window plugs for soundproofing

I want to do temporary soundproofing by making a window plug for a 4' by 5' window, and I'd appreciate suggestions.
By "window plug" I'm referring to a box-like object filled with insulation that provides both sound deadening and weather insulation that I can set in the window frame.
Some considerations:
o I have little building experience but like to learn.
o I'd like to minimize whatever tools I have to buy.
o I'd like to pay less than about $150 to $200.
o I'm guessing that I'd like to make two plugs to use side-by-side. I don't think that I can lift a plug the size of the window. Also, I'd like to be able to remove one plug for ventilation to avoid mold and if I need to escape if there's a fire.
o Last summer, we had over a solid week of 115 degree days, so I need the plug to block the sun and insulate. My understanding is that soundproofing typically improves weather insulation.
My plan: I thought that I'd build a frame for each half of the window. I'll cover one or both sides of each frame with plywood or hopefully a lighter material. I'll fill the box with soundproofing mats (or some lightweight material used for soundproof insulation) about 3 inches thick and try to attach the mats airtight. I'll attach cabinet handles on the inside and will probably need to apply some sort of reflective or mold-proof and wear-proof material to the outside.
I hope that each window plug weighs less than 50 lbs.
I thought that I'd try using rubber shower mats around the edges to make it more airtight and to give me a little margin for error. I also hope that the rubber mats will protect from drywall damage.
I realize that my result will not be completely sound proof.
I thought that I might use some sort of pivoting stick on the window frame to keep the plug from falling down, or maybe a bar on u-hooks attached to each side of the window frame like you see on castle entries in the old movies. Looks are not an issue here as long as I don't have to do too much fixing if I move.
Any suggestions on the easiest way make a frame, meaning minimal tools and cutting, lightest weight, and a reasonable cost? Maybe something aluminum that I could screw together?
Is plywood a good choice for the sides facing the window?
Any suggestions for lightweight soundproof filler?
Thanks
As FYI, I've looked at these sites:
http://www.domesticsoundproofing.co.uk/soundproofing/soundbarriermat.htm
http://www.customaudiodesigns.co.uk/articles/howtowindows.htm http://www.customaudiodesigns.co.uk/soundproofing/laminate.htm
http://www.acoustics101.com/components_gateway.htm
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I'd suggest alt.energy.renewable, alt.energy.homepower, alt.solar.thermal
but you could probably buy a piece of foam (with reflective aluminum backing) that would fit in the window for cheapo, it would be light-weight, and easy to replace.
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xyz wrote:

why not just get some foarm board(styrofoam in the 4 by 8 sheets and then cut them to size of the window and then tape them together and push into the opening in the window frame... no weight so you dont need any support, other than a piece of string to keep them from falling if they are too loose.... only problem is getting the stuff home.. i had three sheet tied on top of my car.. the wind took it off, then had half sheets of what was left tied to the car...
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If you measure precisely before heading for the store, you can have them cut it for you. Given the size of the window in question, it's close, but a station wagon, SUV, some cars where the trunk folds down onto the back seat, or even the smallest pickup, would work fine.
The foam insulation is a great idea for the purpose -- and IIRC it comes in varying thicknesses, too.
-- Michelle
Please, Don't Breed or Buy While Shelter Pets Die.
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xyz wrote:

How well have you researched your location to determine that the window is the source of the noise you want to block? While windows can and do allow sound in, many times the real problem may be something else. For example many times more sound is coming in through the vents above then through the ceiling.
The type of sound you are trying to block is also important. Assuming it is the window that is the problem, then you may be able to block it using a light weight acoustical foam. This only works on some frequencies. You also may be able to block it from the outside (maybe not depending on the situation).
If you can use a light weight material to block the sound then a light weight foam material to add insulation like Celotex should take care of that and you would end up with a light enough structure to easily move.
I would not rely on the acoustical fiberglass insulation that is available, if that is what you had in mind. Its acoustical properties are only marginal better than standard insulation which is not all that good.
Overall, it appears you are basically on the right track with an idea.

--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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I made some foam inserts for the windows in my recording studio's "live room". I put a picture here-
http://studionineproductions.home.comcast.net/winblock.JPG
These are pieces of two inch think Owens Corning "Foamular 250" Extruded Polystyrene Insulation. I glued them together and cut them to the shape of my windows. Pick foam insulation with an high R-Value. I'm not sure how much sound they actually block, but at least I feel like I'm doing something :-)
Michael Nickolas www.studionineproductions.com
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Thanks for your experience and the picture
I responded above to postings in misc.consumers.house but missed yours here in alt.home.repair.
Michael Nickolas wrote:

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Thanks for the responses
The reason that I need to soundproof is that I have a sleep disorder called night terrors where I scream in my sleep. I feel really bad about disturbing my neighbors.
That's a good point about how blocking different types of noise requires different solutions. I was hoping that I could concentrate on the sheer loudness first and that the fine points like noise frequency would be my second effort if necessary.
I know that the sounds penetrate the walls, but the large window is probably the primary issue.
Jim's suggest of foam board is intriguing. It would definitely provide insulation from heat-cold. As he mentioned, it's light. And it's probably reasonably priced.
Joseph's suggestion of acoustical foam is interesting since I've never heard of this. I'll research. The web sites that discuss soundproof insulation are often sales pitches and not economical solutions.
The suggestion to do something to the outside got me thinking about shutters.
I appreciate the warning about acoustical fiberglass insulation which I've never heard of.
Michelle, getting my materials cut at the store whenever possible should work great for me. When I fold down the back seats in my compact, I get more than 5 feet of length for materials.
Hopefully, I'll be able to reuse my window plug materials when I move.
You might be amused by my other ideas.
o Taping my mouth shut so that I'd awake if I try to talk. (You can laugh, but there are multiple discussions on another (asthma?) newsgroup that eventually reject this idea as too dangerous.)
o Soundproofing a large closet and sleeping on a cot or an inflatable mattress
o Building somethink like a soundproof coffin. Rejected because I don't like enclosed spaces and probably too costly
o Building a soundproof head mask. Also rejected but not because I have anything against medieval themes
Yes, I am a little desperate.
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You mention acoustical foam and acoustical fiberglass. These materials are for sound _absorbtion_ not sound proofing. There is a big difference and this should be part of your research!
Good luck.
Michael Nickolas www.studionineproductions.com
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What is the difference between the two?
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I've read on message boards that absolute soundproofing is very difficult and expensive, so it's more reasonable to expect sound reduction.
I was guessing that Michael was making this distinction, although, technically, "sound absorbtion" would be required for either sound reduction or complete soundproofing.
I'd appreciate an explanation on what he meant also.
KRusso6984 wrote:

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Materials like fiberglass or acoustic foam will _absorb_ only certain frequencies. Which frequencies absorbed depends on the thickness. For example, two inch acoustic foam will absorb some mids and highs, but any low frequencies will still pass through. These materials are used to stop the sound reflections from bouncing around your room (eliminating echo and creating a "deader" environment), but they wont soundproof your room.
Sound _proofing_ materials are designed to stop all sound frequencies from passing through. This is mostly done by mass. Thick concrete or floating rooms (a room built in a room) come to mind.
There is lots of great information on this here:
http://www.auralex.com /
Michael Nickolas
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xyz wrote:

Oh. Glad you pointed that out, I was going to suggest ear-plugs. Fifty cents.
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I'm still working on my window plugs (see posts at the end of this post) but am moving one step at a time to see how each step affects the soundproofing. I'm not having much luck.
I started with two layers of foil insulation since this helps with the heat insulation, acts as padding to keep the plugs from damaging the window frame, and might help to make things airtight. Also, I don't have to paint the plugs since they're not exposed.
(BTW, foil insulation is terrific material--cheap, light, easy to install, portable. Thanks for the suggestion.)
I created boxes from 2x4's and plywood. I was surprised that a layer of plywood offered almost no help in containing sound.
I added three layers of sound absorbing board (which smells very bad) interleaved with two layers of drywall. Although I haven't filled in the cracks around the window plug, I'm amazed at how much sound still passes through the window plug. I can't believe that filling the cracks will make much difference.
My expectation was that a dense, airtight barrier would contain sound by reflecting the sound waves back into the room. Sound waves passing through the first barrier would be partially absorbed by the sound board, and the remaining wave would reflect back from the second layer of drywall. Again, remaining waves would have to pass through soundboard and would hit the plywood. This is about 3 inches of material that a bullet might not penetrate.
I'm using this newsgroup post which describes the difference between containing sound and absorbing sound, similar to the post above.
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&safe=off&selm=h8clou8kq9718btftd8ld4e59677gk1ugh%404ax.com
It might help if I replaced the sound board with drywall to increase the density, but I'm at my limit as far as what I can lift.
Since I'm skeptical that ensuring that it's airtight will help much, any other suggestions?
Also, any comments on why the plywood or my current plugs aren't helping much?
Thanks
xyz wrote:

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