Treadmill, Quietest. Can Those Words Even Go Together?
With small kids who still nap I have often found myself asking myself ‘How can I fix my noisy treadmill?’
The last thing you want to happen is getting 10 mins into a run on your treadmill and waking up one of the little ones because it is so loud. So how do you reduce treadmill noise? And make your treadmill the quietest it can be?
First you need to check if the noise happens when you're running on the machine or it happens all the time even if you aren't on the machine.
If you hear squeaks or high pitch whines even when you aren't on the machine then here are the three most common reasons:
#1 Loose or out of alignment Belt
If the belt is loose or out of alignment it will cause the treadmill to make more noise.
On the back of most treadmills there is an adjustment that you can find by taking off some of the covering pieces over the rear roller. Once you have those pieces off you can see a small adjustment screws that'll be beside the roller.
As little as half of a turn can make all the difference in the world to stop your belt from squeaking and slipping.
Never make any of the adjustments when the belt is moving even though that seems like it would be much faster it's also quite dangerous as your finger or a tool could get caught in the gap between the belt on the roller and that would be... bad.
#2 Not Lubricating the belt
On most treadmills you need to lubricate the belt fairly regularly.
Do you even remember the last time that you might have lubricated the belt on your treadmill, if ever?
If not you might want to, but make sure that you don't use something like WD-40. Instead use a proper treadmill lubricant from your manufacturer because the wrong kind of lubricant can potentially damage the belt or the running surface under the belt.
#3 Motor is Clogged
The third most common reason why treadmills will be noisy is the motor actually gets clogged up with a lot of dust and debris. Many motors are really effective lint collectors so you need to check them often to clean out any dust bunnies that have taken up residence. A big collection of dust in the motor not only makes your motor noisy it will also cause it to have to work harder and potentially wear out sooner.
If the noise you hear is some kind of knocking or banging sound coming from the treadmill chances are that it's one of the bearings in the rollers but it could also be the motor.
The way to check is to unplug the machine, remove the main shroud and drive belt, then slowly push the tread forwards and backwards with your hand and listen for any of the knocking noises. If you don't hear anything reconnect the drive belt, plug in the machine and turn it on at the very slowest speed possible. listen for noises if you hear knocking noises or grumbling sounds while the drive motor is running the issue is likely the drive motor itself.
I'm going to link a video below that shows you how to fix all of the above as well as some of the other common reasons why a treadmill gets noisy and squeaky.
Results and Decisions
If the noise from your treadmill isn't squeaking but just generally being noisy there are a few other ways you can reduce the noise coming from your treadmill.
First think about where your treadmill is located, if at all possible try to move it to another location it might be less noisy. The acoustics of the space and the floor underneath it both chance how loud a treadmill will be. A cement or other solid floor will be much quieter than if the treadmill is on a second floor and the people underneath can hear the treadmill through the ceiling. Also having it right next to the room my kids are nap again is probably a bad idea if I want them to keep sleeping.
If moving your treadmill isn't feasible or you just don't want to go through the hassle of moving it one of the things that you can do is to get a treadmill mat to isolate the noise of the treadmill from the floor. I'll link to some good ones that I found on Amazon that can be had for a fairly reasonable price.
I really like PneumaticPlus isolation pads for a few reasons (1) lots of great reviews of them on Amazon (2) very effective, they are designed for dampening the vibrations from industrial machines like drop hammers and saws so they easily handle the vibrations from a treadmill. (3) extremely affordable, unlike treadmill specific isolation pads which can be really expensive, you can get these industrial vibration dampening pads for around $30 (check price).
Also they are really simple to use, all you have to do is place them under each corner of your treadmill. This will drastically reduce the treadmill noise.
Other things to consider
When you're trying to make your treadmill quieter is that most of the noise actually comes from you running on the treadmill not the treadmill itself.
Here a few tips for what you can do to lower the amount of noise that you are making on the treadmill.
Since the faster you run the more noise it's going to make one of the simplest things to try is to incline the treadmill and lower the speed of the treadmill. Running at a lower speed will cause less noise and the incline will make it harder for you keeping your heart rate up while making less noise.
Another thing to try is modifying the way your foot hits the treadmill. Try to run quietly, by that I mean trying to keep your foot low as you bring it forward so it doesn't slam down onto the treadmill as hard because that is obviously going to cause some noise. However I don't mean running on the balls of your feet or anything like that. It's not like you are trying to sneak around what you want to do is you want to just try and run smoother and more efficiently. It will take a bit of practice to try and get this down but it will make your running better overall if you can run quieter in general, and takes a lot of pressure off your joints in the process.
One last thing to think about is your choice in Footwear for when you're running a good running shoe will have lots of padding on the bottom that will reduce the sound of impact as you're running so using your good running shoes while you're on your treadmill will definitely make it quieter.
Overall if you go through the things that I've listed above you should have a good idea of how to deaden the sound of your treadmill while you're running whether it be a mechanical problem or just fixing your form while you're running on a treadmill there's plenty that you can do to actually make your treadmill quiet enough that you can run while your kids are napping as that might be the only time during the day when you get the chance to have a little bit of alone time.
-The Stay At Home Dad