How to keep my bed from vibrating?
May 19, 2010 11:06 AM   Subscribe

What can I put under the feet of my bed to dampen/eliminate low-frequency vibrations?

My partner and I are bothered by vibrations that are coming through our apartment building, we believe caused by the compressors for the cooling units for cell-phone equipment mounted on the building.

We have an ongoing issue with the management company and the (multiple) operators of the equipment, to try to resolve the problem. They've already made some changes that have lowered the audible humming sound (which was a big part of the problem).

But at times the machinery produces a significant enough vibration that you can feel it quite strongly, while lying in bed. It is an unpleasant sensation, and keeps us from sleeping (we've tried to get used to it. No dice.)

I don't have confidence the vibration will be totally mitigated by the operator of the equipment (we're trying), and in the meantime we're looking for a solution that will allow us to sleep better.

Do the acoustic-physics geniuses & sound engineers among you have any suggestions for materials we could put under the bed, or under the four legs of the bed, which would dampen these vibrations? (This is a wooden frame bed, with a mattress that sits on slats, no box spring.) Or am I just fantasizing about such a remedy? Incidentally, I've already read this thread. There was the suggestion of Sorbothane, but I don't know how practical that is.
posted by BT to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Rubber block.
posted by R. Mutt at 11:10 AM on May 19, 2010

You'll want to mount a vibration isolator on the legs of your bed. Try stuff from this search for "isolation feet". Make sure whatever you pick is rated for ~500 lbs or more.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:27 AM on May 19, 2010

But yeah, a rubber block will probably work. That's mostly what a lot of the isolation feet are. The fancier ones have air pockets or springs too.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:28 AM on May 19, 2010

3M makes rubber pads too keep your bed from slipping across the room, those might work and they only costs a few dollars for a set.
posted by BobbyDigital at 11:50 AM on May 19, 2010

Start with something simple. If your bed's legs are small enough, get four tennis balls, cut holes just big enough for the bed legs to go in them, and then stuff them with foam rubber. Put one on each bed leg and see what this does for you. If the legs are bigger, find four novelty balls at your dollar store and do the same. The idea is to create a self-contained "glove" of foam around the bottom of the bed legs to draw them up off of the floor.

If this almost works, try putting a piece of foam under each ball, between it and the floor.

The whole solution: Ten Bucks of less.
posted by Old Geezer at 11:59 AM on May 19, 2010

The problem is that even the most compliant of damping material is going to be significantly compressed by the weight of the bed and two people, which limits its ability to isolate. What you want to do is spread out the load over as large an area of damping material as possible. So for example if you had a rigid steel plate a foot on both sides, then that would allow you to spread the load of the pillar of the bed frame over a whole square foot of soft foamy material, instead of being concentrated in a tiny little 2x2" patch. So I'm thinking along the lines of making a sandwich of very stiff non-compliant material (some kind of hard plate) followed by a soft foamy material for each pillar of the bed. Make sure whatever you come up with is safe though, you don't want a shift in weight to cause one pillar to come off.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:02 PM on May 19, 2010

Best would be to put the machinery on sound mounts, not the bed. However, spring mounts will work better than pads for low frequency vibration.
posted by ctmf at 4:31 PM on May 19, 2010

I have a cheap memory foam mattress pad that is maybe 2" thick. Maybe try one of those under your mattress to spread the damping material. I think I paid $30 at Bad Lot. It's a cheapy.
posted by KenManiac at 7:02 PM on May 19, 2010

Response by poster: Will be trying various of the bed-foot solutions, but your point is taken, Rhomboid.

And ctmf, absolutely agree about the machinery --in fact that and many other sound/vibration dampening things are supposedly being done, but I can't control the schedule nor actually ensure it's done completely. So I'm focused on this end. I might look into the possibility of spring mounts that could be jury-rigged for the bed, if nothing else works.
posted by BT at 8:05 PM on May 19, 2010

To the original poster of this problem: I have the same issue, and have found that the only way to correct the problem is to correct the source of the vibration.
Have you been able to solve this problem?
If not, can I interview you for an article for a magazine? And can we compare notes?
There may be something structurally wrong with your building as well, and the resonance is resolving in your apt. (which could explain why other residents dont feel it.) for example, I have broken beams under my apt., so the resonance stays here, at the weakest point.
Please let me know if you can correspond. my email is cyclebabble at m s n dot com

Jen b
posted by jenb at 9:50 AM on April 13, 2011

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