How quiet is 54 decibels?

kclvFebruary 12, 2011

I have an almost 9 year old Kenmore elite dishwasher which will need to be replaced soon. It was considered to be "ultra-quiet", but I can't find a decibel rating for it anywhere. My kitchen is open to the family room, so quiet is a very important consideration. When the dishwasher is running, I can hear it, but I don't have to raise my voice or turn up the volume on the tv.

The replacements I have been looking at are rated from 52 to 54 decibels. I know that 52 is considerably quieter than 54, but was wondering if anyone can give me an example of how loud 54 is.

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The power of sound doubles at approximately every 3 db. However sound is somewhat subjective to the surrounding environment.
In more realistic terms a machine rated at 51 db will sound to the ear to be about 20% quieter than a machine rated at 54 db. This is a rough estimate based on what my customers seem to notice and to my own ear.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 12:25PM
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I have seen some good deals on some Kenmores that are now rated at 49db---KAids also. You might get a much quieter one by watching for a sale--maybe a 49 for what a 54 db would normally run.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 12:37PM
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� Aircraft at take-off (180)
� Fireworks (140)
� Snowmobile (120)
� Chain saw (110)
� Amplified music (110)
� Lawn mower (90)
� Noisy office (90)
� Vacuum cleaner (80)
� City traffic (80)
� Normal conversation (60)
� Refrigerator humming (40)
� Whisper (20)
� Leaves rustling (10)
� Calm breathing (10)

Perceptions of increases in decibel level

The list below gives you an idea of how noticable a change in decibel level will be to you:

� 1dB - Not noticable
� 3dB - Barely noticeable
� 5dB - Clearly noticeable change
� 10dB - About twice as loud
� 20dB - About four times as loud

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 1:07PM
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It seems you know that DeciBel is a scale or comparative values, not absolutes.
jakvis already mentioned that too.

Since neither you nor I have a reference noise to start with, that would be deemed "X" decibels as a reference noise, we do not have the capacity to communicate about 54 DeciBels with respect to that reference noise.

This is the fact about relative scales. The one and only fact that holds true for relative measurement "scales".

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 4:03PM
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My Kitchen Aid KUDC03IVBS is rated at 54DB. Water running in my sink is louder than the dishwasher. We cannot hear it over the TV. When it is running, the only thing I can hear is the swish of the water. No motor, pump or anything else. Just water.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 4:08PM
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Sound pressure is normally measured with respect to a reference pressure, which for several years has been (IIRC) 2 micro pascals, rms.

Factors that make appliance measurement comparisons suspect would be use of different filters (e.g., no weighting vs. A weighting), different distances from the unit, manner in which toe kick is installed such that some noise is attenuated, how well the side gaskets fit the adjacent cabinet, etc.


    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 2:14PM
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