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A/C Unit is Just Too Loud... and Ugly!

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by Jim Neidner

Jim Neidner is a national award-winning
builder/remodeler and radio home host.


Q)   I'm looking for a little help with a minor problem/irritation. I would like to know if there is a way to camouflage the eyesore and deaden the sound of a central air conditioning unit that's at the corner of my patio without hindering its operation? It's not excessively loud, however it is underneath the guest bedroom window and those folks who have a hard time sleeping in an unfamiliar setting can't sleep with it going on and off. On the other hand, it's definitely an eyesore that is in need of an extreme make-over.

A)   I hate the loud noise these units make as much as you do. In fact most people do, so what can we do?

When you have to replace your unit outside in the future be sure to research for the most quiet running unit on the market. Carrier has one and there are several other brands. Regarding what you can do at this time to help drop the noise:

1) Have it moved farther away from your house. Ask a good Air Conditioning company in your area to come out and discuss where you could have it moved. You will need to stay in the same general area to keep cost down. However, relocating the unit makes a huge difference--even several feet. This requires some electrical work as well as new Air-Conditioning lines run, but it can really help.

2) Without moving the unit, build a HardiPlank box around the unit. You will have to make sure it can draw in the right amount air to run properly, so you can't close it up totally. Using treated lumber and HardiPlank siding will not only help drop the noise, it makes this thing look much better. Also add plants around the new box cover and paint to match your siding.

When building this cover you will have to construct the box so it can be removed when it needs servicing and have the A/C Company describe what clearances they need to make sure again you do not damage the unit with improper air-flow requirements.

They will want the coil area open as much as possible and I have used plastic lattice cover for this area when building a box cover so it allows the proper air-flow and hides the unit better.

Another thing that will help reduce noise. Have your A/C and Furnace serviced once a year. Proper maintenance not only helps stop mold and mildew inside your home but your unit will last longer, and will also save you money.

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