Tag Archive: air conditioner

  1. Summer Sound Series: Loud A/C Units


    The Situation

    My neighbor’s A/C unit is situated close to our house, and the noise is starting to drive me crazy. I know that I can’t ask him to move it, but is there anything that I can do to keep some of the sound out or at least make it quieter?

    The Solution

    While it’s difficult to reduce the vibration energy that is being transmitted into the house from the air conditioning unit, there are a few things that we can do to attempt to reduce the airborne sounds. The “right” product depends on a few things – namely the type of structure and the exposure to U.V. (sunlight).

    Recommended Products

    Sound Silencer

    Sound Silencer acoustical panelsFirst, our Sound Silencer panels can be installed onto some kind of structure or enclosure around the noisy equipment. The walls should be far enough away from the machine that they do not inhibit its performance and airflow requirement. The height of the machine should eliminate the line-of-sight from a listener’s location to the machine to achieve results. A rule of thumb is that the height of the wall should be one-and-a-half the height of the noise source.

    The Sound Silencer panels will both block and absorb some sound, but should only be used in areas that are not exposed to prolonged hours of U.V. exposure as the polypropylene will start to break down over time. The panels are typically installed with construction adhesive and/or mechanical fasteners. These panels are usually installed onto a wooden fence rather than onto chain link.

    Exterior Grade Quilted Curtain

    Exterior Outdoor Quilted CurtainSecond, our exterior grade quilted curtains are going to offer a greater reduction of both blocking and absorbing sound. They are also custom made based on the measurements of the enclosure and because they are made with parts that are all U.V. stable, they are going to far outlast the Sound Silencer panels. These are made with grommets to be used as points of attachment to the structure and the vertical edges of each panel has a 2″ wide strip of Velcro attached so one panel can be attached to the one next to it.

    Exterior Grade Quilted Fiberglass Absorber

    Exterior Quilted Fiberglass AbsorbersThird, we have our exterior grade quilted fiberglass absorbers, which are used to absorb the reflections from a concrete enclosure or from off of a building. By adding an absorptive surface to the wall behind the enclosure, the amount of sound hitting the building and then being reflected toward a potential listener is greatly reduced. These panels are not used to block sound, they are only used to reduce reflections.

    Echo Barrier Panels

    Installing Temporary Echo Barrier PanelsFourth, our Echo Barrier panels are available for rent or for purchase. They are similar to the exterior grade sound blanket in that they are reinforced in their performance – they will both block and absorb sound. If you are unsure as to how you are going to proceed, the rental option would allow you to test the performance of the panels yet allow you to return the panels if the situation is not reduced to your expectation

    Climate Seal Acoustic Window Insert

    Climate Seal Acoustic Window InsertFinally, if the unit is mounted outside of a window and the sound is coming in to the window, it is common to purchase one or multiple Climate Seal acoustic inserts to snap into place over the existing window. This will reduce sound while not reducing your view.

    A Few Final Thoughts

    I strongly suggest contacting a local HVAC company before putting an enclosure around your compressor. They will be able to direct you as to the distance that is required from the machine to the walls of your fence.

    Feel free to send us digital pictures of your situation as well as the address of the potential installation. The digital pictures give us a more complete view of the situation and the address allows us to find a bird’s eye (or street’s eye) view of the building.

  2. A/C Compressor Noise


    A.C Compressor Noise

    We recently purchased our home and to our surprise, the outdoor A/C compressors are extremely noisy. Normally, this would not be an issue, however, they are located right out side our master bedroom windows.

    I feel that our problem is two fold.

    1. The compressors are noisy
    2. There is an intense amount of vibration from the stand

    The units are sitting on a 4′ x 8′ stand roughly 7′ off the ground. The units have to be above ground due to our home being in a flood zone.

    I read quite a few posts you made about building a perimeter around the units and using the sound deadening vinyl pads to silence the noise. I completely agree with the strategy but am wondering what your thoughts would be about silencing the noise coming from the vibration of the units themselves, if any.

    I have attached a few pictures of the affected area. The windows directly above the units are for our bedroom. I have also included a shot of the nearby oak tree which also reflects sound towards our home.

    I would love to purchase your products and can’t wait to hear back.

    Noisy Air Conditioner

    Noisy Air Conditioner

    OK, right into the situation – the pictures are a huge help, thank you for that!  Based on your description of the problem, I would probably taking this in a two or three step process to make sure that you take the right steps while spending the least amount of money. The thing that worries me the most about this situation is the vibration introduced into the stand and the house. If I were you, I would probably start by calling a few local HVAC contractors to get bids on coming out to see if these machines are balanced – if this is even applicable. Vibration energy is a MUCH greater problem than airborne noise because it is a much more violent type of energy. Example: Take a coffee cup and put it onto your desk.  Pound the desk with your hand and notice the rings in the coffee. Now yell at the cup as loud as you can (but not into the top of the cup) and see how many rings you get.

    You should first eliminate (or try to eliminate) the structure born vibration that is being introduced by the machines running. This can be done in a few different ways – and the best is going to need to be determined by you and possibly with the help of a local HVAC Contractor. IDEALLY, I would like to see some kind of spring isolator between the compressors and the stand. There are a LOT of different types of spring isolators and choosing one is going to be dictated by the environment, but you may want to look at the SLFH un-housed spring mounts or the C, CIP or CIW Housed spring mounts. The SLFH are cheaper but because they are un-housed, they could potentially blow over. You may be able to get around this by coming up with some kind of strapping or something, but that would be up to you. If you don’t have the room for this, you may get some reduction out of the Super W pads which are simple neoprene rubber isolators that will only need ¾” of height.

    If you can lift the units up to accommodate for the springs and a new layer of ¾”, exterior or marine grade plywood, I would use the springs in the four corners and make a “floating table top” on top of the frame that is there now. That will let you use four springs which will limit the points of contact the machines have with the frame and be cheaper than buying eight of them.

    Personally, I would start here and see what this does. It MAY reduce it to an acceptable degree in which case you can move on to your next project. If it doesn’t reduce it to a point where you are comfortable, I can make additional suggestions but those are going to depend on the relative reduction offered by the first step.

    If they are simply making a TON of airborne noise (which I kind of assume they are) I would assume a large amount of that noise is coming in through the windows. If you consider the wall as one entity, the windows are the area of the wall that have the least amount of mass and density, so that is naturally the path of least resistance that the sound is using to make it’s way into the house.  Assuming this is the case, I would strongly suggest the Climate Seal Acoustical Series window inserts. These are ¼” thick panels of a clear acrylic that have a magnetic bellows system around the perimeter of the window (like the bellows of the seal on your refrigerator door) that snaps into place with magnets. You will, of course, need to install a thin metal “L” angle around the window so that the magnets have something metal to snap onto, but this is very simple. I can explain this further if you would like but it basically adds a dead air space between your existing window and a new “window” and will significantly reduce the amount of sound making it’s way into your bedroom.

    I hope I have not confused or overwhelmed you. Please let me know what you think of all this.

  3. A/C Condenser Noise Problem Solved

    Leave a Comment

    L.B. from Chicago, IL writes:

    The owners of the apartment building next door installed 2 very noisy air conditioning units right next to our back porch. They are about 4′ away from our porch, just over the property line! We love our back porch and the noise made it almost unusable. To make matters worse, they are in an air space surrounded with hard walls, so the noise echoes all over, down our gangway. We couldn’t open any windows in the house without hearing. In fact, we could hear it with the windows closed. I was losing my mind! In desperation, late one night, while I couldn’t sleep, I did a web search for acoustical materials. I found your website and called the help line the next day. Ted listened to my problem and recommended the EXT-BBC-TR2 exterior grade sound blanket.


    The sound blanket is installed and has dramatically cut the sound. I can barely hear the units from our porch, even though they are just on the other side of the wall. The blanket has also reduced the amount of sound bouncing up to our upstairs windows. Now we can actually sleep with the windows open, even when they are running the AC – I can still hear it, but it is so much reduced, just a faint hum. Thank you for your attention and excellent service! I would certainly recommend you to anyone I know with a sound problem.