alone. Don't make a fuss of him/her when you leave him/her and do not return until he/she is quiet for a while - when you do return praise him/her for his/her good behaviour
  • Some dogs bark because they want to join in with what is going on outside - if this is the problem leave him/her in an area where he/she cannot see outside
  • Some dogs will calm down if they can hear a human voice - try leaving a radio on (at low volume!)
  • Try not to leave your dog for long periods, but if you have to, then make sure you walk him/her before you go out and leave him/her in a comfortable bed with his/her favourite toys in a well ventilated room. If you are unable to get back home during the day, see if a friend or neighbour can walk your dog or let him/her out in the garden if you have one
  • Talk to your vet - sometimes a dog will bark because he/she is ill or anxious. Your vet will check for any problems or may be able to refer you to an animal behaviourist who can help suggest ways to improve your dog's behaviour

More information is available in our Dogs section.