Please just stop it with the beeping
June 28, 2018 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Are there any brands that make appliances that don't make loud beeping noises? Or, have adjustable alerts? Or, if not brands, is there any way to distinguish (maybe certain review sites?) quieter appliances from louder ones? (I'm not talking about the performance of the machine, I'm talking about the alerts that signal the end of a cycle or run.)

My microwave makes loud BEEPS for every button I press, then beeps loudly not two, not three, but FOUR times when it's done. Even if I open it while the alert sound is going off. My oven beeps once, loudly, when it's done preheating. The oven timer beeps three times. The dryer makes a heinous sound when its cycle is over (if it happens when you're in the bathroom, where the machine is located, you will seriously jump out of your skin--it makes my son cry). (And yes, I checked, this dryer doesn't have a setting to turn off the alarm. I once asked a repairman to disconnect it internally--as the internet says can be done--but he said he couldn't do it.)

My point: I want to be able to find out, before I buy a new appliance, either how loud/quiet the alerts are or whether there are adjustable settings. Is there a way to reliably determine this?
posted by CiaoMela to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
This is a good question for something like Amazon Answers on the specific product line. Also, you could download the manual from the manufacturers website and see if there's a function to disable sounds.

I have an LG washer that definitely can disable all sounds, so they're out there.
posted by selfnoise at 7:34 AM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Check the reviews before you buy. I have the same problem, I haaaaate loud beeping appliances (in fact I had an Ask about one of mine, never resolved -- well, resolved by selling the entire house, now it's someone else's problem) and sometimes reviews will mention if the beeping can be turned off or not.

Edited to add on non-preview: the manual for my dishwasher said it could be silenced, but it could not... so actual real lived experience with an appliance is definitely more trustworthy than the manual.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 7:35 AM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Check the user/owner manual for your microwave (might be able to find it online if you don't have it anymore). In some cases, there is a combination of buttons that will turn the beeping off/on (a bit like a cheat code in computer games).

EDIT : just found this
posted by bluefrog at 8:49 AM on June 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

If silence is the only preferred outcome, I don't know that I can help. But I will tell you that horrible beeps/silence may be a false dichotomy. LG washers and dryers often come with the most weirdly adorable little song now as a notification that they are done with a cycle. Seriously, it's adorable.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:55 AM on June 28, 2018 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Bosch washing machines have adjustable volume. Bit of an odd procedure to follow on mine but it does work. Might be worth checking online user manuals for other Bosch kitchen equipment?
posted by chr at 9:12 AM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My friend has a new Samsung washer and dryer set that beeps with each button pushed and plays a happy little song at the end of the cycle, but they can easily be silenced by holding down one button for three seconds.
posted by theperfectcrime at 9:16 AM on June 28, 2018

My baby, twenty years ago, had a toy that made horrible loud electronic sounds. I turned the control board over, found holes where the sound came out, and covered the holes with electrical tape. The resulting sound was muted to a much more pleasant volume. See if you can learn where the sound comes out on your dryer.

The manual for a Sharp microwave includes this question and answer:
How can I turn off the beeping sound on my microwave?

If you wish to have the oven operate with no audible signal, touch Custom Help, the number 2 and Stop/Clear pads.
(Which doesn't answer my question of how to get the dratted thing to just quit nagging me by beeping again and again and again, once every single minute, until I open the door or press clear, even if all I'm using on it is the kitchen timer function.)
posted by chromium at 9:42 AM on June 28, 2018

Response by poster: Excellent. I am heartened that so many people understand this question and have such good answers!

I'd love to hear if anyone has resources that are comprehensive, e.g., "Here's how to furnish you kitchen with appliances that don't beep," but admit that might not be out there.

I agree that a cute song is preferable, though it's still not perfect. But silence isn't the only option--one small, polite "ding!" would also satisfy me.
posted by CiaoMela at 10:04 AM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

there are hyperacusis forums you could ask this on and maybe get more comprehensive answers, but the last time i looked around the main one that comes up on google searches there were a lot of weirdos there. like "the cure for your beeps is prayer" type weirdos.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:14 AM on June 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I totally feel you on this one. My LG washer and dryer have a power on and power off song, and it drove me CRAZY when initially setting it up. There's a big damn button on the front labeled "signal" however, and it controls the volume for that noise, button presses, and end of cycle alerts. Loud, quiet, and silent are all options, which is great.

Similarly, my microwave has a volume button, which controls all of those as well. My only advice is to browse the pictures and look for a button that would control alert volume.
posted by Phredward at 10:15 AM on June 28, 2018

"The washing machine played a tune when you turned it on, a different tune for different settings, and was generally very musical"

The tune is Schubert's Trout Quintet, for reference.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:32 AM on June 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

It may be more effort than you're interested in devoting to this - but if you're comfortable using a screwdriver and wire-snips it's not too hard to remove the speakers and piezo discs from appliances. The hard part is getting the case off - or removing the microwave from the wall - but online service manuals can help if it's not obvious which screws are important. In principle, there may be appliances smart enough to notice that the speaker is broken, in which case you'd probably need to solder a resistor in place instead. (Which isn't hard, but requires buying a soldering iron and spending half an hour on tutorials first.) But, making appliances that smart is expensive, so I doubt most manufacturers would bother. In general, finding the thing bolted to the case or main circuit board that looks like a speaker, cutting the wires, and throwing a bit of electrical tape or wire nuts over the dangling wires to make sure they don't short out anything important will silence any appliance for good.

It may be obvious, but if you decide to go this route, unplug everything first. Also, there are some parts in appliances that can remain charged long after they've been unplugged. They're very unlikely to kill you, but getting a medium-sized shock can be scary and painful. Not touching any metal that isn't directly connected to the chassis except with an insulated tool (a plastic handled screwdriver or rubber coated wire cutter) is a good idea. If this sounds like fun, rather than frustrating, and some pictures of examples of what you're looking to destroy and what can shock you would be useful, let us know.
posted by eotvos at 10:52 AM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

If all else fails ....... hire an electrical engineer to kill it. Those beeps are usually made by a simple and easily identifiable component on a circuit board, and if you're willing to take the risk of intentionally breaking that component, you may find peace.

I did this with a breadmaker that had a wake-the-dead obnoxious BEEP!. It was so, so nice to wake up the next morning to fresh, silently made bread.

Larger appliances may be a bit more complicated, but it's worth a shot if all else has failed.
posted by Dashy at 10:52 AM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Sort of tangential but I figured out recently how to silence the lock and unlock beeps for my newish car. I just googled it and found instructions that worked. I suggest that you search using the make and model number of your various annoying appliances along with the phrase "turn sounds off" or "make beep silent" or something along those lines. Good luck!
posted by mareli at 11:03 AM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Almost all large appliances these days are built for quick assembly...which means they're also quick to disassemble.

Usually removing a slightly-hidden screw allows you to find more hidden screws, etc etc etc and pretty soon you have the control panel off. It's kind of fun and the speakers are usually very easy to find (I design these things for a living and we barely have the budget to give them a proper mount, much less bury them behind an enclosure or anything).

You won't harm a thing by removing the speaker or at least clipping one of the wires. I say go for it.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:45 PM on June 28, 2018

Best answer: I have a Roper washer and dryer. They are silent. They are also very basic. The dryer is good, and the only real complaint I have about the washer is that it takes a long time to complete its cycle. But they are silent.
posted by Dolley at 3:40 PM on June 28, 2018

I once stayed with a host family in Japan whose rice cooker sang a song (with lyrics!) when it was done cooking. Gave me a fright when I heard it at 6am after being jetlagged and up the whole night, but if you're expecting it it can be pleasant.

Which is to say: try appliances from other countries?
posted by divabat at 1:42 AM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: In case anyone is wondering, I moved to a new apartment that already had a small GE microwave (not built in, just came with the apartment) and its beeping is MUCH more tolerable than my old one.

Also, I'm marking this resolved!
posted by CiaoMela at 7:13 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

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