6 Tips for Quieting a Loud AC Unit

Ben Kissam
Written by Ben Kissam
Updated June 23, 2021
Home air conditioner unit
C5Media / iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

A loud air conditioner is anything but cool—these tips will help you reduce sounds coming from your AC unit

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In the heat of summer, the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not to run the air conditioner because it’s too loud—especially considering the best time to run your AC is throughout the day consistently to get the best performance.

Fortunately, whether the noise you’re hearing is a constant low humming, a loud screeching, or a periodic banging, there are things you can do to reduce noise and keep cool. Here are six tips for quieting a noisy air conditioner.

1. Check your Compressor and Condenser

Your air conditioner’s compressor (the device that circulates refrigerant during the heating exchange) and condenser (the outside part that collects or releases heat) are the most likely culprits of loud noises coming from your unit, especially if your AC is 10 years or older.

A constant loud buzzing noise is a sign that a motor could wear down—which may be a sign that it’s time to either repair or replace your air conditioner.

2. Tighten Loose Screws

Take a close look at the screws holding your condenser in place. Sometimes, they can come loose and cause the condenser or other parts of your air conditioner to rattle or shake, which can create a loud humming noise.

One of the biggest things that kill your air conditioner is skipping out on maintenance. Whether you check on your AC once a year or hire a pro, you should service your air conditioner annually to prolong its life.

3. Clean the Fan Blades

If the condenser’s motor isn’t the source of the noise, there are a few other general maintenance tips that could help. For example, dust build-up on fan blades can also increase the volume of your AC.

The best tool for cleaning fan blades is actually your vacuum. Attach the brush attachment to your vacuum hose and gently vacuum the blades, being cautious not to push or or bend them.

This also might be a good time to replace the air filters on your AC unit, which can help your air conditioner run efficiently during summer.

Air condtioner maintenance
C5Media / iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

4. Install a Fence Around Your Unit

If your unit doesn’t need replacement, isn’t old, or isn’t dirty, you might just have an abnormally loud air conditioner. Building a small fence around your air conditioner creates a sound barrier between you and your AC unit, which helps muffle noises.

You can build a 3-foot tall fence (with 3 feet of space on all sides) out of plywood for about $20. This is a good way to test if a fence will be the solution for reducing sound. If so, you can install a permanent fence around it later.

Keep in mind, maintaining a 3 feet gap around the perimeter is important. Restricting your AC unit could cause it to overheat, which can damage the unit and reduce its cooling performance in your home.

5. Buy a Sound Blanket

Sound blankets are another good way to stifle noises coming from a loud AC unit.

Many air conditioners design sound blankets to match the make or model of a specific air conditioner. Do research online or contact the company you bought it from for recommendations on which sound blanket you should get.

6. Contact an HVAC Specialist

Air conditioners have a 10- to 15-year life expectancy. If your unit is on the older side and some or all of these tips aren’t helping, it might be worth it to bring in a local heating and cooling specialist.

Besides diagnosing your AC’s issues, a specialist can also give you tips on which model to install next. One reason your air conditioner might be loud is that you (or the previous owner) installed a unit that’s actually more powerful than your home needs.

New air conditioners are very quiet and more energy efficient. Replacing your AC could solve your noise problem and save you money on energy bills.

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