Imagine stepping out onto your back porch early on a Saturday morning in summer…the sun is barely coming up and you are looking forward to a few minutes soaking in the peace and quiet before you start your day. You settle into your chair and start sipping your coffee when suddenly, your outdoor air conditioning unit starts up noisily and breaks the silence. Instead of hearing birds chirping you only hear the rumble and whine of your AC and it’s not likely to stop for the next 10 minutes!! What is the secret to quiet air conditioning?
First things first: Buy Quiet!
Check the decibel level for any unit you are considering buying. Remember that the dB level listed is the quietest possible that was tested (not necessarily the average decibel level among the tested units). You should aim for between 50 and 60 dB which is the level of a normal conversation. Other features that reduce sound include a variable speed fan which also improves efficiency. A unit with compressor insulation is also a good choice for a quieter unit. Check out these American Standard units which have all of those features. Mini-splits are also a great solution for homeowners or business owners for optimum noise control.
Existing air conditioning can run loudly for several reasons. Loose screws, debris in the fan, and vibrations from running are some simple reasons for a noisy unit. A bad bearing on a motor may also cause a loud noise. Older air conditioning units will naturally be louder due to their design—the fan blades especially are more noisy than on newer units. Hissing or whistling sound coming from the AC unit itself may be a sign of a refrigerant leak. If you suspect a leak, please call your HVAC professional immediately.
What You can Do
First ensure that there are no simple problems like debris in the top fan or grass and dirt blocking air flow to the unit. Make sure your air filters are clean at this time as well since dirty filters block air flow. Then check to see if any screws are loose by pressing on panels while the unit is running to see if it gets any quieter. If noise still persists give Stiles a call! We understand how important it is for a system to run as quietly as possible. We often find an underlying problem causing the noise or can recommend installing a noise blanket for the compressor.
Some AC units (especially older ones) will always be louder than others due to their design. If you determine that your unit isn’t malfunctioning but it still too noisy, you may consider building a fence on one or all sides of the unit to deflect the noise. Make sure you leave at least 5 feet around the unit for proper airflow and access for your HVAC tech. Incorporating bushes or a fountain near the unit can also help absorb and mask the noise beautifully.