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Reduce Air Conditioner Noise In Old And New Systems

Last updated 4 years ago

By Diane, Pacific Aire Comfort Advisor

To reduce air conditioner noise, you've basically got two options: Upgrade to a new high-efficiency A/C or make some alterations to the existing unit. The fact is, new units are much quieter, while the old ones tend to get even noisier.

A high-efficiency upgrade can reduce noise to as low as 69 decibels — about the sound of a vacuum cleaner — and saves money on utility bills since it reduces electricity consumption, too. The second strategy keeps the old energy hog going, but at the very least allows you to get some sleep and makes the neighbors happy.

Most A/C noise emanates from three sources:

  1. Compressor vibration (particularly pronounced in older units with single-stage compressors)
  2. Fan noise
  3. Airflow noise

New high-efficiency air conditioners have dual-stage compressors that run at reduced output over 65 percent of the time, producing less sound. The compressor is also mounted on vibration isolators to prevent transmission of noise to the frame of the A/C. Unlike the old-school metal fans, the condenser fan in high-efficiency units is made of lightweight, precision-balanced composites, aerodynamically designed for quietness. New cabinets also feature advanced vent design so air is exhausted with less noise.

Here are some suggestions for dealing with a noisy older A/C unit: 

  • Noise levels from the single-stage compressor in older standard efficiency units often increase over time. One method to reduce air conditioner noise is an aftermarket compressor blanket. Available for most major models, this sound-dampening material wrapped around the compressor can reduce noise by up to 65 percent.
  • Keeping the metal condenser fan blades of older units clean at all times through annual service visits makes them quieter and prevents unbalanced blades from wearing out the fan bearings.
  • Noise from exhausting air can be dampened by enclosing the outdoor condenser unit inside an 8-foot wooden fence. There should be no gaps between the fence slats and at least 3 feet of space between the fence and the A/C unit to allow proper airflow.

Pacific Aire Heating & Cooling is your source for trusted HVAC expertise in the areas surrounding the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys. Contact us today for more solutions to reduce air conditioner noise.


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