Sounding Off About Air Conditioner Noise Control
Your clients and customers rarely talk about your air conditioning system — and you want it to stay that way. The last thing you need is for a noisy A/C system to take center stage and become the focus of customer complaints and bad reviews. Loud A/C equipment can also cause your business to run afoul of local noise compliance codes.
Excessive air conditioner noise can prove costly for your business in more ways than one. The following shows how you can get a handle on your noisy A/C system.
Getting to the Root of A/C Noise
Noise is an inherent part of some commercial air conditioning designs, especially for large industrial chillers and air handlers. Rooftop-mounted units, for example, can transmit noise and vibration through nearby walls and other structures. Ventilation fans can also transmit noise through the ducts, especially if there isn't enough isolation between the ductwork and other surrounding structures.
Spaces located near or underneath mechanical rooms where air conditioning units reside are more prone to excessive noise than other, more isolated areas. Excessive A/C noise can also affect nearby businesses, especially those located within the same building. Even when A/C units are completely detached from the main building, sounds can migrate to nearby structures and disturb occupants.
Ways to Mitigate Excessive A/C Noise
Ignoring a noisy air conditioner isn't an option for your business. Fortunately, there are plenty of strategies you can use to bring A/C noise levels under control.
Design With Noise Abatement in Mind
The best way to keep your commercial air conditioner quiet is to design it with quiet operation in mind from the start. Proper HVAC system design will help mitigate noise issues while allowing for the most efficient and effective airflow possible. This means designing the air conditioning system according to current best practices such as the ACCA Manual J load calculation process.
Investing in new HVAC technology can also help in the fight against excessive A/C noise. Variable refrigerant flow systems automatically adjust their operation according to demand and current conditions. Since VRF A/C systems only operate when needed, these units offer significantly reduced noise along with reduced energy consumption.
Slow the Flow
Noise problems can also stem from excessively high ductwork pressures, especially if the problem occurs in multiple areas throughout the air conditioning system. Reducing fan speeds can help calm turbulent airflow and reduce the amount of noise transmitted throughout the system. For a more permanent solution, consider having your commercial HVAC specialist inspect and redesign the ductwork to reduce noise.
Check for Faulty Components
Excessive noise can also be a cry for help from an air conditioner in need of service. The type of noises you'll hear can vary depending on the nature of the problem.
Excessive dirt and grime buildup can cause the air handler fans to make excessive noise as the unit operates. Careful cleaning and inspection can help mitigate these issues.
Loose fasteners can cause portions of the air conditioning unit, including panels and brackets used to hold the unit in place, to rattle during operation. Tightening these fasteners will help reduce noise.
Air conditioner motors and compressors can hum or grind if they're not lubricated properly. Keeping these components well-oiled will help prevent excessive noise.
Frequent inspections by your commercial HVAC specialist can help identify and fix faulty components before they drive you up the wall and drive your customers away.
Invest in Noise Reduction Equipment
Sound walls, acoustic blankets, and other sound-reflecting and/or sound-absorbing barriers can help bring noise and vibration levels to a minimum. These products also offer some aesthetic value by keeping unsightly HVAC equipment out of sight.
For more information, contact a company like Robison Air.