Do Heat Pumps Make Noise?
A very common question these days, and one that is fortunately very easy to answer. Before diving into the detail and comparing heat pump noise levels, banging on about decibels and noise abatement, let’s just remind ourselves of a simple fact…
Pretty much all household appliances make some sort of noise!
There, I said it. And it’s true.
When was the last time you used a silent kettle, or a quiet vacuum cleaner? Even a traditional combination boiler will belt out over 40 decibels, so it could be argued that when we ask about air source heat pump noise, we’re asking the wrong question.
Even your beloved spouse/significant other lying next to you sleeping will make some noise. Simply breathing produces around 10 decibels, which we are normally quite happy to put up with – and if that bothers you then I would say that heat pump noise is the least of your problems!
OK, now I’ve got that little reality check out of the way, let’s answer the question directly…
The Short Answer Is…
Wait for it…
Yes and no!
Sorry about that, I hate it when I ask a question and someone tells me that “It depends”, but that is the reality. It’s a reality with so many things in life, but it is especially true with heat pumps.
You see, you’ll always hear the story about the person who had a heat pump installed outside their bedroom window and how it kept them awake all night, causing them to sleep in late, which made them ultimately lose their job. Then their wife left them, and they finally ended up on the street, penniless and colder than ever.
But there will always be extreme examples if you look hard enough. The reality is that a typical heat pump is no louder than a standard combi boiler. The problems that can arise are usually related to poor siting or poor installation of the heat pump. That is why it is so important to find a good, reputable and professional installer to make sure you get system that runs quietly and causes no disruption to anybody’s sleeping pattern.
Heat Pump Noise Can Be Mitigated
Sir Thomas Beecham once remarked that, “Brass bands are all very well in their place – outdoors and several miles away”! Whilst such distance is not required for a heat pump installation, you would be wise to consider the location of your installation carefully. Air source heat pump noise right outside your bedroom window might be a problem. Twenty air source heat pumps’ noise located the other side of a thick, soundproof wall might not.
If you find yourself already stuck with a noisy heat pump, there are way that you can reduce or eliminate the nuisance.
For example, you could build an enclosure around the unit and clad it with noise-reducing acoustic panels, which can be obtained relatively cheaply.
Another option would be to get an HVAC engineer to come out and take a look at your heat pump to see whether there is a fault that could be giving rise to excessive noise levels. Sometimes a straightforward service can help – it will certainly help your unit stay efficient and help to prevent costly repairs later on.
How About Avoiding Heat Pump Noise In the First Place?
This is certainly possible. The different brands of heat pump have different noise characteristics, with some being much quieter than others.
One of the best manufacturers in terms of keeping their products quiet is Mitsubishi Electric and their Ecodan range of air source heat pumps. This brand takes noise mitigation very seriously and has even won awards for their quiet heat pumps.
If you go for their 8.5kW unit, you get the added bonus of supporting Scotland’s economy because it’s made down the road in Livingston, West Lothian.
- Any sort of household appliance will make some amount of noise, but an air source heat pump is no louder than a “normal” appliance of a similar sort, such as an oil-fired combi boiler.
- Think about the location of your heat pump carefully. Where it is located can have profound implications for any noise nuisance it might cause.
- Get your heat pump professionally fitted by a reputable company to avoid any issues caused by faulty or badly installed units.
- If you find you are stuck with an existing noisy heat pump, there are ways that you can mitigate the problem so don’t despair.
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