Soundproofing my Air Handler... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 04-20-2012, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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So after totally revamping my HT, I have to now focus my attention on quieting (IF POSSIBLE) my air handler. Unfortunately, my air handler is inside my house and adjecent to my living room and I just put in a new AC unit which is much larger than my old one and while it is far more efficient, its not quiet. The handler is enclosed by a standard louver door and air handler intake is from the bottom. I was thinking of buying THIS and then using spray tack to adhere it to the inside of the louver door except for the bottom 18 inches or so.

Is this a bad idea? Or is there something else I could do to eliminate the excessive sound?
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post #2 of 23 Old 04-20-2012, 01:19 PM
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Is the air handler in its own room? If so just insulate the whole room and sheet rock it. I wouldn't recommend putting anything on the air handler itself, especially if it's brand new.

"Sometimes you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right"
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post #3 of 23 Old 04-20-2012, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbare View Post

Is the air handler in its own room? If so just insulate the whole room and sheet rock it. I wouldn't recommend putting anything on the air handler itself, especially if it's brand new.

no, its in my hallway. I wasnt planning on putting anything on the handler itself, just the inside of the louver door.
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post #4 of 23 Old 04-20-2012, 01:41 PM
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The foam probably won't do much in the way of stopping the sound and blocking airflow probably violates code. If you can get enough ventilation by running ducting to the attic or elsewhere, then going to a solid door should help (a solid-core exterior door with weather sealing and transom). If you are getting sound through the walls bigbare's suggestion will help. If sound is traveling through the HVAC ducts it will be tough to control (my media room is isolated from the house HVAC to help reduce noise).

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #5 of 23 Old 04-20-2012, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok guys, thanks for the info.
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post #6 of 23 Old 04-20-2012, 02:07 PM
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Wasn't fully sure which door you were talking about, but no you can't block the door unless you put a return duct in. You will create problems with the air flow in your home and could cut the units life short.

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post #7 of 23 Old 04-20-2012, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I added some pics:

Here is the handler itself:



Here is the intake of the handler. Its underneath the handler itself and there is about 15 inches of clearance here:



Here is the door:



My thought process was to place the foam on the inside of the louver, from about 2 feet off the floor to the top. Am I wasting my time? The foam and spray tack wouldnt cost me more than about 25 bucks.
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post #8 of 23 Old 04-20-2012, 03:16 PM
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I dare say to fix the problem will take more than some foam on the doors. It almost looks like the unit is starving for air. What kind of noise are you getting from it. With out knowing the size of the unit it seems like a 15" opening at the bottom isn't big enough. Maybe in an open room you'd be ok but not stuffed in a closet like that.

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post #9 of 23 Old 04-20-2012, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Its a 4 ton unit. And thats the only place its ever been.
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post #10 of 23 Old 04-20-2012, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratm View Post

So after totally revamping my HT, I have to now focus my attention on quieting (IF POSSIBLE) my air handler. Unfortunately, my air handler is inside my house and adjecent to my living room and I just put in a new AC unit which is much larger than my old one and while it is far more efficient, its not quiet. The handler is enclosed by a standard louver door and air handler intake is from the bottom. I was thinking of buying THIS and then using spray tack to adhere it to the inside of the louver door except for the bottom 18 inches or so.

Is this a bad idea? Or is there something else I could do to eliminate the excessive sound?

Is this an electric furnace/split system with a heat pump? I have the same type of install. The main air return used to be through the louver door and under the unit, like yours. I sealed that location off and cut and installed a new filter in the adjacent wall leading to a hallway. Now with that done, I can build some sort of insulated cover to seal the furnace off (at the louver door location), but I'm still going to be getting noise through the new filter location, which leads up to the coils and the motor. Whatever you do, check with your HVAC guy first.
My HVAC guy told me that I could insulate all around my electric unit, and that there wouldn't be a heat/ventilation issue.

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post #11 of 23 Old 04-20-2012, 08:39 PM
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Is it the noise of the handler itself you hear...fan noise,etc....or could it be vibration from the unit resonating through the walls from the steel stud platform attached to them? Bet you if you put your ear to the wall when its on
its very loud. Maybe some rubber isolation pads under the unit itself might help decouple it from the platform.
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post #12 of 23 Old 04-20-2012, 11:20 PM
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Can you get a vent to the outside, or above (attic) or below (basement/crawlspace)? If so you could provide a high/low or whatever code requires for ventilation and replace the door. Otherwsie you cannot block it, and foam panels would not help much anyway.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #13 of 23 Old 04-21-2012, 03:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratm View Post

no, its in my hallway. I wasnt planning on putting anything on the handler itself, just the inside of the louver door.

The vent in the door transmits so much noise that anything else you do is probably going to have minimal benefits.

The advice about drywalling the HVAC room on the inside isn't bad, but you're probably going to have to remove the HVAC unit to do it. If you do that, then it is probably worthwhile to get serious and isolate the inside walls of the room from its outside via offset studs or the like. And then you are still stuck with the door.

The simple opening in a hollow door has to go. Replace the door with an exterior grade door with weatherstripping.

To reduce the transmission of noise via air passage, consider standard approaches including creating a more labyrinthine passage.

There are standard references that contain current wisdom on how to accomplish your goals. I seem to recall that F. Alton Everest's acoustics book has information about this. Search the web!
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post #14 of 23 Old 04-21-2012, 10:21 PM
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^ True. My copy of F. Alton Everst's The Master Handbook of Acoustics (2nd ed, 1989) has a chapter on "Quiet Air" that addresses various issues like your HVAC system. I have always liked this quote from the book (p239): "So, step one is to locate the equipment as far removed from the sound-sensitive areas as possible -- the next county if it can be arranged."

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #15 of 23 Old 04-23-2012, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratm View Post

I was thinking of buying THIS and then using spray tack to adhere it to the inside of the louver door except for the bottom 18 inches or so.

Is this a bad idea? Or is there something else I could do to eliminate the excessive sound?

Side note: The term soundproofing is used loosely in some circles. If the manufacturer of this foam says it will 'soundproof', what they mean is it will decrease reverberant noise inside of your air handler closet. It will not keep your air handler noise from traveling outside of the closet. Foam performs sound absorption, not sound blocking.
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post #16 of 23 Old 04-23-2012, 06:34 PM
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Is this some kind of studio apartment? If I understand building code correctly, intake should be from every room, where AC sends air. So you must have intake ducts the same way you have air supply ducts. But this is not a case here. If you want to isolate air handler, you need to install intake ducts under the floor. After that you can try to make AC closet air tight, and mass load walls and door to reduce sound propagation.
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post #17 of 23 Old 04-23-2012, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

Is this some kind of studio apartment? If I understand building code correctly, intake should be from every room, where AC sends air. So you must have intake ducts the same way you have air supply ducts. But this is not a case here. If you want to isolate air handler, you need to install intake ducts under the floor. After that you can try to make AC closet air tight, and mass load walls and door to reduce sound propagation.

One main air return is all that is needed for the average size home. You don't need intake ducts in every room.

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post #18 of 23 Old 04-23-2012, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Espo77 View Post

One main air return is all that is needed for the average size home. You don't need intake ducts in every room.

It could be your personal opinion, but is not what building code says. And it makes sense. Air conditioning system shouldn't create excessive pressure in any room and provide circulation, even if all doors are closed.
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post #19 of 23 Old 04-24-2012, 10:51 AM
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It's actually very common for a condo or app to have only one main ducted return or as on this case using the closet itself as a plenum. Even houses only have a main return on each floor located in a main area.

If you have in increased the size of the handler you will need more free area for return. Is it noisy when you open the louvered door? As well insuring the filter is always clean will help keep noise down. The idea of vibration isolators is a good one.
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post #20 of 23 Old 10-28-2013, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratm View Post

So after totally revamping my HT, I have to now focus my attention on quieting (IF POSSIBLE) my air handler. Unfortunately, my air handler is inside my house and adjecent to my living room and I just put in a new AC unit which is much larger than my old one and while it is far more efficient, its not quiet. The handler is enclosed by a standard louver door and air handler intake is from the bottom. I was thinking of buying THIS and then using spray tack to adhere it to the inside of the louver door except for the bottom 18 inches or so.


Is this a bad idea? Or is there something else I could do to eliminate the excessive sound?
Did you resolve this issue? I have the same problem although I have plenty of intake on a back wallin another room where noise is not an issue
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post #21 of 23 Old 10-28-2013, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Not really. It's just too close to my living room.
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post #22 of 23 Old 03-14-2014, 10:02 AM
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So what happened?  Did you get it quieted down, replace the unit or what?

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post #23 of 23 Old 03-14-2014, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I just learned to live with it. Cutting my electric bill in 1/2 was/is a big help in not worrying about it.
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