Updated September 2023
For most people, HVAC systems play a critical role in staying comfortable year-round. While these systems keep you at the right temperature, they can also produce a lot of noise as they operate. In fact, HVAC systems produce noise that can be sent from the unit itself to the ducts and the vents located throughout your home. Fortunately, if the noise from your system is getting on your nerves, there are several things that you can do to remedy the issue.
1. Repair Your HVAC System Properly
If excess noise is coming from your HVAC system, it is crucial to have it checked and repaired before doing anything with the vents and ducts. The good thing about checking your HVAC system is that you could fix other issues you did not know existed.
For instance, if your HVAC system is making noise due to some faulty parts, it means that it is also not using energy efficiently. So, your utility bills could spike. Repairing it may be costly at the moment, but it will save you money on utility bills in the long term.
2. Use an Acoustic AC Blanket
An acoustic AC blanket is the easiest way you can soundproof your system. It effectively blocks and absorbs excess noise from your outdoor AC unit. A compressor blanket can reduce noise levels by 30% to 50%. These blankets also prevent the formation of condensate when it’s humid outside.
If you plan to use an acoustic blanket, it’s important that you get one designed specifically for an air conditioner; you can’t just wrap the compressor in any blanket and expect it to reduce noise levels. It’s also important to ensure that the blanket is installed correctly. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, you can reach out for help from a technician at Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating.
3. Build a Soundproof Box for Your HVAC System
You can build a soundproof box for your outdoor HVAC unit, just like the ones used with air compressors and generators to reduce noise. These work in much the same way as an AC blanket, but you need a few materials and DIY skills to build one:
- Mass-loaded vinyl
- Medium density fiberboard
- Acoustic caulk
- Nails and screws
After assembling these materials, take measurements of your HVAC system. Allow some extra room at the top for better airflow. Then, cut the fiberboard to the correct size to fit around the compressor. Remember to make two ventilation holes to allow for proper airflow; this is essential to keep your HVAC motor cool.
Using nails and glue, line the inside of the box with mass-loaded vinyl. Do not leave gaps between vinyl pieces. If there are any gaps, however, you can apply acoustic caulk to seal them. This will prevent sound from getting out of the gaps. Finally, place the box over your outdoor HVAC unit to prevent noise from coming out.
4. Install Flexible Ducts
A flexible duct can decrease the sound coming from the air vent since it is bendy. The bends in the duct make it harder for sound to travel as the air is flowing because the sound is partially absorbed each time it hits a bend.
However, it would be best if you only used flexible ducts when it is absolutely necessary. Also, ensure that you use high-quality flexible ducts because they are prone to breaking, which can leak sound and reduce their effectiveness.
5. Install Duct Liners
Installing duct liners is among the cheapest and easiest ways to soundproof your HVAC system. The insulation materials on duct liners absorb the sound vibrating through the inner walls of the ducts, making your HVAC system quieter.
When shopping for duct liners, be sure to get a product that is double-sided. This way, the liner cannot blow the glass wool fibers into the room as the air is flowing.
6. Remove and Replace a Noisy Air Vent
If the majority of your sound is coming from a single air vent, you may be able to simply remove it. This is a simple, effective, and affordable solution. The most effective way to do this is to remove the vent entirely and replace it with a new one or cover the opening with sheetrock.
Before going through your home and ripping out air vents, however, you should consult with an HVAC professional to ensure that removing the vent will not adversely affect the operation of your HVAC system. You may also want to hire a handyman or construction contractor to handle the actual vent replacement and wall repair.
7. Build a Sound Maze
To build a good sound maze, you must thoroughly examine the inside of your air ducts and get proper measurements. Doing so will help determine the amount of material required.
After taking the measurements, cut pieces of plywood to approximately three-quarters of the width of your air ducts. This will ensure that you maintain proper airflow through the ducts. You should have at least four pieces of plywood that can be attached horizontally inside the ducts.
Before installing them, ensure that you line both sides of the plywood with acoustic foam. The acoustic foam ensures that there are no flat areas inside the vents and air ducts. That way, it eliminates the echo, making your HVAC system quieter almost right away.
8. Install Soffits
Installing sound-insulating soffits is a sure way to soundproof your ducts and air vents exposed to sound. A soffit made from MDF with an insulation layer inside it is very effective in reducing sound.
These types of soffits are commonly used in home theater installations to mitigate sound, but they can achieve the same result when used in vents and ducts. Basically, soffits are enclosures that go around your ductwork. This creates a sound barrier between the ducts and the surrounding rooms.
9. Create a Sound Baffle
A sound baffle is also an excellent technique to soundproof your air vent. It has a box that makes sounds travel a longer distance than usual, thus absorbing and decreasing the sound waves along the way. It works the same way mufflers work on vehicles to reduce the loud engine sound.
10. Apply Sealant inside Ducts and Vents
An expandable foam sealant is one of the most convenient ways to eliminate any gap in an air duct or vent that is causing the noise. You can use it as a quick solution to noise problems from your HVAC system.
After applying the sealant to the inside of the vent, it begins to expand to fill the space. Once the gaps are filled with sealant, it will be impossible for sounds to come out.
11. Upgrade Your HVAC System
The older your HVAC system, the noisier it is. This is because it uses old, clunky technology, or some parts have worn out over time. Besides noise, an old system also causes intense vibrations.
If this is the case with your HVAC system, you should consider getting a newer one. Modern HVAC systems apply quieter technology to reduce the noise from the vent. Besides reduced noise, modern HVAC systems are also energy efficient. As a result, they will save you money on utility bills.
Get Professional Help
Trying any of these methods can be cumbersome, especially if you do not have the knowledge and experience. That is why you need the services of an expert. In the San Antonio area, you can rely on Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating to deliver the best and most satisfactory service. We offer a variety of residential AC products and services, including AC repair, installation, and maintenance. We also work with heating systems and indoor air quality solutions, and our team can clean and repair your ducts.