How To Quiet A Noisy Air Conditioner

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

Your air conditioner is a real savior in the hottest months. One AC unit can turn a completely unbearable sunrise into a pleasant morning in bed under the covers. There is so much to be thankful for when it comes to having the modern convenience of temperature and humidity control. But sometimes air conditioners are very loud. In fact, an AC unit can get so loud, it is hard to concentrate on anything else. But how do you quiet a noisy air conditioner?

If you have a noisy air conditioner, use a sound blanket to wrap around the compressor. Try building a structure around the unit to mute the noise. The noise might originate from the fans or shroud above the unit, so make sure both are clean and secure. You might also want to consider calling a professional, replacing the unit with a quieter one, or moving the air conditioner’s location.

There are all sorts of reasons why your air conditioner is making such loud noises. Each reason often corresponds to a different solution. In fact, there are even different types of irritating noises that can come from your AC unit, all with different origins and solutions. Before you go out and purchase a makeshift solution, ask yourself a few questions. This will help you determine what solution is best for your AC unit.

Questions To Ask When Addressing A Noisy Air Conditioner

What Type Of Unit Is It?

You first need to consider what type of AC unit you are dealing with. Is this a wall unit, or an HVAC system? Typically, noisy air conditioners are either HVAC systems or large wall units, mostly due to the size of the compressor. The type of unit will dictate possible best solutions.

How Old Is The AC?

Consider the age of the AC unit. Older units can be noisier. They also tend to experience more problems as different elements of the machine begin to break down or loosen. Additionally, the older the unit is, the better off you are just buying a new one.

What Type Of Noise Is The AC Making?

When it comes to loud sounds coming from your air conditioner, not all noises are the same. It might be a banging sound, a hissing or even rattle or a drip. Each of these sounds might be irritating, but they all have different root causes and solutions.

Does The AC Function Properly?

You also need to ask yourself whether or not your AC is functioning properly. If it is, then you need to find a solution to the noise no matter what. If you are noticing problems in how your air conditioner functions, then you should address this first, as it could help resolve your noise problem as well.

Top 9 Tips On How To Quiet Your Noisy Air Conditioner

1. Purchase A Sound Blanket For The Compressor

One popular and effective way of reducing the noise your air conditioner makes is to purchase a sound blanket. Sound blankets are made for larger HVAC systems, and they are designed to snugly wrap around the compressor. The compressor unit is often the main source of noise. You might be worried that a sound blanket might negatively impact circulation, or how your unit functions, but the good news is it shouldn’t hurt the unit at all, as long as you install it properly.

2. Tighten Loose Screws And Inspect The Top Shroud

Another potential fix for a noisy AC unit is tightening screws and the top shroud. This specifically applies to HVAC units. This might be a great fix if the sound you hear is more a buzz and rattle sound. Try tightening screws, replacing washers and securing the top shroud. One way to find if this is the source of the noise is to firmly place your hand on the top of the unit. If the noise stops, you have likely found your problem.

3. Build A Secure & Steady Surface For Your Unit

Sometimes the source and major contributor to air conditioner noise is the ground the unit rests on. If the ground is uneven or unstable, an AC unit is more likely to make loud noises. It is best to place your unit on a steady and secure surface like a flat concrete square, and perhaps with some added padding to absorb some vibration.

4. Build An Enclosure To Act As Sound Barrier

One popular solution to quiet a noisy air conditioner also helps improve the look of your unit. Many people build enclosures for their HVAC systems and AC units. This can help muffle a lot of that unwanted sound. It also keeps the unit from being an eyesore. Make sure you use materials that aren’t prone to vibrations themselves. You also want to make sure you give enough space between the unit and the enclosure so circulation isn’t negatively impacted.

Pro Tip: Consider wrapping your enclosure in mass loaded vinyl to further reduce noise.

5. Relocate The AC Unit

If you can’t easily solve the problem with noise, you might want to consider moving your AC unit. This is particularly true if the unit is right outside your window. If you can easily move your system without too much expense and difficulty, it is worth considering.

6. Improve Soundproofing In Your Home

You can also use this irritating AC noise as an opportunity to improve soundproofing in your home. After all, while the air conditioner noise might be irritating, it is likely not the only noise you hear from the outside. Soundproofing measures can be done on any budget. So, consider taking some steps to improve soundproofing in your home.

7. Replace Your AC Unit With A Quieter One

Perhaps the most obvious, and expensive, solution is to get rid of the loud unit and swap it out for a much quieter one. This is expensive, of course, and is not always in the budget. But if the unit that is making lots of noise is older, start saving now. In fact, older units tend to use more electricity than newer, quieter energy-saving units. The longer you wait, the more money you are wasting.

8. Clean Fan Blades And Filters

The blades and filters can also contribute to the loud noise coming from your AC unit. Make sure you are sticking to a preventative maintenance checklist when it comes to your HVAC system. This will include making sure moving parts stay lubricated and the fans are cleaned. You have to use a cloth or a vacuum brush attachment to clean your fan and blades to keep them quiet and well-functioning.

9. Call In A Professional To Find And Fix The Noise

While you might be a DIY fix-it-yourself person at heart, some issues require a professional. If you can’t fix the loud noise your air conditioner is making and it is driving you crazy, consider calling in an expert. A professional can identify the problem and offer you a variety of solutions. It might cost you more, but it is likely to resolve the problem quickly.

Common AC Noises And What They Could Be Telling You

Loud Banging

If you hear banging noises coming from your machine, the cause of the noise is usually a broken part or piece of debris. The sound is likely the piece slapping against the walls of the unit. Use a flashlight to check inside the unit and locate the culprit.

Hissing Or Squealing Sounds

A loud hiss, squeal or screaming sound is alarming. In this case, there is some real cause for alarm. In many instances these sounds mean there is an issue with either the compressor or refrigerant. You should shut off the unit and get your unit looked at if you notice these troubling noises.

A Loud Buzzing

When you hear buzzing, that is often the sound of some loose wiring. It can also be a blower motor issue. Try looking closer at the unit to try and identify the exact source of the noise, and address it accordingly.

Rattling Noises

A rattle noise could be anything from loose screws to small pieces of debris bouncing around in the system. Try tightening screws, replacing washers and cleaning in and around the unit.

Final Thoughts On How To Silence A Noisy Air Conditioner

A loud air conditioner can really shine a negative light on an otherwise very helpful machine. If your air conditioner is making loud noises, try using a sound blanket over the compressor, or building an enclosure around the unit mute the sound. You may also want to replace washers and tighten screws. Make sure you keep the fans and moving parts cleaned. If you can’t fix the loud noise, consider soundproofing your home, relocating the unit or replacing it with a newer quieter one.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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