How to Reduce Noise From Outside Air Conditioner – Easy, Cheap, DIY


Having a large air conditioner outside brings a lot of benefits to cooling down a home. They can cool, and even heat, large areas, and it is usually pretty cost-effective to have one installed over a window A/C unit. There is also the alternative of having no A/C at all, which would be miserable in certain parts of the world.

Outdoor air conditioners seem the most convenient, but at what cost? Everything is just fine until they become too loud and disruptive. Even when they are brand new, the units are very loud. It might be outside, but it is still relatively easy to hear in certain parts indoors. For those people who are struggling with the noise, using a few soundproofing methods is the way to go.

From materials that can help a lot to relocation, try a few of these methods out to see what ends up working.

1. Sound Blanket

A sound blanket can come in handy for any type of A/C unit out there. They are very inexpensive, easy to install, and provide some amazing noise reducing qualities right away. There is no need to reach out to a professional to help with soundproofing because a purchase comes with everything a person needs.

Some people may initially think that using a blanket could somehow affect how well the A/C unit works. It is actually quite the contrary. A blanket helps encourage air circulation, which is vital to make sure that the unit does not overheat. If an A/C unit starts to overheat, it can suffer through quite a bit of damage.

If there are a ton of methods to consider to help reduce the sound, go with this soundproofing method first. It is very inexpensive and works for a lot of people. There is always an opportunity to try something else if it does not work.

Click here for pricing info on a custom Brinmar SBUHD Universal-Fit Air Conditioner Compressor Sound Blanket Wrap from Amazon.

2. Enclosing the A/C Unit

There is a reason why a lot of A/C units at homes are closed off a bit from everything else. Installing a fence, or any barrier for that matter, can help reduce the sounds that the unit makes. Different materials work in different ways, but there are some things to consider before going out and buying something to help out.

For starters, it is very important not to have the A/C unit between two walls. This is because the sound will end up being amplified, as it bounces off the walls and shoots in different directions. This can cause issues not only for homeowners, but neighbors as well.

Materials also need to not be prone to any reverberation at all. Even if the material is there for just one side, it can still cause some problems if the material is not right. Too many people get caught up with looks, and do not necessarily think about how sound reverberation can make matters worse.

Whatever ends up going in, make sure that there is at least a little bit of distance between the A/C unit and the barrier. This is to help with air circulation and prevent any overheating.

If you’re going to build a fence around the AC unit like in the video above. One thing you can do that will greatly enhance it’s soundproofing capabilities is by wrapping all four sides of the fence with Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV). This is the MLV I recommend you use from Amazon.

It works better to have some separation for noise reduction, instead of everything being on top of the A/C unit and not allowing it to move around. If it is too close, there is even a chance of the unit and barrier rubbing against each other.

What type of material works best for a fence or barrier? A lot of people look at wooden fences as a great option. The higher they are, the easier it is to control sound. It is necessary for the fence to at least be a little taller than the A/C unit, but some people want to hide it away from everything else completely.

For a more natural look, greenery helps out quite a bit as well. Something simple like a shrub or bush can close off an area very well. Some people use a combination of a fence and greenery to turn an A/C unit into a very nice looking part of the yard.

You can buy this inexpensive ac unit fence in the photo above from Amazon.

3. Have a Great Surface

The surface that the A/C unit is installed on makes a big difference in sound. It might not seem like a huge deal, but those who have a less than stellar setup currently will find it worth investing in something different to reduce the overall sound.

More often than not, these units are put on a hard, steady surface like cement. It does not have to be any bigger than the actual unit, and it prevents everything from rocking around too much.

If for some reason the setup becomes a little uneven, even the slightest bit of rattling around can cause a huge annoyance. Fight off those noises by using foam to even everything out.

4. Preventing Water Dripping Noises

Dripping water from an air conditioner does not always mean that something is wrong. In fact, this could just be a pretty normal day where the unit is working just fine, but it is just extremely hot out.

If the unit is a bit off the ground, the dripping noise can be pretty loud. To combat this dripping noise, attach a hose to the air conditioner’s hose so that water does not drip at all.

There are times when a leak comes from a place that it should not. When that happens, it is actually a good thing that it makes a good amount of noise so the people are aware of it. Get it fixed as soon as possible, and the noise will go away. Better yet, the air conditioner will work properly just like before.

5. Soundproof the Home, Not the A/C Unit

With all the attention put on the air conditioner itself, some people might get frustrated and want to soundproof their home instead. This is certainly an option, and it helps make life easier with any type of sound.

Soundproofing options are plentiful for anyone who is looking to do so on a budget. It does not really take that much to see some difference, and there are some permanent solutions as well if a person is constructing a new home.

The only drawback to focusing on the home instead of the unit itself is that it will still be noisy for any neighbors. If there are a lot of complaints coming from neighbors, there still might be a need to do something about the sound coming from the actual air conditioner.

6. Changing Location

This is not an option for everyone, but if a person has the opportunity to pick out a location for an HVAC system, they should take advantage of that opportunity. This means doing enough research to figure out where it should go concerning the rest of the home.

Most people want to stay away from certain areas of the home more than others. Rooms that are generally quiet, or people spend a lot of time in, should be avoided at all costs. Putting an HVAC system near a bedroom, dining room, or even the living room is problematic for many.

If put in a strategic location, there might not even be a need to invest in any other type of sound reducing options. Most HVAC professionals will usually do a good job of making recommendations as far as where the setup should go.

Final Thoughts

There is always going to be at least a little bit of noise coming from any air conditioner. People who currently own one will attest to that. The good news is that there are ways to reduce the sound, and make life better in general.

It is always frustrating to have to spend money on making some fixes, but it is worth it for people in the end if they do not have any up with nearly as much sound every single day.

There is also something to be said to improving the look of the air conditioner, because it is not exactly something that makes a home look beautiful. Have some fun with building a barrier, or use some of the other methods to tuck it away and keep things quiet. Not only will it benefit the homeowner, but neighbors will be very thankful as well.

Martin Poirier

For the last number of years, I've Been dedicating a lot of time in soundproofing and helping people be able to soundproof their home, business, and vehicles. I also have a YouTube channel by the same name Soundproof Guide.

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