How To Quiet A Noisy Air Conditioner

by Jennifer Porterfield | Last Updated: November 1, 2021
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The AC unit is everyone’s best friend during the scorching summer months, bringing much-needed relief to overheated residents whilst they try to sleep.

How To Quiet A Noisy Air Conditioner

However, whilst AC is a godsend to some it can be a real nuisance to others and can cause frustrating disruption to their day and their night, often causing people to choose between remaining cool whilst they sleep or having to wear noise-canceling headphones.

Even if you’re able to persevere and fall asleep with your AC running, it may be affecting the quality of your sleep and preventing you from falling into REM (the deep stage) of sleeping so you may be feeling more exhausted than you should and potentially having less productive days. 

Use A Sound Blanket

One of the most budget-friendly ways to quieten a noisy air conditioner inside or outside your home is by using a sound-absorbing blanket that can be placed over the unit and reduce noise by 40%.

Try to find a sound-absorbing blanket that still provides good air circulation as you won’t want your air conditioner to overheat. 

Ensure The Surface Is Perfect

A lot of the noise created from air conditioners is not from operating, but from the vibrations that are created whilst it’s operating if it’s not on a steady surface.

If your air conditioner is not completely positioned flat on a surface then it may be causing a rattling sound from the vibration which can echo through your house. 

Do Some Cleaning

Noise coming from your ACs can be caused by a buildup of grime or dust on the filter or the fans which can make it more difficult for the AC to operate efficiently.

Turn your AC off and then attempt to clean the fan and anywhere you can see grime or buildup within the AC a clean with a damp (not wet) microfiber cloth.

Then wait for it to dry and then turn the power of your AC back on to see if the noise is reduced. 

Lubricate The Fan

Older air conditioners may need some TLC from time to time and sometimes a little lubrication can help minimize the noise of the fan’s motor. 

Window Units

You may have a home that has a window AC unit that brings in noise from possible whilst also converting the outside air to cool air inside.

This can be disruptive, especially if you live on a busy street, and can often cause many residents to turn it off completely overnight just to get a good night’s sleep. 

Try to adjust or reapply the framing material around your window AC unit so it’s flush against the unit to minimize the amount of noise that can leak in from outside. 

Secondly, you can try installing a fence or a barrier outside your AC unit (if possible) that can help reduce the sound from outside transfer into your unit and thus into your home. 

However, if you’re not overly keen about building and installing a permanent structure to go around your AC, then you can always plant some bushes or large shrubs to absorb some of the noise going into your AC.

If you’re going to do this then you may want to regularly check your AC unit to ensure that no leaves or organic matter from the plants have gotten inside and built up within your AC. 

Sometimes the AC unit can become loosened from the frame due to old or damaged screws which will then cause it to be unstable and vibrate when it’s turned on. Tighten or replace the screws to secure the AC back in place

Loft Units

If your AC is placed in the loft and you can hear your AC through the ceiling, then you’ll need to install or place a vibration absorbing mat or acoustic tiles underneath to minimize the noise that leaks through to the floors below.

Some sort of soundproofing should have been installed when the air conditioner was bought. 

What Else?

If you’ve exhausted all our recommendations to quieten your noisy air conditioner but nothing has helped to minimize it, then it may be time to get a professional in to take a look to see if it can be fixed.

On the other hand, this could be the sign that you need a new air conditioner as old AC’s are often the noisiest and cannot be minimized. 

Installing A New Air Conditioner In Your Home

If you’re kitting your home out with a new air conditioner, then discuss with the contractor where is best to put it to cause minimal disruption in your home.

Hopefully, the person doing the installation should be clued up on where is the best place to install a unit like this but if not, then we’d recommend placing it as far away as possible from rooms you frequently use or the bedrooms in your home.

Do not place your new AC between brick walls or other sound repelling surfaces as this will cause the sound of the AC to be echoed and make it worse than it would be if it wasn’t fenced or blocked off at all. 

Don’t cheap out on any new air conditioner you buy as the cheaper units are often the noisiest as they’re not made with cheaper materials and are poorly constructed which will often come loose, become damaged, or be easily vibrated when the AC is running.

A premium AC unit will not only last you longer than a bargain one, but it’ll also be quieter and make running it through your home much more comfortable to live with. 

Safety Tips

Before attempting to adjust or handle your air conditioner you should always turn the power off first and also switch off the breakers on the panel to ensure it’s completely safe to touch and move.