How to Block Air Conditioner Noise

How to Block Air Conditioner Noise
December 15, 2023

It’s the middle of the night. You’re desperate to fall asleep, but one thing is stopping you: the loud whirring and humming of your air conditioner.

Noisy AC units are not a new problem, but they can certainly be a frustrating one. Keeping your home air-conditioned is a priority, but it can be not so pleasant if the tradeoff is a noisy air conditioner unit.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to reduce the noise of your AC unit. In this guide, we’ll share some of the best tips for blocking air conditioner noise, including:

  1. Installing a sound blanket
  2. Installing a fence
  3. Soundproofing your house
  4. Placing your unit in the optimal spot in your home
  5. Investing in a newer air conditioner model

Reasons for Noisy Air Conditioners

Before discussing how to reduce AC noise, it is first essential to understand why air conditioners are noisy in the first place. After all, if you don’t know the problem, you can’t fix it. Here are some of the most common reasons that could make your air conditioner noisier:

  • Age: Older air conditioners are louder than newer ones because experts keep inventing new soundproofing technology. Even if they’re otherwise functioning correctly, some older air conditioners will be noisy because experts hadn’t invented better technology when it was made.
  • Loose parts: An air conditioner has a lot of parts, and if one comes loose, it can put extra stress on the other parts. A loose part will eventually cause your air conditioner to make more noise. Your solution could be repairing the loose part.
  • Worn-out compressor: If your compressor is worn out, it could be making your unit a lot noisier than it has to be. Checking to see if your compressor needs replaced could be the solution to your problem.
  • Cleanliness: When an air conditioner is dirty, it makes more noise. AC units continually gather dust and other debris, so cleaning out your fans could improve the noise problem.

In general, if your air conditioner is being abnormally loud, it’s probably a good idea to get it checked out for repairs. However, sometimes air conditioners are just naturally noisy. If that’s the case, how can you block the noise?

loud air conditioner

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Tips to Reduce Air Conditioner Noise

There are two stages in air conditioner noise reduction: before and after installation. If you have control over both stages, you’ll be able to reduce a lot of the noise. Even if you can only control one stage, you can still do a lot to block the noise.

If you haven’t installed your AC unit yet, or if you are planning to install a new one, there are several measures you can take before installation to reduce future problems with noise:

  1. Keep away from bedrooms and living rooms: You know which parts of the house you use frequently, so if you can choose, you should install the AC unit as far from these rooms as possible. You should especially install the air conditioner far away from bedrooms.
  2. Don’t place in a narrow hall: If you install your AC unit in a narrow hallway or a similar tight space, the sound will bounce off the walls and become amplified. Brick walls and reflective surfaces are especially conducive to allowing sound waves to echo.
  3. Place away from doors or windows: Sound can easily slip into your home through doors or windows, so installing your air conditioner away from these areas will help reduce noise. Besides, if you open your window, you don’t want to be met with the sound of a noisy machine.
  4. Purchase a newer model: Sometimes, the best way to cut down on sound is to buy a more contemporary or higher quality air conditioner model. It might be more expensive, but that money will go toward a quieter machine.

Tips to reduce air conditioner unit noise

How to Reduce Air Conditioner Noise

If your AC unit is still noisy after you install it or had no choice in where you install it and don’t want to replace it, there are still several options available to help with AC noise reduction.

Install a Sound Blanket

One of the easiest and most cost-effective solutions for reducing noise is to install a sound blanket to act as an air conditioner noise barrier. You can check with your AC unit’s manufacturer for a blanket size that will fit your unit, or you can purchase a universal sound blanket. It only takes a few minutes to install, but you’ll be able to notice the noise reduction immediately.

A sound blanket can aid the overall functioning of your air conditioner. The blanket will help with air circulation, keeping the air conditioner from overheating.

Install a Fence

If your AC unit is outdoors, you can install a fence to act as an air conditioner sound barrier. This will prevent as much sound from traveling outside the fence, creating a barrier. This installation will also help significantly reduce the noisiness of your unit. If you choose to go this route, make sure to select materials that are good for dampening sound. Typically, wood or vinyl are both excellent choices.

Make sure you leave about 3 feet between the air conditioner and the fence as you install your fence. This spacing will allow adequate airflow to prevent the unit from overheating. You will also want to ensure there are no gaps between the fence boards, which will allow more sound to seep through.

Soundproof Your House

If your air conditioner is still too loud, there is one more place you can turn. Rather than figuring out how to quiet a noisy air conditioner, you can instead focus on your house. Soundproofing your house won’t make the air conditioner itself quieter, but it will make it more peaceful for everyone inside the house. As long as the noise from the AC unit isn’t bothering your neighbors, this could be the solution for you!

Install Sound Barriers

Setting up sound barriers around the unit is another simple way to make your air conditioner quieter. Soundproof barriers have composite layers, making them durable and dense enough to deflect, dampen and block sound waves and vibrations. Additionally, sound barriers come in various materials to ensure you receive the level of noise reduction you desire. Common materials used for soundproof barriers include:

  • Mass loaded vinyl (MLV): MLV is a thin and flexible yet dense soundproofing material that helps contain sounds when placed on the walls surrounding your AC unit. These pieces are safe and easy to use — all you need to do is place them in the spaces between your unit and the wall.
  • Foam composites: Gain maximum sound control when you install foam composites as your air conditioner sound barrier. Foam composites are a powerful, high-impact noise-blocking technology that includes multiple layers for a high level of performance. The foam separates the barrier from the wall you install it on, enhancing its soundproofing capabilities.
  • Fiberglass composites: Consider using fiberglass composites as your AC unit sound barrier. Fiberglass composites help reduce sound pollution by blocking the majority of sound waves wherever you place them.

You can also get temporary soundproof barriers when you don’t need a permanent installation, such as when renting an apartment.

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Soundproofing Products to Use for Reducing AC Noise

If you’ve decided to soundproof your home to reduce AC noise, there are many different ways to do it. At Soundproof Cow, we have plenty of products that can help you soundproof your home:

  • MLV Barriers: Our Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) Barriers are thick sheets that block sound waves. MLV sound barriers can be installed on or inside walls, around pipes or on air conditioner enclosures to help keep the home soundproof.
  • Acoustic Caulk: Another great way to soundproof your home is to use acoustic caulk. You can use this caulk to block sound waves from more minor cracks that initially let sound seep through.
  • Quiet Barrier™ Acoustic Quilts: Made to absorb sound, our Quiet Barrier™ Acoustic Quilts are flexible enough for you to use in any situation. You can use them as a sound curtain or blanket, creating a cost-effective soundproofing barrier.

Purchase Soundproofing Materials From Soundproof Cow

A noisy air conditioner can cause all sorts of problems, but there are many available ways to remedy the situation. There are many solutions to choose from, including getting a newer unit to installing it far from bedrooms to blocking sound with a sound blanket or a fence.

However, sometimes the only way to fully address the situation is to soundproof your house, preventing the air conditioner’s noise from even getting inside. At Soundproof Cow, we have all of the supplies you need to soundproof your home successfully. You can browse our online shop for our high-quality soundproofing materials, and if you have any questions, please get in touch with us today!

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About Ryan Yaukey

Soundproof Cow Representative

Ryan has been with since 2013 working on many different types of commercial projects. He specializes in custom applications required by specific building codes and architects. He started in the construction industry building houses. These projects taught him how to construct a home based on standard building codes in Pennsylvania. While on college breaks, he worked on electrical, plumbing, drywall repair, and all types of property maintenance. These skills allow him to remodel portions of his own properties, as well as assist contractors, architects, and homeowners complete their soundproofing renovations successfully. In the beginning if his career at he specialized in working with flooring contractors. This experience made him very familiar with STC and IIC ratings for a variety of assemblies. These IIC-rated assemblies determine how much impact sounds transfer in condos and multicomplex facilities which can be a major nuisance. Knowledge of these ratings as well as all types of soundproofing products, have given Ryan the ability to fix customers’ noise issues. His research on all types of soundproofing and sound absorption products foreign and domestic allow him to procure and customize the correct products for a client’s specific need. Please reach out with any questions regarding soundproofing, sound absorption or the application of materials.

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