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Subscribe to our RSS Feed Air Conditioner Noise Driving You Crazy? How to Choose a Quiet System

Monday, June 03, 2013

Along with the sounds of barking dogs and loud parties, the municipal noise codes of many cities now specify maximum decibel limits for air conditioner noise. The drone of the outdoor component of a central air conditioner can disturb occupants of the home as well as their neighbors.

Furthermore, as the square footage of homes increases, as well as population density, A/C units may be located in closer proximity to living areas than ever. Older units have few noise-dampening features, and their outdated single-stage compressors are notoriously raucous. Upgrading to a new high-efficiency unit with a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating greater than 13 can reduce air conditioner noise significantly. Additionally, the energy savings that you’ll realize from retiring a noisy, aging SEER 10 unit start at about 28 percent and go up from there.

Here’s how high-efficiency air conditioners keep down the noise.

  • Dual-stage compressors: Single-stage compressors barrel along at 100-percent output continuously, even when the heat load doesn’t require it, which can be a large part of the time. High-efficiency units sense the temperature conditions, and automatically downshift to a lower 67 percent output when appropriate. This reduces energy consumption and cuts noise by one-third.
  • Protection from bad vibes: A lot of air conditioner noise is caused by intense vibration from the compressor transmitted into the unit's frame. High-efficiency units incorporate vibration-isolation technology to isolate the compressor unit and dampen vibration.
  • Advanced fan design: The clunky, belt-driven metal condenser fan in your old unit was not designed for quiet. New units with higher SEER ratings feature direct-drive fans made of lightweight composites and aerodynamically designed to move air quietly.
  • Softer venting: The rush of air venting from the condenser coil boosts the sound profile of a standard efficiency air conditioner. Advanced vent design in a high-efficiency unit exhausts air more softly and holds down the decibels.

If you're interested in reducing air conditioner noise around your home, the best thing to do is consult an professional HVAC contractor. For expert advice, contact We serve Chicago, NW Indiana and SW Michigan.

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