Owning a window air conditioner is bittersweet. On the one hand, you get to enjoy a comfortable and cool stay inside your house during the hot summer months. On the other hand, you have to deal with the nuisance noise the appliance produces. If you’re a person who enjoys the quiet, the chances are you’d give anything to have the best of both worlds.
So, how do you soundproof a window air conditioner? There are various ways to soundproof a window air conditioner. Depending on what’s causing the noise, the following solutions will significantly reduce the noise.
- Invest in an air conditioner compressor soundproof blanket
- Use a quiet fence
- Repair or replace malfunctioning parts
- Get rid of dripping noises with a hose and bottle
- Change the surface your air conditioner is standing on
- Block the noise using a fence
- Use custom measured inserts on your windows
- Consider moving the air conditioner
It’s normal for a window air conditioner to produce noises. However, before you decide to try any DIY solution to quiet the noise, it’s crucial to troubleshoot your AC to find out if there’s an underlying issue that’s causing the appliance to be louder than usual. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the common causes of noises in window ACs and the best DIY soundproofing solutions.
Why Is Your Window AC Making Noise
A well-functioning window AC will produce a steady humming sound. If this is the case, the noise should be barely noticeable. Most people get used to the sound, and it doesn’t interfere with their peace of mind.
However, if you notice that your AC is louder than usual and it’s becoming hard to ignore the noises, something may be wrong with your unit. If there’s a problem with your window AC, you’ll hear screeching, rattling, clicking, vibration, or popping sounds.
Before you decide to try DIY solutions to soundproof your AC, it’s crucial to troubleshoot the problem. This way, you’ll know what to do to fix the problem once and for all.
The following are some of the common causes of window AC noises.
The Screeching Sound in Window ACs
The compressor is one of the essential parts of any air conditioner. For this reason, it requires regular maintenance to ensure it’s functioning correctly. This way, you’ll be able to catch severe problems in time.
Without regular maintenance, one of the issues you may face is a high-pressure build-up in the compressor. When this happens, you’ll hear a loud screeching noise every time you turn on the AC. Pressure build-up inside an AC is quite dangerous. Make sure you turn off the AC as soon as you hear the screeching sounds and contact a professional. (Source: American Home Shield)
The Rattling and Vibration Sounds in Window AC
Rattling and vibration sounds are quite standard with window air conditioners. The source of these noises is mostly the compressor, which is the loudest part of an AC. The sounds may also be coming from malfunctioning fan blades.
If the issue is your fan blades, the solution is to replace them, and the noise will be a thing of the past. However, replacing an AC compressor is not that simple. It’s quite expensive, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get a compressor that is pin-drop silent.
If you can’t afford to replace the compressor with a quieter one, you have one option. You can soundproof the AC using different DIY solutions (more on this later).
Your window AC may also produce vibration sounds if it’s not mounted correctly. In addition to this, the sound may be coming from the continuous contact between your AC and the surface you have it on. (Source: Lancaster Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, and Electrical)
Clicking Window AC Noises
Another sound you may hear from your window AC is a clicking sound. This noise usually stems from an electrical issue or the fan blades hitting on something. It’s best to have a professional troubleshoot this noise because it may require disassembling some of the parts to identify the cause of the noise. Not to mention, you can’t pinpoint the cause of the noise unless it’s coming from a visible part of the AC.
Popping Window AC Noises
The popping sound in an air conditioner is probably one of the most challenging noises to troubleshoot. This is because different things can cause your window AC to produce these noises, such as:
- The fan blades hitting on something inside the window AC
- The compressor sucking in the liquid refrigerant
- An external obstruction
- An electrical malfunction such as loose wires
Since several things can cause the AC to produce popping sounds, it’s best to contact a professional to troubleshoot your AC when you hear these noises. (Source: Dynamic Air Services)
The Grueling AC Noise
The other noise you may hear emanating from your window AC is a loud grueling noise. Like the popping sound, several issues may cause your AC to produce this noise. However, the most common cause of a grueling noise in a window AC is a liquid refrigerant leak.
How to Soundproof Window ACs: DIY Solutions
Once you’re aware of the common causes of a noisy window AC and you’ve gone through proper troubleshooting to identify the problem, you’re in a better position to choose a DIY solution that works. Below are some of the ways to soundproof a noisy window AC:
Invest In An Air Conditioner Compressor Soundproof Blanket
If you’re sure that the compressor is causing the noise, an air conditioner compressor soundproof blanket will help you reduce the noises significantly. The blankets are mostly made of rubber material that’s often used for blocking sounds in the interior parts of cars.
The best part is that you can easily install it by yourself because the blankets have a universal design and work on every type of window AC. If you’re worried that the blanket will make your window AC overheat, you shouldn’t. AC units cool themselves internally. Therefore, the blanket won’t affect how it works.
One of the best compressor blankets you can buy is the Brinmar Universal-Fit Air Conditioner Compressor Sound Blanket Wrap. This blanket is not only designed to fit the largest air compressors but also works on multiple AC models. According to the manufacturer, it can reduce noises up to 40%.[Related Article: How To Soundproof A Room With Acoustic Blankets]
Use a Quiet Fence
In some cases, you’ll find that your neighbors are more affected by the noise coming from your window AC than you are. This happens because window ACs are mounted on the outer part of the window. Therefore, while you may be getting some noise, it may not be as much as what others can hear from the outside.
You can maintain peace with your neighbors by investing in a quiet fence. This is a fence-like object that you can place behind the AC to block the noise. However, when you’re installing it, make sure you don’t place it too close to the AC or lean it against the appliance because it may affect proper airflow. It also helps to mount it into the ground for proper support.
However, if you decide to go this route, you should know that acoustic sound barriers can be quite expensive. But if you can afford it, it’s an effective way to reduce window AC noise.
Repair or Replace Malfunctioning Parts
One of the best ways to guarantee less noise from your window AC is regular maintenance. With proper maintenance, you’re able to catch problems before they become serious, and you can deal with issues like dust and debris accumulation in time to avoid build-up that may cause further damage.
However, if you have malfunctioning parts, the only solution is to replace them. Malfunctioning compressors or fan blades will only get worse. And there’s a high chance your AC will get damaged if you don’t address the problem soon. Therefore, make sure you get professional help to fix any malfunctioning parts in your AC.
Get Rid of Dripping Noises with a Hose and Bottle
Dripping sounds are also typical in air conditioners. The AC functions by getting humidity from the air and eliminating it. When the air conditioner takes the water from your environment, it needs a way to dispose of it. Most ACs dispose of the condensation onto a dripping pan, which results in the dripping noises you hear.
Therefore, you shouldn’t be alarmed when you hear dripping noises in your AC because it’s normal. However, if you’re hearing running water flowing or splashing sounds, something is wrong, and you should call a professional. [Source]
Dripping sounds are, however, easy to fix. All you need is a hose and a bottle. Attach one end of the hose to the AC and secure it in place and place the other end into a bottle. With this setup, the water will drip into the bottle, thereby reducing the dripping noises caused by the water hitting on the pan.
Once you’ve set everything up, make sure you check the bottle often so that you know when you need to empty it. It’s best to use a large bottle so that you don’t have to empty it often.
Change the Surface Your Air Conditioner Is Standing On
In some cases, the solution may be something as simple as changing the surface you’ve placed your window AC on. As we mentioned, if your window AC is not mounted correctly, it may cause vibrations when it keeps hitting on the surface during operation.
Fortunately, there’s an easy fix for this. Start by ensuring the mount is secure and that there are no unnecessary movements that can cause vibrations. If you’ve not mounted the AC but placed it on a surface, make sure the surface your AC is on is even to prevent vibrations. To reduce the vibrations even further, place the AC on a foam surface.
The foam will absorb the vibrations and reduce the noise you hear when the appliance is in operation. Alternatively, you can get customized window inserts to fit in the spaces between your AC and the window frame.
Most window inserts are made of acrylic, which does a better job of blocking noise than glass. Besides, the inserts are surrounded by tubing, which blocks the noise even further. [Source]
Block the Noise Using a Fence
Installing a fence is an excellent alternative to purchasing a quiet fence. However, it is more expensive and takes more time. Nevertheless, it works wonders for reducing window AC noises.
A fence is an excellent way to reduce noise both inside your house as well as for the neighbors because the sounds bounce off the surface of the fence. For the best results, you should use either bamboo or vinyl materials to construct the fence.
When you’re putting it up, ensure you leave enough space between the fence and the AC to avoid blocking airflow. It’s also important to mention that this method may not work if you have your AC between only two walls. In such a setup, the sound would only be magnified and bounce off the walls.
Therefore, if this is the kind of setup you’re working with, it may be best to consider other tips for soundproofing a window AC on this list.
Use Custom-Measured Inserts on Your Windows
Most custom-measured window inserts do an excellent job of reducing vibrations. And they’re not only good for soundproofing. Window inserts are also beneficial because they protect against dirt and debris, and they’re energy-efficient. And when it comes to soundproofing, they’re said to reduce noise up to 50%. [Source]
However, you should know that the cost of window inserts varies. The cost will depend on:
- The brand
- Size and number of windows you need inserts for
- The quality and type of material used
- Style of the window
To get custom-measured inserts for your windows, here’s what you need to do:
- Get in touch with a reputable window insert manufacturer.
- Find out about costs and the effectiveness of their inserts.
- Give them your window details. Sometimes, the manufacturer may need to take the measurements themselves.
- Once they have all the details they need, they’ll create your inserts, and a professional will install the inserts for you.
Consider Moving the Air Conditioner
If you’ve tried all the tips mentioned above and nothing seems to work, it may be time to consider moving your window AC to a different location in your house. When doing so, make sure you choose a window that will not interfere with air circulation in other rooms.
The further away you place your window AC, the less noise you’ll hear. However, certain positions may cause different problems. For instance, placing the AC in a corner may result in echo sounds.
Therefore, since it can be challenging to choose the best spot, it’s best to try placing the AC in different places and analyzing its performance and noise until you find the right spot. Be warned: this isn’t the most effective way to soundproof your AC because the noise will still be present, only a bit softer.
When To Replace Your Window AC
If none of the above DIY tips works, including moving your AC and you’re convinced that the issue is a damaged compressor, it’s best to invest in a new window AC. This is because replacing a window AC compressor is quite expensive. Most people find it better to invest in a new one rather than replace a compressor in an old AC.
You will know it’s time to get a new window AC if: [Source]
- There’s limited airflow, or the AC isn’t producing cool air
- There’s increased moisture emission in the unit
- The sound won’t subside despite using all the above DIY measures
- Your energy bill is going higher and higher due to your AC
- There’s a foul smell coming out of the unit
If you decide to buy a new AC, make sure you analyze the features. Some ACs are quieter than others. So, make sure you do your research and identify the best. You can also employ professional mounting services to ensure there are no mounting issues that may lead to vibration noises.
It may also be a good idea to consider window inserts during the installation process and to choose a sound-absorbing platform to ensure you eliminate any causes of noise from the beginning.
The following window ACs would be worth the investment:
- MIDEA MAW12R1BWT Window Air Conditioner
- TOSOT 10,000 BTU Window Air Conditioner
- hOmeLabs 5000 BTU Window-Mounted Air Conditioner
- TCL 5,000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Air Conditioner
- MIDEA MAW12R1BWT Window Air Conditioner
As you can see, many factors can lead to noisy window AC. The first step towards soundproofing your window AC should be identifying the root cause of the noise. If you’re not sure how to troubleshoot an AC, work with a professional to identify the problem.
Afterward, you can use these tips on how to soundproof a window AC to get rid of the noise. Don’t forget to regularly service and apply proper maintenance practices to ensure your window air conditioner is functioning correctly. Doing so will extend your machine’s life.