How to Reduce Noise from Outside Air Conditioner


Wondering how to reduce noise from outside air conditioner? 

Air conditioning units are known for generating a lot of noise.

That’s especially true for older models.

In comparison, new AC units generally have better noise-reducing technology. That includes:

  • better insulation around the air compressor
  • improved fan design so that the blades don’t produce as much noise
  • better design of the vent so that it muffles the sound that exits the unit 

Another improvement that new AC units have are variable speed blower fans.

Older models always work at full capacity which makes them generate a lot of noise.

With variable speed blowers, newer and better air conditioners run at lower speed, which naturally makes them quieter. 

As far as noise production is concerned, you could compare this to cooling fans in desktop computers.

When you use a demanding program or game, the computer fans blow at full speed and generate more noise.

When you’re not doing a demanding task on the computer, they work slower and because of that they are quieter.

Why am I talking about new air conditioning units when you obviously want to reduce noise coming from your old model? 

Mainly because I want to show you that you have two options:

1. Get a newer and better AC unit that creates less noise

2. Soundproof your current AC unit 

With that being said, it’s entirely possible to soundproof your current AC unit to a point when it doesn’t annoy your neighbours or yourself.

It’s definitely much cheaper than getting a new air conditioner.

Here are some things you can do that will definitely help:

Cover the unit with a sound blanket

The common wisdom of soundproofing applies in case of AC units as well.

In order to reduce noise, you need to add a layer of material between the object and the outside world.

The best material to use is one that has noise-reducing qualities, and that’s where a sound blanket comes in handy.

This sound blanket (link to Amazon) is the most popular one for AC units and it works well with most models. 

It has hook and loop closures, making it very easy to attach, and it’s designed for both larger and smaller units.

Another good thing about this blanket is that it ensures air circulation.

This is important when covering air conditioners because if there is not enough air circulation it can heat up and sustain damage.  

It’s an inexpensive and easy option for quieting an AC unit.

You might find this to be the only thing that’s needed to drastically reduce noise.

But if not, here are a few complementary ways to do it.

Install a fence

Anything that is dense enough and encloses the unit will reduce noise.

Of course, the material that is used is also important.

You don’t want to have an A/C unit between two walls, because the sound would be amplified and it would bounce off the walls.

The material needs to be one that doesn’t cause sound reverberation.

One thing you can do is install a wooden fence that is higher than your A/C.

This bamboo pool fence would work well.

Lush greenery can also help. Get some shrubs and bushes and place them around the A/C for a similar effect.

Of course, you could both install a fence and plant some shrubbery to get even better noise reduction.

Make sure that there is a distance of 1-2 feet between the A/C unit and the fence or shrubbery.

There should be enough air circulation and it’s also better to have some distance for noise reduction.

Location, location, location

If you’re just installing your HVAC system, it would be wise to place your unit as far away from certain rooms as possible.

Those include the bedrooms, dining room and living room.

Placing it in the back of the house as far away as possible is a good overall strategy. 

The farther away it is, the less it will trouble you, regardless of how noisy it is.

Conclusion

Here is a quick re-cap of all the steps you can follow to reduce noise from an outside air conditioner:

  • Install the unit as far from bedrooms, dining room and living room as possible
  • Cover it with a professional sound blanket
  • Use natural enclosure like a wooden fence, and/or shrubs and bushes that are higher than the A/C unit
  • Alternative: get a new and quieter A/C unit

I hope this article has been helpful. Please leave any questions or helpful tips in the comments section below. Thanks. – Luka Baron

Luka Baron

Soundproof expert and a staunch opponent of noise. This website is a free source of information on how to 'keep it down a notch'. I update the content regularly to keep up with advancements in the soundproofing industry.

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