According to health experts, continuous noise can affect our stress levels and life quality. Sounds in the 50-90 decibel range like street noise, an in-operation air conditioner, and the sound of the dishwasher in use are considered harmful, so you can understand how damaging to the eardrum anything above 90 decibels is (i.e., train, thunder, motorcycles, etc.).
The National Institute of Health warns that exposure to excessive noise levels is associated with elevated heart rate, stomach issues, increased blood pressure, improved stress levels, negative impact on child growth, and many more. So the lower the decibels around you, the better it will be for you and your loved ones. With portable air conditioners being one of the noisiest appliances in the house, it only makes sense that so many homeowners are looking for the quietest options. But are there any quiet portable air conditioners? Let’s find out.
What affects the normal decibel levels of an air conditioner?
Nowadays, the decibel levels of most portable air conditioners range between 40dB and 60dB. The speed at which you are operating the portable AC unit as well as its precise location play a role in how loud it is. If there’s any noise absorption or soundproofing in the area where your portable air conditioner is placed, it will also help reduce its normal decibel levels. Also keep in mind that noise levels can depend on the size of the room in which the portable AC unit will go.
How to determine the portable AC unit’s noise levels?
To have a clear idea of how loud a portable air conditioner is, look at the manufacturer’s noise rating. Unfortunately, figuring out which models are the loudest is a bit challenging because not all manufacturers release dB levels claiming that hearing levels tend to be subjective. However, some manufacturers arm their portable AC models with features such as multiple speeds and a sleep mode to minimize sound. You may even find AC units that prevent them from running continuously (i.e., with a programmable timer function).
If you want to evaluate different portable air conditioners, do not let their price cloud your judgment. The price does not dictate the produced max number of decibels. The same applies to the number of BTUs. In fact, you can find affordable portable AC units in the current market with lower decibel ratings than more expensive models. An indication that may telltale a noisy portable air conditioner is the absence of multiple speeds. Units that run at high speed rates all the time are usually the loudest.
When a Portable AC Unit gets Noisy & What to Do About it
Quiet portable air conditioners usually become quite noisy due to maintenance issues such as problems with a locked compressor, less than needed electrical voltage, a contactor relay, a loose part, or a bad start-run capacitor. In such cases, it’s paramount to spot the noise source. Is it coming from the compressor? Air handler? Fan? Heat pump?
A trick to help reduce the noise levels of a portable AC unit is to soundproof the area in which it is placed. You can achieve that by carpeting the room, using wall hangings, and ensuring all fastening, nuts and bolts, and screws are tight. Wrapping the portable air conditioner in high R-value insulation may also work just fine.