When it comes to choosing an HVAC system, many homeowners are looking for comfort without sacrificing peace and quiet. The location, size, and features of any given HVAC unit can greatly impact the quality of life in your home. Although there are a lot of factors to consider when purchasing an HVAC system, the right HVAC unit does not drown out daily activities or wake you up in the middle of the night. For help in finding an efficient and quiet cooling and heating system to offer comfort without the noise, use the following tips.
Understand the Noise Rating of an HVAC System
All HVAC systems have a decibel (dB) rating that correlates with the intensity of sound. This decibel rating can be found on the label and refers to the sound output that can be heard by a person standing within a reasonable distance of the HVAC system in a non-insulated surrounding. The lower the decibel rating, the quieter the system.
There are units on the market with innovative sound reduction features, but note that they are more expensive than regular air conditioners.
As you are doing your research and comparing models, you want to have a general idea of what the decibel ratings of different models and brands mean. Here is a quick guide developed by Purdue University to use as a frame of reference:
- 50 dB translates to a quiet conversation at home.
- 60 dB is close to the volume you can hear from a conversation in a restaurant.
- 70 dB is compared to the sound of a vacuum cleaner.
- 80 dB is equivalent to the sound produced by a garbage disposal.
Using this guide as a frame of reference, most homeowners seek out an HVAC system that is 60 dB or lower. The quietest HVAC systems fall between the range of 50 to 60 dB.
Look for HVAC Systems with Noise-Reducing Features
One of the biggest contributors to the noise coming from your HVAC system is the intense vibrations from the many moving parts that work together to comprise your HVAC system. These noises are typically associated with the starting and stopping of the fan.
When the temperatures outside are extreme, your unit will operate at its highest decibel as the unit works overtime to keep the inside of your house at a comfortable temperature. Other sounds can come from things like leaves or twigs falling into your outdoor unit.
Therefore, you should not only look for a low decibel rating but also as many of the following noise-cancelling factors as possible.
- An insulated base fan: it is an additional pan underneath the unit that works by preventing corrosion and reducing noise pollution.
- Compressor insulation: it is an independent enclosure or compartment that covers the units compressor to reduce the units overall noise.
- Noise-reduced fan blades: these are designed to reduce the outdoor unit noise.
- Variable speed settings fan: this is an integrated fan that operates at different speeds based on the family’s comfort level needs. This fan can help not only in lowering energy bills but also at improving comfort and running the HVAC system at a quieter noise level.
Take Preventive Maintenance Measures on Your HVAC System
Don’t Overwork Your HVAC System
Keeping strain off your HVAC system is another great way to keep the noise level down. The best tips we can give you here are to replace your HVAC filter as frequently as necessary and to monitor and maintain proper humidity levels in your home. Both of these simple steps will make it so that your AC is working less hard and, therefore, being quieter. Are the rule of thumb, aim for a humidity level between 30-45% in the summer and 45-55% in the winter. These are the optimal levels to prevent your HVAC from being overworked while also maintaining comfort in the home.
General HVAC System Maintenance
Maintenance is a crucial step in both the efficiency and lifespan-lengthening of all appliances but particularly your HVAC system. Get your HVAC unit checked by a professional twice a year to ward off any potential problems from refrigerant leaks, loose bolts and screws, outdoor debris, and worn parts.