How to Soundproof an Outdoor Air Conditioner

soundproofing an outdoor ac

While some people might not even notice it, those with a higher level of noise sensitivity have probably wondered about how to soundproof an outdoor air conditioner at least once or twice in their lives.

Granted, the fact that it’s an outdoor air conditioner often means that it doesn’t sound as loud indoor as it does outdoors. But you see, therein lies a problem waiting to erupt.

  • What if your neighbor can’t stand it over time?
  • What if every time your outdoor air conditioner comes on, it causes such an uproar that it sends the neighborhood dogs into a frenzy?
  • How about now that almost everyone is working from home, can you stand that constant droning noise?

Yes, sometimes, when you are indoors, you can barely hear the noise from your outdoor air conditioner. That, however, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there and that you can ignore it.

For that reason, you need to find solutions about how to soundproof an outdoor air conditioner.

Tips on How to Soundproof Your Outdoor Air Conditioner

When it comes to soundproofing elements around the house, there are a number of methods that have been tried, tested, and found to be true.

As far as outdoor air conditioners go, there are a couple of methods that you can employ, including wrapping it in a soundproofing blanket or creating a soundproofing enclosure to go around it.

Apart from these main methods, there are also a host of other tips that you can try out to reduce the overall noise produced by the air conditioner. These include:

  • Installing it on a better surface
  • Find ways to prevent the noise caused by water dripping from the air conditioner
  • Soundproofing your home better (not the most effective way especially if the main complainants are your neighbors)
  • Finding a better location for the air conditioner

Let’s take a deeper look at the top two methods that you can use to soundproof your outdoor air conditioner for the best overall results.

Wrap it in a Soundproofing Blanket

The first thing you should know is that your AC could be making more noise than usual for a variety of reasons. The most common of which, however, often have to do with the fan blades or the compressor.

If it’s the fan blades, then you will hear a distinct popping or rattling sound. In this case, you have to look and find out what the fan is hitting with the AC unit itself. If it isn’t hitting anything, then you might need to replace the fan to eliminate the noise.

The other most common cause of AC noise has to do with the compressor.

Unfortunately, these aren’t as cheap or easy to replace, like the fan. If your AC is making a particularly loud rattling or vibrating sound, then it could be the compressor.

air conditioner soundproof wrap

In this case, one of your best causes of action will be to wrap the unit in a soundproofing blanket such as this “Brimmer Air Conditioner Compressor Sound Blanket.”

Here is what you need to do:

  • Buy the blanket from a trusted supplier
  • Take a screwdriver and open up your AC unit to access the compressor (if you are not the DIY type then you might want to call a certified technician to help with this part)
  • Take the blanket and wrap it around the compressor completely so that there aren’t any gaps that could let the noise out

The beauty of using the Brimmer Air Conditioner Compressor Blanket is that it’s designed for exactly this kind of problem. According to the manufacturer, the soundproofing blanket is designed to work with over 500 compressor models, including the most popular brands such as Bristol, Toshiba, and Hitachi.

The blanket has loop straps and hooks that make it easy to fasten around the compressor. It has plenty of overlapping material and is designed to fit compressors of up to 10″ x 10″ x 19″ high maximum size.

Here is a video showing you just how effective this soundproofing blanket can be in terms of reducing the noise from your outdoor AC:

You should notice about a 40% noise reduction if you wrapped the blanket around the compressor properly.

Create a Soundproofing Enclosure Around the AC Unit

There are several good reasons why you should look to build an enclosure around your outdoor AC unit:

  • It gives your yard a clean look
  • It helps with soundproofing (if done right)
  • It lets you show off your DIY skills

Now, when it comes to using an enclosure to soundproof your AC unit, there are some things that you need to do. These include:

  • Buying the right screen for your outdoor AC unit: For the most part, these screens, such as the “All Season Universal Mesh Air Conditioner Cover,” are built in such a way that they provide your AC unit with ample airflow to prevent overheating. This one is also PVC covered, which makes it quite weatherproof.

universal ac cover

  • Covering the screen up with additional soundproofing material: Now, the screen itself will provide you with some soundproofing capabilities, but it won’t be anywhere near enough. You can increase that by wrapping all sides of the screen with a soundproofing material such as a sheet of Mass Loaded Vinyl.

You could also go a step further and have a live fence around the AC unit. You can choose your favorite type of greenery to make up this live fence. Just make sure it’s the type of plant that has the potential to grow above the height of the AC unit and the screen as well.

All you will have to do in this case is prune the live fence every now and again. The greenery will do an excellent job of reducing the amount of noise that escapes the outdoor AC unit despite the measure put in place.

It also pays to ensure that the AC is installed on stable ground to reduce vibrations. While at it, ensure that it isn’t installed between two walls, which will only go to amplify the noise.

2 thoughts on “How to Soundproof an Outdoor Air Conditioner

  1. Hi Jim,

    I live in a condo on the second floor, and all of the A/C units for my building (there are 4) and my neighbors’ 2 units are right below my bedroom window. My neighbors’ units are unbearably loud. It disturbs my sleep at night, I can’t sit outside in peace–it sounds like there is a motor idling–it’s noise pollution. I can hear it to some degree any place in my condo. I have mentioned it before to them, and they had someone come out to clean the units; however, that made little to no difference. I read about a soundproofing fence around the unit, but concerned that won’t make a difference since the noise will be still going up–where I live. How many decibels does the blanket and screen reduce? Will a fence help?

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