Excessive noise is one of the many challenges that car wash owners and operators face. Neighbors, municipal regulations, and OSHA all demand that the volume on every aspect of car wash operations be lowered. Car wash noise is unavoidable. Water pumps, hydraulics, vac motors, air dryers, and blowers all contribute to the 89 decibels that might be measured from outside. According to many state and federal regulations, the inside of the car wash is not expected to go over 85 decibels. In addition to concerns with business neighbors and regulations, noise can be detrimental to employees, especially. Productivity can decrease, and on-the-job safety can suffer when employees are exposed to loud, continuous noise. Sounds above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. Neighborhood residents and nearby businesses can also rally behind noise levels to prevent car washes from opening in their areas. But what can a car wash owner do to address noise reduction?
Train employees on sound level safety, and look into requiring hearing protection, either ear muffs or plugs. Look into getting employees’ hearing tested regularly and keep track of any changes to ensure safety and productivity for as long as they are employed with you. When considering opening a car wash in a densely populated area, consider constructing a wall to lessen the noise impact on any nearby residential neighbors, or build separate areas for the air dryers and consider placing the blowers, often the noisiest part of the car wash, underground. Alternately, consider installing variable frequency drives on blowers to power the motors down depending on the delays between cars. Owners have also moved hydraulics to an equipment room and added increased sound insulation to the equipment room. Other operators have opted for quieter car wash parts, such as dryers which include a silencer package.