Air conditioning noise levels and regulations

Let’s face it, air conditioning can be something of a godsend in those hot summer months. But, a word of caution is due. Some air conditioning units can be particularly noisy. And to deal with that there are regulations in place to ensure that only acceptable noise levels are ever heard.

Noise level regulations for air conditioning systems

Different councils often have different regulations regarding noise levels, so the first thing that you have to do is to check your local council’s website for the information, or if the information is not to hand, give them a call.

You may also need to check first whether planning permission is required to have the air conditioning installed.

Understanding different noise levels

Noise levels are measured in decibels, the more decibels, the louder the noise. Total silence is 0 decibels, a whisper is 15 decibels, and a regular conversation takes place at 60 decibels.

So, this means that you will need the air conditioning system to run at well under 60 decibels, and preferably as close to 15 decibels or if possible quieter still.


But you should consider more than just the area where the air is being conditioned. You must also consider the position of the outdoor compressor unit, as this can often be quite noisy.

Because not only do you need to consider the noise levels inside your particular building, but you also need to think about neighbouring facilities, whether it be a business or a residence.

You also need to think about the location of the condenser unit, which is situated within the property. This is the noisiest part of the system and can run to up to 45 decibels.

These would do well to be concealed in a cabinet, boiler room, or some other utility space out of the way, in order to buffer the sound.

Or you can also consider soundproofing the condenser with extra insulation.

Inverter Systems

One way to ensure that your air conditioning system sufficiently meets the noise level regulations is to invest in an inverter system. These are designed to run at a far lower noise level than a traditional air conditioning system. In fact, you can get some that run as low as 19 decibels, which is little more than a whisper.

With such a system in place, you need not worry at all about disturbing either colleagues or neighbours. And better yet, inverter air conditioning systems use less power, so you can save on your utility bills at the same time.

Wrap up

So, before you go ahead and get your air conditioning system installed, always be sure to check the noise level regulations set by your particular local authority.

Then, once you have established what your maximum noise level allowance is, you can start shopping around.

And as you do shop around, you would do well to pay particular attention to inverter air conditioning systems, as these tend to be amongst the quietest around, and cheaper to run to boot.

Author: Gareth Whalley
Sharing my vast knowledge in the Air Conditioning and Mechanical services field especially in HVAC installation, service and maintenance across a broad range of sectors, including Healthcare, Education, Transport, Banking, Retail and Commercial developments.