Every electrical system or appliance in the house makes some sound while it is in use and HVAC systems are no exception. They include numerous moving parts and the vibrations caused when the system is running or switching On and OFF create noise. While industrial HVAC systems are quite loud and residential systems comparatively less, they can still prove to be a nuisance if the sound disturbs family members or wakes you up at night.
If you want to have an HVAC system that keeps your indoor temperature comfortable and does not hamper the peace and quiet in your Bay Area house, you need to invest in systems that are not very loud.
When you are purchasing a new HVAC system and looking for features like energy efficiency and affordability, take the sound level into consideration as well.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing a quiet HVAC system.
1. Check the Decibel Rating
Just like energy efficiency ratings (SEER for instance), every HVAC system has a decibel rating (dB) that denotes the intensity of its sound. Higher the decibel rating, louder is the system. Lower the decibel rating, quieter the system will be.So, if you are looking for a quiet HVAC system, you must check and compare the decibel rating of different HVAC brands and products.
2. Decibel Rating in General Terms
You may not have any idea how much noise 50dB or 80dB is, when you read it in the system features. So here is a general frame of reference (by Purdue University) to help you understand noise levels and to gauge the sound level that you will be comfortable with.
- A normal conversation at home is about 50dB.
- Restaurant conversations are around 60dB.
- 70dB is considered “annoyingly loud”. The sound of a vacuum cleaner, for example.
- A garbage disposal would be around 80dB.
An HVAC system that has a rating of about 60db or less is generally preferred for homes. The quietest HVAC systems are those that have a decibel rating between 50-60Db.
3. Sound Reducing Features
Generally, the starting and stopping of the system fan is a noise that some may find quite loud. Also, in summers, the HVAC system is running constantly to keep indoor temperature to the desired comfort level and hence runs at its highest decibel level.
But apart from low decibel level ratings, you can also look for these other features that help lower the sound your system makes.
a. Variable speed fans
When it is not very hot, your system fans do not need to run at full speed. If they run at a low speed, sound will automatically reduce.
b. Noise reducing fan blades
Certain systems have noise reducing fan blades that are designed keeping aerodynamics in mind, so that they create less noise even as they rotate.
c. Compressor insulation mounts
These mounts reduce noise by using vibration damping material. They also provide optimum levelling and alignment so that the compressor sound is reduced as much as possible.