How to Reduce Air Conditioner Noise

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Posted May 26, 2020

You can finally enjoy daytime quiet and a restful night’s sleep by rethinking how you manage air conditioner noise.

The effect of sound coming from an HVAC unit varies for different people. Some people are highly sensitive to certain sounds and frequencies.

Some sounds are loud enough to cause hearing damage. Over time, excessively loud noise can cause hearing loss.

Air conditioning noise is annoying, but it’s not painful. As a result, it’s hard for some people to embrace the idea that air conditioning noise can cause a serious health threat.

Nevertheless, AC noise can cause more problems than you might think. Resultantly, you must learn how to quiet a noisy air conditioner.

Read on to learn how to reduce air conditioner noise.

The Trouble With Noisy Air Conditioners

technician working on noisy air conditioner

You measure noise in units called decibels (dB). A typical conversation may generate a sound level of around 60 dB. Your vacuum or radio produces sound at 70 dB.

A lawnmower, however, usually generates sound at around 90 dB. This sound level is where the trouble begins. A subway or loud shouting produces a sound level between 90 to 95 dB.

A rock concert may generate sound at around 120 dB. Finally, an air conditioning unit produces a sound that measures between 80 and 89 dB.

Exposure to noises over 85 dB can damage your hearing. The damaging effects vary depending on how long the sound lasts and how long it persists.

You must protect your hearing. There are a few warning signs that could indicate that a persistent sound is damaging to your health.

For instance, if you have to raise your voice to talk over a sound, it’s probably too loud. In some cases, excessive noise may cause your ears to hurt. AC noise is definitely a problem if it’s preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep.

Protect Your Hearing 

mower wearing protective hearing

Sometimes, you can’t avoid loud noises. For example, you have to cut your lawn regularly.

Most people don’t bother to wear hearing protection when cutting the lawn. However, professional landscapers wear hearing protection because they work around heavy equipment all day.

As volume increases, the time that you can hear the sound before it damages your ears decreases. For this reason, hearing protection is critical for people who work around loud, heavy equipment.

If your air conditioner is making too much noise at night, you could use earplugs to block the sound. However, it’s more prudent to deal with the problem, rather than using earplugs to cover it up.

For some people, earplugs are not comfortable when used for sleeping. Most importantly, AC noise is a problem if it’s preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep.

Air conditioner noise is the most problematic during the light stages of sleep. Your light sleep stage occurs when you first go to bed and then again, several times through the night.

AC noise can also wake you up during the night. It can also prevent you from entering REM stage sleep.

You must protect your sleep environment from unwanted noise to get the sleep that you need. Even if your air conditioner doesn’t wake you up, it can contribute to poor sleep quality.

There are a few steps that you can take to minimize air conditioner noise.

How to Reduce Air Conditioner Noise: Location Is Everything

If you’re installing a new HVAC unit, you must think about the location of your air conditioner carefully. Have your contractor install it away from bedrooms or rooms that you will use frequently.

This location will limit the amount of noise that you hear when you sleep. It will also decrease how much noise disrupts your day. The further you are away from the source of the sound, the better.

Also, don’t install the unit near air ducts or narrow halls. The sound generated by your air conditioner will bounce off the walls or narrow space and sound louder. Talk to your contractors about suitable locations for your air conditioner installation.

Any smooth, hard surface will reflect sound. You should also work with your contractor to find an installation space away from your doors and windows.

Finally, work with your contractor to make sure that your AC unit doesn’t cycle on and off frequently. Continual cycling can cause noisy disturbances in your home.

Staging Your Home for a Restful Night’s Sleep

restful night's sleep with no loud air conditioner noise

You can decrease the amount of noise that comes from your air conditioning unit by installing a sound blanket. It’s also called a sound curtain.

A sound blanket will absorb the sound of noise coming from your air conditioning equipment. Typically, manufacturers make sound blankets out of fiberglass and cover with it with a vinyl face.

A sound blanket will help keep the noise level of your air conditioning unit to a minimum. You can also have your contractor install a sound blanket around the air conditioner compressor. A sound blanket is an excellent way to enjoy substantial air conditioner noise reduction without compromising the efficiency of your air conditioning unit.

Have you ever noticed how a forest area seems quieter compared to the city? It’s quiet in a forest because vegetation acts as a noise barrier.

In your home, plants help to promote significant AC noise reduction, in addition to making your home look better. There’s no need to build an indoor forest. All you need do is place a few plants in the right areas of your home.

Take Care of Your Air Conditioning, and It Will Take Care of You

In some cases, your air conditioning unit may make noise because it is clogged or damaged. This sound may indicate that your unit is not functioning as intended.

This scenario highlights the importance of annual air conditioning maintenance. It’s a great idea to employ a professional to clear seasonal debris, change the filters, and clear the drains. They may also need to update your air conditioning unit occasionally.

Regular maintenance will not only make your air conditioner sound better, but it will also make it run better. Also, it will last longer.

Some people think that air conditioner maintenance is a waste of money. When your contractor services your air conditioner, however, they’ll eliminate most of the problems that may cause your air conditioner to make noise.

In this case, they stopped your air conditioner from making noise in the first place, so you don’t even realize that they’ve saved you a headache. Performing a AC maintenance checklist will prevent most issues that will affect the performance of your air conditioner.

Don’t wait until your air conditioner stops working correctly to service it. Regular air conditioner maintenance can prevent breakdowns, which will cost more to fix in the long run.

When All Else Fails

homeowner upset about noisy hvac unit

All machines have a lifespan. Inevitably, you’ll have to replace your air conditioner at some point. Typically, an HVAC unit will last 10 to 14 years.

If you’re searching for a new HVAC unit, look for a quiet model. Your contractor can help you to find a unit that produces as little noise as possible.

Make sure that your new unit is the right size for your home. If it’s too big, it will turn on and off frequently.

Every time it does, it will run at full speed. This continuous cycling can grow distracting, especially during quiet times in your home.

Also, have your contractor help you find the unit with the highest Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). Look for an AC unit with a SEER rating of 14 to 25.5.

You also want a unit that is Energy Star rated. In addition to saving you money, an Energy Star rated air conditioning unit will make you eligible for a federal tax credit.

Finally, have your contractor help you find an air conditioner with a-two-stage compressor cycle. Most of the time, a two-stage unit will run on low.

Work With a Contractor That You Can Trust

technician meeting with homeowner

Annual maintenance is essential for the proper functioning of your air conditioning unit. Regular maintenance will ensure that your unit runs optimally. It will also decrease your monthly utility bill.

It’s essential to watch your energy costs, as cooling and heating account for 50% of energy consumption for most people. A properly running air conditioner can save you hundreds of dollars each year.

Now that you know how to reduce air conditioner noise, take the first step toward getting a peaceful night’s sleep.

Hiller Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, & Electrical specializes in commercial and residential maintenance and repair throughout Tennessee, Southern Kentucky and Northern Alabama. We’re committed to your satisfaction with our “Happy You’ll Be or the Service Is Free!” guarantee.

Contact one of our friendly HVAC experts 24 hours a day for your maintenance or same-day emergency service to ensure that your air conditioning is running in tip-top condition.

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