How to Quiet a Noisy Air Conditioner
Every year my kids would ask me what I want for my birthday. And every year I’d tell them the same thing, “I want a clean house, my favorite book, a cup of coffee, and no yelling.” I know I’m not alone. We all crave peace and quiet! Lucky for me, it’s something I know quite a bit about too. I regularly get calls and messages from homeowners who have problems with noise between rooms, house levels (basement and main floor, for example), and a home’s interior and exterior.
One of the most common issues I hear about is noise from an air conditioner. Especially during the start of summer, I get calls from homeowners who can’t enjoy the outside because the A/C unit is too loud. Sometimes these homeowners have recently built a new deck or patio, and they’re looking forward to outdoor time with their family, but when the A/C kicks in, it becomes almost impossible to even have a conversation!
This is a common problem, but I can recommend a simple, convenient solution.
Why Are Air Conditioners Noisy?
Before I explain how to fix this issue, let’s take a moment to discuss the noise coming from your A/C. Specifically, let’s consider what can be normal noise from a functioning A/C, and what might require the services of an A/C technician.
Frankly, most outdoor air conditioners, which are powerful machines, create at least some noise. This is normal. While I’m not an air conditioning professional and can’t give guidance on this topic, most experts will tell you that light to moderate humming and blowing sounds are perfectly normal.
Air conditioners have a variety of moving parts that can cause noise. Even newer models will make some noise when running, which can be caused by the fans, fan motors, bearings, and other moving parts. I’ve found that most loud A/C units, even ones that function properly, are older units.
As an air conditioner ages, sound can become louder. One of the reasons for this is that the interior lining, which helps reduce noise, can wear out over time. This allows normal internal noise to escape. So for some units, it’s not that they are making more noise, it’s that more noise is escaping.
Should I Have My A/C Serviced?
When people have sound issues, they often want to know if they should have their A/C serviced. Since I am not an A/C professional, I generally recommend that if there is any serious concern, and the noise goes beyond normal humming (clanks, bangs, screeching, etc.), it won’t hurt to have a qualified professional take a look.
You may be wondering how to make a noisy air conditioner quiet, but as we’ll show, the solution may not be to reduce the noise created by the unit but to simply block and absorb the sound.
How to Quiet a Noisy Air Conditioner: A Simple Solution
There is one simple, convenient, and easy way to reduce noise escaping from your A/C unit. As an added bonus, this step can be used to enhance the visual appearance of your home’s exterior.
The solution is to simply build a short wood or vinyl fence around the air conditioning unit, then wrap the interior of the fence with noise reduction blankets, which both block and absorb sound.
Step 1: Build the Fence
The first step is to build the fence using wood or vinyl fencing material. (In this step, the sound-blocking quality of the fencing is not important, as the fence will be lined with noise-reduction blankets.) What is important is that the fence is tall enough that it goes above the top of the air conditioner.
It’s also important that the air conditioner is wrapped on all sides. If the A/C unit is close to the house, you may be able to wrap the machine with only three sides, using the exterior of the house as the fourth side. If it’s in a corner, you could even use two sides.
The A/C unit needs to be surrounded on all four sides, but it does not need a top or lid. In other words, you don’t need a box for the unit, just a surrounding fence.
Step 2: Wrap the Fence Interior with Sound-Reducing Blankets
Now that the fence is in place, you can line the inside of the fence (facing the A/C unit) with exterior noise-reduction blankets. These blankets will absorb the noise created by the A/C unit, and will result in less noise escaping to the outside.
Best Option: AlphaSorb® Dual-Sided Outdoor Absorptive Sound Blanket
There are a couple of products I can recommend for lining the A/C fence, but the best option is usually the AlphaSorb® Exterior Sound Blanket. Not only will this product absorb the noise, it will hold up against the elements.
It uses a fiberglass cloth covered in a durable vinyl coat, for a weight of two pounds per cubic foot. Although the material is lined on the inside of the fence, it comes in four different color options, which allows homeowners to select their preferred style.
I’ve seen this solution work before. For example, I once had a homeowner in the Philadelphia area contact me with a noise concern. They installed a new A/C unit, but neighbors complained that it was too loud. The city ordered the homeowner to stop using their air conditioner until the noise levels were below city ordinance. To solve the problem, the homeowner built a fence and used our outdoor blankets to reduce the noise, which allowed them to run the A/C and enjoy outdoor living, just in time for Memorial Day weekend!
Solve Your Noise Problems with the Help of an Expert!
If you have a noisy air conditioner, it may just be doing its job. It’s not necessarily broken and may not need replacement. By building a fence and lining it with noise-absorbing outdoor blankets, you’ll have a simple solution to this troublesome issue.
Contact Acoustical Solutions today to talk with an expert!
To learn more about how Acoustical Solutions can solve your noise control problems, use our contact form, call one of our Acoustical Sales Consultants at (800) 782-5742, or visit us on the web at acousticalsolutions.com.