Can Subwoofers Damage Your Home? Learn the Risks

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Can Subwoofers Damage Your Home?

If you’ve ever listened to content being played by a subwoofer, you would know exactly how powerful they are, and how much of an impact they make on your viewing experience.

Subwoofers aren’t just felt, they are also felt due to the intensity of the sound waves. So that can manifest as vibrations on your sofa, you can even feel the sound waves on your chest which can feel quite intense if it’s your first time feeling a powerful sub.

I can confidently say that a powerful subwoofer definitely can damage your house. While it won’t be instant, over time cracks can develop in your walls due to vibrations and windows can actually weaken due to excessive shaking.

Low Frequencies(Acoustics) Carry More Energy

subwoofer
Subwoofer

Ever looked at a typical subwoofer driver? They are massive, and this is because the bigger the driver is, the lower the frequency they will produce.

You don’t need a lot of power to drive smaller speakers like what you find in bookshelves and floor-standing speakers, but with a subwoofer, they can take up to 150-1000 watts.

So these huge drivers that require a lot of power will produce sound waves with huge amplitudes. And it’s because the amplitude of the soundwave is so high that it will carry a lot of energy.

Now, these lower-frequency sound waves typically in the range of 20 – 250 Hz have the ability to interact with their surroundings due to their high energy content.

They are less disturbed when travelling through the air (they can travel further without losing much energy). And they can easily travel through objects without losing energy.

Subwoofer’s Low Frequencies Interact With The Environment

My first thought to the question “Can a subwoofer damage your house” was no, how can sound possibly cause structural damage to a home? But when you consider the science, and how subwoofers move huge amounts of air, it begins to make more sense.

A subwoofer can produce two types of bass, the first type is called sub-bass (20-60 Hz), and this is the deepest type of bass. And there is the bass which is (60-250 Hz), which is slightly less intense than sub-bass.

Bass (60-250 Hz) is pretty intense, you can pretty much feel it in your chest, and it sounds amazing to the ears. Bass won’t usually damage your environment as it won’t interact with the environment like that.

Sub-bass (20-60 Hz) on the other hand is deep and powerful, you will feel it more in the chest as it interacts with the environment in your room. Sub bass will cause mechanical vibrations that will cause windows, glass, wallpaper, picture frames, and items of shelves to shake.

Reducing Subwoofer Vibrations (Preventing Damage In Home)

Subwoofer
Subwoofer

Luckily I can share ways that have worked for reducing subwoofer vibrations, not only will this benefit you in saving your home from structural damage, but it can be a huge benefit for your neighbours.

The vibrations caused by a subwoofer are caused by something called microphonics, and these are noises caused by a loudspeaker caused by mechanical shock, so mechanical vibrations are then interpreted as electrical signals which will cause vibrations.

Subwoofer Decoupling

Decoupling is a method of isolating the subwoofer from the floor, this has two effects on the subwoofer. One, it can improve the sound quality, and secondly, it helps absorb any vibrations produced by the subwoofer.

It will also help reduce any rattling and buzzing which is caused when the subwoofer is placed on the floor, so there’s really no negatives to decoupling your subwoofer besides requiring extra equipment.

The best method for decoupling your subwoofer is to use rubber feet or metal spikes to peg it up so it’s higher from the floor. Spikes are better on carpet and give better grip, and rubber feet are better on hard flooring.

Subwoofer Isolation Pads

A subwoofer isolation pad is basically a piece of specialized equipment with the main purpose of absorbing vibrations, and it does this by placing the isolation pad directly underneath the subwoofer. So the subwoofer sits on top of it, separating it from the floor.

Isolation pads are great for one thing, they help reduce resonance which is a form of bad vibrations. The isolation pads should help absorb some of this which will improve acoustics, and reduce vibrations in your room which can potentially harm your house.

The best types of isolation pads are ones made of spongy material with holes in between them. The material must efficiently absorb the vibrations, and a spongy material is best at doing this.

Bass Traps

Bass traps work by absorbing low-frequency sounds and stopping them from bouncing around the room and causing harm to your walls and other equipment. They also help absorb excessive reverberation and help create a better listening experience.

Bass traps work similarly to isolation pads, but bass traps are separate from the subwoofer. You usually place them in the corner of the room, or along the walls so it can help absorb low frequency noises, and prevent reflections.

The best type of bass traps are foam bass traps, foam is really good at trapping and dissipating low frequency noises. Acoustic panels are also pretty good at absorbing and helping reduce reverberations.

Also Read: Reduce Subwoofer Wall Vibrations

What About Placing Subwoofers On Carpet?

Placing the subwoofer on carpet innately has some benefits which can drastically help reduce vibrations, and protect your home from damage. So if your home already has carpet, then you can experience these benefits.

Carpet will naturally reduce reflections and reverberations which is a huge problem for the integrity of your home. The more carpet you have, the more reflections will be reduced, you can expect up to a 35% reduction in reflections.

The problem with hard flooring is that it can cause bass induced rattling, and this is a huge compilation. Hard flooring can also be a huge distraction for your neighbours, so you may receive some complaints.

Also Read: Subwoofer On Carpet

Conclusion – Can Subwoofers Damage Your House?

Absolutely, and it’s your job to ensure that you have set up countermeasures to prevent costly damage to your walls and equipment.

It’s imperative that if you live in a home that uses plaster for the walls that you take measures to reduce the amount of bad vibrations coming from your subwoofer.