For those that are sensitive to noises, even newer and quieter air conditioning systems can be problematic. Fortunately, there are several different methods you can utilize to help dampen the noise and enjoy a quiet home inside and out. The following tips can help.
Tip #1: Read reviews
The amount of noise air conditioners make varies greatly between different models and manufacturers, which is why it is important to read reviews of the models you are looking at. You should also be very upfront with your installation tech so they know you are looking for the quietest unit possible. Some manufacturers even list "quiet" or "low-noise" as one of the benefits of their models, which can be helpful as you sift through your options.
Tip #2: Install a vibration pad
A vibration pad dampens the vibration and thus the sounds that come from the AC. These can be installed over the concrete AC pad next to your home. There are also special vibration mounts available for rooftop installations. The pad style is a layer of rubber encased between concrete boards. The rubber absorbs the vibrations. Mounts for roof top installation resemble large rubber pads or washers, which are placed under each corner of the unit.
Tip #3: Get a sound isolation blanket
Much of the sound from an AC comes from the compressor. You can muffle the noise with the help of an isolation blanket. This insulated blanket fits around the compressor, and it can be installed by your AC installation technician. Some manufacturers do provide a custom fit blanket for their compressors, but there are universal styles available that will fit any AC unit. The housing must be removed from your AC unit to install the blanket, and you also want to make sure it doesn't interfere with the movement of the fan motor.
Tip #4: Build a fence
Even the quietest of AC units will likely produce a slight hum when it is running. You may only be able to hear it outside, but if it's bothering you when you are on your patio, there are options. Try erecting a barrier fence around the AC unit. Leave enough clearance so you can still easily access the unit and so the air flow isn't blocked. Wood and vinyl can block minor sounds, but these may not be enough if you are especially sensitive. In this case, consider insulated wood panels, since these can absorb sound better.
For more help, talk to an AC installation professional in your area for more options and additional reading.