In the UK, our government are actively promoting air source heat pumps as a replacement for outdated and inefficient boiler systems in homes. Air source heat pumps are a greener alternative to air conditioners and boilers. There is a catch though, as they do come with a reputation for being noisy.
What is an air source heat pump?
An air source heat pump looks like a large air conditioning unit. It works by absorbing heat from the outside air and using it to provide heat in a home through radiators, underfloor heating systems and the provision of hot water. Let’s take a quick look at the science:
- Heat from the air is absorbed by the unit into a liquid refrigerant
- This fluid is turned into gas in the process
- Using electricity, the pump compresses the gas, heating it up
- The heat is transferred into a property’s heating system
- As the heat transfers, the gas condenses back into a liquid and the cycle begins again.
Because an air source heat pump extracts heat from the outside air naturally, it is more environmentally friendly than our current traditional heating systems. In fact, in some cases, they are 300% more efficient and produce three units of useful heat for every one unit of electricity used.
How much noise do air source heat pumps make?
Generally, an air source heat pump produces noise levels of 40-60 decibels from a distance of one meter away. This does depend on the system, however. The reason why they are relatively noisy is because of the four main elements – the compressor, AC condenser, expansion valve and evaporator – can all be heard operating when in use. It’s the compressor and the fan, in particular, that may cause noise concerns.
It’s not only the components operating that can be problematic. It is also the vibrations that they produce. The air can produce noise when passing through the heat exchanger, with a variable intensity depending on the pressure. This causes buzzing sounds to be emitted and it’s this constant hum that proves to be the most disturbing to homeowners and neighbours.
How to reduce the noise of an air source heat pump
To reduce air source heat pump noise, you must first consider the best location for your unit. Avoid installing them below bedroom windows – or any windows for that matter – or other places in your home where you wish to rest. You must also place them as far away from your neighbour’s boundaries as possible.
Because an air source pump takes heat from the air, it can be useful to place it in a sunny spot so that the pump won’t have to work as hard. That being said, they can even absorb heat from the air at sub-zero temperatures so it’ll work even if you only have a shady space.
You may also want to consider using an acoustic enclosure. Acoustic enclosures are purpose-built to surround outdoor mechanical equipment. They address airflow requirements, but also dampen sound to comply with noise planning restrictions and noise level requirements. At Environ, our domestic acoustic enclosures are unobtrusive and easy to install. They are also compatible with virtually any make of air source heat pump system available on the market today.
Our acoustic enclosures significantly reduce equipment-generated noise across a wide frequency spectrum. They also feature anti-vibration mountings, combatting that consistent humming sound that may interfere with sleep or day-to-day living.
And you needn’t worry about an acoustic enclosure being an eye-sore. At Environ, we work with you to offer a wide choice of finishes to enhance installation appearance and ensure that your enclosure is aesthetically pleasing.
Want to know more about acoustic enclosures? Please contact us at Environ and let us help you.