Street Noise Reduction in the City

How to Achieve Street Noise Reduction

Maggie was routinely being woken up by traffic noise outside her 1913 home. Her space wasn’t built for current noise. Even modern homes can’t provide traffic noise reduction at the rate home delivery trucks increase. Maggie and her family found peace with Indow inserts, but here are a few tips that can help any home:

noisy traffic jam needing street noise reduction

1. Assess your space. Traffic noise reduction starts with identifying where the noise is coming into your space. Any transitional space from wall to door or window is an invitation for cracks or breaks in seals. This is the most likely place where air and sound will be entering your home.

Feel with your hands (or hold a lit match to see if it gets blown out) near these spaces to find the most offending areas of your home.

2. Know which products help reduce noise. Many products claim to reduce noise. Not all of them reduce the kind of noise that is affecting your home or are appropriate for your type of home. STC ratings compare noise reducing products apples to apples.

stc ratings show which products help reduce noise

STC stands for Sound Transmission Class and this rating will tell you exactly how much noise a product will absorb and/or reflect. Look for it online or on product labels as you shop.

3. Reduce Traffic noise with plants. The denser and fuller the foliage, the more it will block and absorb noise. Much like your home, if there is a crack or weak spot, the noise will leak through. A good tree buffer that includes a landform can reduce street noise by 50% (10 – 15 dBA) according to USDA National Agroforestry Center

chart showing how to reduce street noise with plants and landforms

Read About Soundproofing Your Windows

How Maggie Found Relief from Daily Traffic Noise

Even though Maggie and her partner Don had just bought their home, they were almost ready to sell it. Until they moved in, they didn’t realize just how much traffic noise would filter through their windows from the nearby city traffic and auto body shop. After three weeks, they knew the house needed significant street noise reduction.

woman and child in home with indow inserts for street noise reduction

Reducing Noise for Better Work

Maggie also works from home and found the inserts helped her concentrate in her home office. Working from home? Read this guide for more tips on making your space more professional.

Reducing Traffic Noise for Better Sleep

Maggie had to sleep with earplugs and still got woken up nightly. The traffic noise was especially hard since their infant son Max needed his naps. Lack of sleep can have lasting effects, and so can noise pollution. Continuous street noise can lead to stress, high blood pressure, even adverse effects on children’s developmental progress.

The windows of the 1913 Craftsman also leaked air badly, scoring the lowest possible on an air leakage test. But replacing them for street noise reduction wasn’t an option. Like many owners of historic homes, the original wavy leaded glass was one reason Maggie and Don fell for the house.

closeup of Indow window insert used for street noise reduction

Street Noise Reduction Strategy

What could this new family do to reduce street noise and create a quiet home? Would quiet windows solve their problems? They tried installing Indow window inserts in their first floor bedrooms, dining room, and living room.

Their quality of life improved dramatically after reducing traffic noise. The outside sound is so muffled, no one wakes up in the middle of the night. They also achieved energy efficiency without replacing the gorgeous windows they fell for. They no longer talk about moving.

Indow inserts are perfect for reducing street noise because they perform sound reduction. Once installed into a window, they create an air seal to block sound vibrations carried by air. The acrylic they are made of is also better at mitigating sound than glass.


family next to window with Indow inserts used for traffic noise reduction

“Indow Windows have made a huge difference and the inserts are nearly invisible. They’re not like storm windows, they take just a second to pop out and pop back in and you don’t have to go outside.”

– Maggie Finnerty, Home Owner, Portland, Oregon.

Read more case studies

family outside house with Indow window inserts used for street noise reduction

Easy to Remove & Reinstall

Some refer to Indow inserts as interior storm windows, but Maggie doesn’t consider them that. Her old house had storm windows she never once took off. In her new house, when they burn something cooking, they easily remove the Indow inserts and open all the windows to catch a fresh breeze. And then promptly put them back in to stop traffic noise.

Read more about street noise reduction and home soundproofing: Reducing Street Noise & Home Soundproofing Tips.


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bedroom with window with Indow inserts installed for soundproofing in San Francisco


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