Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

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rgs92
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Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by rgs92 »

Are there central air conditioners that are quiet? There are 3 bedrooms that face the back of the house (main and second floor ones) and you can hear the outside A/C units (condenser and fan) right through the closed windows.
They are big Carrier units, about 5-10 years old.

Also, would new Pella or Anderson or Marvin windows help? If so, what kind.

These A/C units sound like they have underlying mechanical buzz-like sounds. The HVAC people says they are all perfectly normal.

Thank you for any help.
jebmke
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by jebmke »

We replaced a lot of windows in the last few years and that cut down on sound from our outside unit (vintage 2013 Bryant) quite a bit. I have to be close to that wall to hear it start up. The only time I notice it is when it is going through a defrost cycle in winter (heat pump) when it sound a bit like a moose.
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runner3081
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by runner3081 »

Our Trane unit, 5-years old, is not loud and can not be heard inside with really old windows.
Normchad
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by Normchad »

A lot of them are much quieter now. My new units are significantly quieter than the ones they replaced.

But it’s my observation that they get louder with time.

In your shoes, I’d look to upgrade the windows to mitigate the noise.
livesoft
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by livesoft »

Sorry, no. Moving air makes noise. Trains, cars, wind through the trees all make noise.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by ResearchMed »

If necessary, could you build some sort of sound shielding... an open-top enclosure, or at least with insulated sides on the house sides, to absorb/deflect some of the noise?

There are things like this described for installed generators.

We can definitely hear our generator, but we have a very old house with original mullion windows - meaning, single pane old glass.
But the generator is only on for a weekly ~10 minute self test, other than during an outage. And when the generator is truly needed, that noise is just about our last concern.

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LuckyGuy
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by LuckyGuy »

Agree the newer ones are quieter. We recently bought a Carrier 5 stage unit. Most of the time it is running on its lowest stage and we cannot hear it from our fish pond 5-10 ft away.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by adamthesmythe »

I am sure you can find the noise specifications for different outdoor units.

Double-paned windows will help if you don't have them yet. Triple-paned will be even better. The brand is not as important as the construction. Installation will also matter.
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tooluser
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by tooluser »

Normchad wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 5:44 pm A lot of them are much quieter now. My new units are significantly quieter than the ones they replaced.

But it’s my observation that they get louder with time.

In your shoes, I’d look to upgrade the windows to mitigate the noise.
All of the above.

I bought a more upscale, lower-noise unit in 2011 that has had pretty large start-up noise ever since the first year. Not bad once it gets running, but not as quiet as it was initially. Also a little noisier at shutdown, but not nearly as bad as startup.

Suburb in Los Angeles: My neighbor's cheap unit was installed the year before I got mine, and was very loud at start-up and any time it was on. A huge whining noise. When it turned on it would dim the lights in my house! It's been replaced this year with a new unit that is much quieter. (Also: The cheap unit only lasted about 11 years.)

The sound-level search terms the OP is looking for are "sones" or "dBs". It's definitely a factor.

I found that buying up a bit has been very beneficial in the long run. My unit does not use the old Freon, and it was very quiet initially and remains fairly quiet. I had a tech in a couple of times in 10 years to look at it just in case. Other than cleaning, nothing really to do. I had a fuse blow last year on the hottest day of the year - keep a couple of spares on hand.
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JonnyDVM
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by JonnyDVM »

We just got a new American Standard. Very quiet compared the neighbors and our old unit.
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celia
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by celia »

We bought Lennox units about 5-7 years ago mainly because it was rated as the quietest. The units are against the house in the back yard. I don’t think they are quiet at all, but then I’ve never found one quieter than ours. I have sensitive hearing and hear sounds that others can’t such as the drip system turning on outside or someone opening the fridge when I’m upstairs, or a drip in the kitchen (that we couldn’t find under the sink, and never thought to crawl under the house until it became a ‘lake’.)
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Dude2
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by Dude2 »

I'm in FL, and a relatively recent invention that we are all slowly coming around to are impact (hurricane) windows. Allegedly these have a 10 dB reduction in noise.
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Mr. Rumples
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by Mr. Rumples »

Some jurisdictions are starting to regulate the noise; hence its a selling point. This link might help:

https://www.pickhvac.com/central-air-co ... /quietest/
phositadc
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by phositadc »

Look at Trane XV18, XV20 -- inverter based units.

If heat pump is an option, look at Fujitsu's latest: https://www.fujitsu-general.com/us/prod ... 6lmas.html

No joke -- the above listed outdoor units are whisper quiet. If they are operating at their lower capacities you can be standing 5 feet away from them and not know they are on unless you look to see if the fan blade is spinning. Even at max capacity they are extremely quiet.

Edit: Be prepared to pay $$ if you want one of these though.
chw
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by chw »

Installed an American Standard variable speed unit 3 years ago. Not totally quiet, but when operating at low speed (which is most of the time) the noise is virtually undetectable.
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FrankLUSMC
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by FrankLUSMC »

Get a variable speed compressor and variable speed air handler from a well known company. Most of the time they are on the lowest speed and will be very quiet.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

adamthesmythe wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 6:26 pm Double-paned windows will help if you don't have them yet. Triple-paned will be even better. The brand is not as important as the construction. Installation will also matter.
Triple paned will also insulate much better, so less need for AC. Variable speed plus triple pane; BINGO!
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mb2016
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by mb2016 »

I also had this issue and resolved it by paying an HVAC contractor to relocate the condenser units about 25 feet further away from my bedroom window.
andypanda
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Re: Are there quiet central air conditioners (the outside unit)?

Post by andypanda »

We bought a Lennox XP-20 variable speed unit a couple of years ago, and it is quiet. However, when reading the advertising fine print the dB numbers they brag about are for the smaller outdoor units - the 2- and 3-ton. Ours is a 4 and is a little louder, but nothing like the 14-year-old one-speed 3.5-ton American Standard we got rid of even though it was still working. It sounded like a small jet taking off and CLANGED once when shutting down.
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