How to Reduce Treadmill Noise in an Apartment

Treadmills are the perfect way to work out at home. With gym memberships costing so much, most people are happy to pay the upfront cost of gym equipment to place in their home, relying on the cost-saving they’ll feel further down the line. The fact that you have a gym in your home is also more motivating, as there’s no need to go out of the house on a cold day or call in at the gym on the way home from work.

There’s no reason to skip leg day if your gym is right there in your apartment. However, the unease begins when you get that first complaint about noise from your neighbor. Treadmills are undoubtedly loud, especially if you’re on an intense run. Read here: 10 Best Nordictrack Treadmills

If you live in an apartment – especially one that’s a few floors up – then you might start to feel bad about the noise pollution you’re creating daily. But there are things that you can do to remedy this, so don’t let it put you off forever; you’ll just need to make a few tweaks to your setup and routine.

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IS A TREADMILL TOO LOUD FOR AN APARTMENT?

How to Reduce Treadmill Noise in an Apartment

In an apartment, you’re likely to have incredibly close neighbors. If you’re on the first floor, then you’re home and dry as the vibration from a treadmill is expected to be heard downwards through the floor. However, if you live above a neighbor, that vibration may be deafening and more than a little annoying.

It’s not just the vibration when your treadmill is working either. If you’re running, the heavy footfalls will echo through your neighbors’ homes. Your feet will typically become heavier the more tired you get too, and your treadmill may even develop a characteristic squeak.

Although a treadmill is considered one of the loudest pieces of gym equipment to have in an apartment, there are still things that you can do to limit the noise.

HOW TO REDUCE TREADMILL NOISE IN AN APARTMENT?

You’ll need to address the main reasons for the noise if you’re hoping to give your neighbors an easier time.

1) Squeaking

The squeaking comes from the treadmill belt and will generally happen when you’re walking slower on the treadmill or running at an incline. This could be because:

a) Your treadmill belt is too tight.

Check to see that it moves freely on the treadmill floor – but it shouldn’t be too loose either. If you find that the belt is getting tighter over time, it could be because it’s started to drift off to the side and is more off-center. Ensure that the whole of the belt is straight, and each side is parallel to the sides of the treadmill floor.

b) It needs some oil.

Treadmills, like bikes, need oiling every so often to allow the belt to flow freely. Treadmill oil can be purchased from a fitness store, bike store, or online.

If you’ve purchased a more modern treadmill, it might even tell you when it needs lubricating. To add oil, you’ll need to loosen the belt and add oil to either side where the belt turns the corners.

Keep in mind that you should only use professional treadmill oil for this. WD-40 won’t work and will cause permanent damage to your treadmill.

c) Old bearings

If you’ve purchased an old or secondhand treadmill, it may be that your bearings need changing. Like any equipment that works with a cog or revolving mechanism, it will require an update every so often.

You should also check your rollers at either end of the treadmill after removing the belt. If either roller is damaged, it will need to be replaced to prevent squeaking. Broken rollers could also cause you to fall if the belt slips, so you must get them changed as soon as possible.

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2) Your Feet

In fact, it’s you that’s the main reason for all the noise in your apartment. You’re pretty heavy, and essentially all you’re doing, especially if you’re jogging at a fast pace, is jumping up and down on your neighbor’s ceiling.

The best thing you can do here is try to absorb a lot of that noise. Trying to be quieter won’t help as you’ll still make the same level of noise on tiptoe, and it’ll ruin the effectiveness of your workout too.

The best way to absorb some of the impacts of your footfalls and reduce the noise is to add treadmill mats underneath your treadmill. They’re thick and made of rubber or spongey material, limiting the vibration but still being solid enough that you can safely run without the treadmill moving.

3) Your Exercise Regime

You want to go as hard as you can to get fit as soon as possible, and it’s tempting to start running on your new treadmill immediately. However, walking at an incline could actually be more beneficial from a weight loss, stamina, and muscle-building perspective; plus, your feet won’t hit the treadmill as hard, so you’ll reduce the noise this way. Perhaps it’s time to start changing your exercise regime to be a little quieter where possible.

DO TREADMILL MATS REDUCE NOISE?

Yes, treadmill mats are excellent vibration absorbers and will reduce the noise impact for the people living below you. Their rubbery, dense texture helps to keep your treadmill steady while you’re running and provides an element of soundproofing.

Mats are also an excellent idea for other reasons. They provide a protective surface under your treadmill to keep your floor scratch-free and protect your treadmill from damage. Having a treadmill mat underneath can actually extend the life of your treadmill quite substantially. Read Here: Top Five Best Treadmills For Seniors – Reviews & Buyers Guide

The grippy surface underneath the mat will help you to keep the treadmill steady against the floor, meaning it’s much safer for you to use as you can be confident that you won’t slip around throughout the workout.

THE BEST FLOORING FOR A TREADMILL

While mats are a great way to cancel out the noise below, it’s evident that having a hard floor underneath the mat won’t entirely absorb all of the sounds. If possible, try to set up your treadmill in a room that’s carpeted.

The layers of underlay, then carpet, and treadmill mat will provide a triple soundproof layer. Hard flooring, especially if you have a wooden floor, will increase the echo in your room and allow the sound to travel further.

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WHERE SHOULD YOU PUT THE TREADMILL IN YOUR APARTMENT?

how to reduce treadmill noise in an apartment

You’ll need to consider a few things before you bring the treadmill into your apartment. Although some are noise-related, others will need to be considered for your general safety.

  • Neighbors

It would be best if you always considered the neighbors around you before placing your treadmill. Always place it in a room that’s as far as possible from your neighbors.

If you happen to live with the lobby next to a couple of your rooms, then it’s probably best to place it in one of those. Your neighbors above and below may still be able to hear you, but you’ve removed a little of the risk of upsetting your next-door neighbor on the other side.

With a treadmill, you’ll probably never be the perfect neighbor. However, it would be best if you always discussed with the people living around you before deciding. It may be that they’re fine with it at certain hours of the day, but one neighbor works nights. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you’re dealing with daily complaints.

If your neighbor has a specific reason for you refraining from working out at certain times of the day, then try to stick to this. It’s more trouble than it’s worth. Plus, coming up with a strict workout schedule will benefit you, so try to stick to working out at the same times each day to make the annoyance minimal.

  • Live Load

Live load is the amount of weight your floor can hold before it becomes dangerous and specifically refers to the furniture or moveable elements in your room. Generally, each square foot can take around 30 pounds of weight in a US apartment at any one time.

Treadmills will take up a fair amount of square footage in your room, but you’ll need to work out how heavy your treadmill is to ensure that it doesn’t exceed the weight allowed for how much space it takes up.

Typically, a home-use treadmill can weigh up to 220lbs. As long as this is spread over 7 square feet, you should be fine. Your weight on top of this needs to be factored in too.

The bottom line is, an apartment building isn’t equipped to take excessive weight on the floor in a single spot. If the weight is too much in a particular area in your spare room, you’ll be in danger of falling through the ceiling.

So it’s not only annoying for your neighbors but also potentially life-threatening too. If you have a home gym in one of your spare rooms, make sure that all of your heavy equipment is spaced out around the room. Stacking a treadmill, weights and an exercise bike or rowing machine in the same corner is likely to result in disaster.

  • Mobility

Treadmills are a sizable piece of equipment. This is something that most people forget when they make their purchase. Sure, it’s easy to order online for delivery, but how are you going to get your treadmill up to your apartment from the first floor? And how will you maneuver it to the correct room once it’s there?

You can make all the plans in the world for the perfect gym setting, but if you can’t physically get it to that room, that’s all of your decorating out of the window.

One of the main factors that you need to consider before you purchase is how you’re going to get it to where you need it to be. It might be easier to place it in a room that’s nearest the door, for example.

  • Flat Surfaces

It seems obvious, but the source of a lot of the noise coming from many treadmills is the banging and scraping that comes from the treadmill itself moving across the floor if it’s not set up on a completely flat surface.

While most apartment floors are flat, an older apartment might have warped flooring due to age, damp damage, unprofessional tiling, or carpeting.

Before you set off on your first run, just rest your body weight on each of the corners to ensure there’s no movement. Getting a firm base will reduce the risk of noise and also keep you safer.

TAKING DRASTIC ACTION

If you’re still worried about your treadmill use around your neighbors and you’ve tried everything else, but you’re still receiving complaints, it might be time to take some more drastic action.

If you’re completely set on having a treadmill in your home, and you own the apartment rather than renting, then you could put in some professional soundproofing. This helps to contain the noise, especially for your neighbors who live next door.

It involves adding an extra layer of drywall and filling the gap with mineral wool. A slightly more temporary measure would be to hang layers of wool or thick fabric across the wall – or even add a bookcase (books make for excellent soundproofing).

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SUMMARY

A treadmill is a fantastic way to stay fit in your own home. The single upfront cost could save you a lifetime of gym membership and will motivate you to exercise more often. Living in an apartment shouldn’t stop you from taking this positive step as long as your apartment is sturdily built.

However, you will need to prepare adequately before you bring your treadmill home. Speak to your neighbors, check out the health and safety aspects and do all the soundproofing you can.