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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    49

    Default LOUD Central Air Conditioning Unit

    In the interest of preserving the very good friendship I have with my neighbors, it would be helpful to get some info before I have a discussion with them about my sleepless nights.

    Last summer they had central air installed - the big square unit was placed in the space between our houses - but basically right outside my bedroom wall ... maybe 9-10' feet away. I don't begrudge them - the second floor of their 1909 Craftsman house is like an oven when its hot out. Their bedroom is at the front of the house ... far enough away that I don't think they hear it.

    This unit is loud; it has a high-pitched rattle and hums in a pattern that almost sounds like a washing machine - and it never shuts off. They ran it for 3 days and nights in a row, and I about went crazy with the noise. The only window closest to my bedroom (no windows in my bedroom) is also near this unit - so I had to close it when I usually keep it open all summer. Thankfully we cooled off for a few days.*

    I guess I'd like to know a few things - are these units supposed to be loud?; are they supposed to rattle?; aren't they supposed to shut off once in a while?;

    I've seen them with boxes built around them ... is that to keep the noise down or is it just for cosmetics? Is there anything I can suggest they do so that I don't cringe when the forecast says hot?

    *The upcoming 10-day forecast is for hot, hot days ... help?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,505

    Default Re: LOUD Central Air Conditioning Unit

    The higher the SEER, the quieter the compressor.

    For a noisy compressor, you can build a wall around it, with one open side for access. Keep in mind that the unit has to breathe a lot and keep the area plant free.

    Rattle has to be checked. Maybe the unit is not sitting properly.

    FYI, the hot hot hot weather will last more than 10 days.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,580

    Default Re: LOUD Central Air Conditioning Unit

    They really shouldn't rattle much especially when new. The cover or access panel may need to be tightened or the mounting pad may be causing a rattle if the unit needs to be shimmed.
    The proximity of the houses probably amplifies the sound. Every new a/c unit I've got over the years has been quieter than the last. It seems the manufacturers work on that, but unfortunately not in your case.
    If sized properly a unit should not run constantly for 3 days.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: LOUD Central Air Conditioning Unit

    Quote Originally Posted by ed21 View Post
    They really shouldn't rattle much especially when new. The cover or access panel may need to be tightened or the mounting pad may be causing a rattle if the unit needs to be shimmed.
    The proximity of the houses probably amplifies the sound. Every new a/c unit I've got over the years has been quieter than the last. It seems the manufacturers work on that, but unfortunately not in your case.
    If sized properly a unit should not run constantly for 3 days.
    Thanks for your replies .... for some reason I am not getting notifications to my threads, even though I have it set up to do so - a message to the supposed moderator about this issue hasn't gotten a reply, either.

    I'm happy to learn the rattle shouldn't be there, and yes, the closeness of the two houses probably doesn't help - it's a good thing we all like each other and that I have a lot of space on the other side of my house.

    It was rather serendipitous - a few hours after I posted my question, there were two guys looking at the unit - so I guess my neighbor knows there's a problem. I haven't said anything, as it looks as if he's going to take care of it, though they have not been back since then (but the unit has not been on either, thankfully).

    @dj1 - I had no idea what a "seer" was - so I had to Google it - learn something new every day.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: LOUD Central Air Conditioning Unit

    mtngigi,

    Glad to hear about your serendipity so far on this presenting problem, but at such a close proximity to your house, it sounds like the placement of such an AC unit will almost certainly present an ongoing problem---what was the dopey AC installer thinking of when he agreed to install a central unit 9' from your bedroom window?

    In an increasingly large number of towns across the US these days placement of a central AC unit within 9' or 10' of a neighboring building is a noise code violation---I would strongly suggest that in the meantime you inquire at your local town hall/police dept. & local library (many local libraries have a copy of the town codes) during this pause in the "artillery barrage" to determine what your local town "noise ordinances" say about this issue.

    If you have a friendly relationship with your neighbor it's always helpful to first communicate with them to let them know that there is a noise problem, & if they are amenable to doing something voluntarily to resolve the issue---this can mean them relocating the unit to another part of their property (often expensive), or installing some sound-absorbing enclosure to cut down on the noise (also an added expense).

    If the local town noise ordinances are present in your town (unfortunately they are not in many towns), these can be used to enforce your rights to peace & quiet---after all, remember it is YOU that is being harmed by the existence of this situation----and you should pay a visit to the town dept. (ex.:Building & Safety, Planning Dept, Community Development Dept., etc.) that will take your written complaint & send someone out to talk to the AC owner--------in towns with noise ordinances in effect, the offending party can be cited & fined & be ordered to remove the AC to another on-site location, or have it removed altogether if removal to another suitable location is not feasable.

    Although cooling season in most areas is only 3-4 months of the year, you will lose your bargaining power on this issue if you do NOTHING -----with the idea of maintaining "good will" with a next door neighbor-------only to find you have the same aggravating problem in coming summers.
    Last edited by brewster; 07-23-2014 at 02:47 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: LOUD Central Air Conditioning Unit

    A properly sized unit will run nearly all the time on the hottest of hot days. If it runs all the time its undersized.

    From my desk it sounds like the unit may have been installed with not enough freon or it leaked out right away.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,796

    Default Re: LOUD Central Air Conditioning Unit

    Units are also noisy if they are not level.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

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