I need to solve a noise problem while sitting on our patio!

Kaye Snyder
by Kaye Snyder
Our A/C unit is close to our patio (can't be moved), and it is so noisy when it comes on that we can hardly carry on a conversation. Yes, I will be glad when it dies so we can replace with a quiet unit, but for now I would like some suggestions for how we might at least lower the noise level. It drives me crazy!
  13 answers
  • Valerie Yoder-Specht Valerie Yoder-Specht on Apr 14, 2013
    My first thought was a sound barrier of some sort... But that might cost as much as just taking the plunge and purchasing a new unit.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Apr 14, 2013
    unfortunately enclosing it in a big sound proof box will not allow it to vent properly and may cause additional problems. A three sided box with an opening facing away may help a little. you could just install some decent ceiling fans and embrace the warmth as the bulk of the planet does....here in the west I have spent many days camping in the desert in temps in the 90's or better. you just need to stay hydrated.

  • Kaye Snyder Kaye Snyder on Apr 14, 2013
    Can't replace right now, but would love some ideas on sound barriers! Kaye

  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Apr 14, 2013
    @Kaye Snyder I think @KMS Woodworks idea of a three sided screen is a good one. The other thing I would suggest is erecting a tall lattatice on that side of the patio and planting a fast growing vine, that should creat a pretty visual and the plant wall will mask some of the sound. I have also heard that putting a fountain of some sort in masks the sounds. Thanks for posting and do let us know what you do and how well it works.

  • a small stockade fence placed between the unit and patio will reflect the sound away. Also planting shrubs such as vines as Gail suggested will also help a lot if allowed to develop on that fence section. You must however leave at least two feet clearance between the fence or growing shrubs to allow for proper air flow around the unit or its operation will falter and your energy costs will go up. Be sure to have the unit cleaned or you can do it yourself by using a hose and flushing out the sides of the unit. Any blockage will increase the noise level due to fan having to work harder to pull the air through the system. It all helps.

  • You may have to experiment by trying out different things. And whatever you try, I'm sure you'll want it to look nice since it's right there by the patio. A decorative three-sided enclosure with lattice panels may help to muffle the direct noise. If you have room, plants could help act as a noise buffer, in combination with an enclosure - such as perennials, like a large hosta (what plants you use will depend on the amount of sun or shade of that area). ~M

  • Jan W Jan W on Apr 14, 2013
    We fenced the area around out pool pump, heater and filter and while I thought it was a waste of time and money, it really cut down on the noise. You could also use something that you can put around it while you are outside and fold it up and put in away when you're inside. A small fence that is open on top would suffice and I think you'll be surprised at the difference.

  • All great ideas, but you only want the fence on the side between the patio and the unit or the noise will reflect back towards the patio if there is one on the opposite side of the unit. And please remember to keep distance of at least 2 feet between the unit and the barrier for proper air and access for services etc.

  • Kaye Snyder Kaye Snyder on Apr 15, 2013
    Thanks for all the suggestions!

  • J & J Refrigeration J & J Refrigeration on Apr 15, 2013
    Greg - Some A/C's make noise because of being over charged or undercharged with refrigerant, this should be checked and corrected if necessary. Also there is a compessor sound blanket that wraps the compessor that may reduce some noise.

  • 161389 161389 on Apr 15, 2013
    I agree with some lattic the proper distance from it and growing a vine up it, but why not put a water feature in front of the lattice & vine. It may not get rid of the sound, but at least it's a much more pleasant one to listen too. and may drown it out a little. Plus it will be pretty to look at.

  • V Valencia V Valencia on Apr 16, 2013
    I think a water feature might help....a fountain with circulating water could mask the noise to a certain extent.