7 posts / 0 new
Last post
My Neighbor's HVAC

So last summer my neighbors (and good friends) installed an AC unit between our two houses ... which are very close together. I only wish they had installed it in their back yard instead. In essence this unit is right outside my kitchen/bedroom wall - maybe about 8-10 ft. away. The noise is horrendous ... I can't sleep.

Are these things supposed to be so loud? Are they supposed to run non-stop as this one does?

In the interest of maintaining our friendship, I need advice as to what to suggest to mitigate the noise. I don't believe moving it to the back yard will be an option (they divorced and now it's just her). If he were here, I'd talk to him about it, but he's not.

I'm desperate. I want to make informed suggestions to her. Any ideas?

And no, I don't know if they got a permit, I don't know if it's against code ... it's a moot point now and not much to be done for it, as I wouldn't want to cause trouble.

Re: My Neighbor's HVAC

Condenser noise level depends on the unit SEER value: the higher the number, the lower the noise level and of course the higher the cost of the unit. As far as I know, a homeowner can place the condenser anywhere oh his/her lot.

At this point you can:

- Ask her nicely to run the a/c less hours during the day or raise the temp at the thermostat, and save money doing so.

- Ask her to enclose the condenser in order to reduce the noise. Block wall fences around a/c units make a difference, even after you leave an open access for future servicemen.

- Close your windows.

I hate to see your friendship go south, but do what you have to do. Yes, the sound of a lousy compressor can ruin your day.

Let us know what happened.

Re: My Neighbor's HVAC

Ten years ago I moved into a house about 100 yards across an open field from a major highway. Consequently, my wife and I have slept most of the summers with the A/C running, not for the cooling, but for sound suppression ( double paned windows closed). Perhaps, if you can't beat'em, join 'em.

Two or three tall arborvitae bushes planted close to the offending unit would significantly buffer the noise. A section of fence would help deflect the sound too, but not as well as the sound absorbent vegetation.

Re: My Neighbor's HVAC

In some municipalities such as the one that i work in a permit is required to install a/c units. there are regulations
1) noise can not exceed 47 decibels, and we have people that can go and check. if over that then the unit must be changed
2) the a/c unit must be 7 feet from property line.

You might want to call your local municipality to check out their regulations


Re: My Neighbor's HVAC

No they are not supposed to run non-stop. If it is there is something wrong unless she keeps her house at meat locker temperatures.

Re: My Neighbor's HVAC

In more humid areas of the country, A/C units are deliberately somewhat undersized so that dehumidification takes place before too rapid cooling. If the unit is too big, a cool and clammy house results. The slightly undersized unit does run longer, but removes more humidity. High end installations will have two units, one for everyday normal temps, and one that kicks in for really hot days.

Re: My Neighbor's HVAC


Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.