Buying domestic appliances these days isn’t just about choosing the most reliable or reasonably priced product. Energy efficiency should also be an important consideration, not to mention aesthetic qualities.
But there is now another factor to take into account: how much sound the appliance makes.
Manufacturers of white goods and other devices are increasingly taking steps to limit how noisy their products are in order to appeal to consumers who prefer the quiet life.
Look for the Quiet Mark
In 2012, the Quiet Mark scheme was launched in the UK to certify appliances which met certain noise standards.
The scheme is supported by the Noise Abatement Society and its website lists details of accredited “quiet” products in a wide range of categories –
from air-conditioning units and power tools to kettles and fridges.
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Benefits of quiet appliances
The advantages of having a quiet washing machine or dishwasher, say, are not just limited to the fact that they are less annoying and intrusive for you and your neighbours.
If you are on an electricity tariff where energy is cheaper off-peak, having a silent washing machine or drier means you can run loads overnight without running the risk of disturbing sleepers.
A quiet vacuum, on the other hand, can be less disruptive for pets if that is an issue you face.
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What about the cost?
Given the more advanced technology that is necessary to reduce noise in appliances and other types of electrical equipment, you can expect to pay more for such items.
The Quiet Mark website has pricing details of the products it recommends.
For example, the cheapest Whirlpool washing machine endorsed by the scheme costs £450 RRP, but the manufacturer’s most basic machines are available on the web for under £200 (although bear in mind these models may be technologically inferior in other ways as well).
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Noise reduction around the home
Appliances aren’t the only source of irritating domestic noise, and there are other steps you can take to reduce the sounds made by gadgets.
Most phones, for example, have a silent mode so they do not beep when you get a text message or Facebook update.
You can also opt for handsets to vibrate rather than ring when someone phones – although this can increase the chances of you missing a call.
It is also possible to turn off irritating keyboard taps on smartphones and tablet computers: search for “keyboard” or “sounds” under the settings menu.
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