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Fence to stop air conditioner noise from neighbour?

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  1. #1
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    Default Fence to stop air conditioner noise from neighbour?

    Hello,
    In his wisdom, my new neighbour has installed a giant 7kW Mistsubishi Industrial Electric aircon unit facing our side.
    That thing is very noisy, despite the fact that they say it is for residential pplication.
    We will not be able to have windows open or sit on our beloved deck while that thing is operational. It is horrible!

    There is currently an old timber fence on the border with some missing battens and gaps.

    This will be replaced but I would really like to replace it with the best solution so I will no longer hear that aircon.

    The current suggestion is just colorbond but will that fix this problem? I always thought colorbond is a giant tin can that does not stop any noise.

    What are my options?

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    Best regards
    berntd

  2. #2
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    My mum has a large Mitsubishi outdoor unit and when it's running it sounds like a noisy dump truck idling just outside the room - in fact the first time I heard it I could not understand how a truck could be so close to her house until I went outside to see what the noise was! Although Mitsubishi markets into domestic applications, their stuff is better suited to commercial and industrial applications where noise pollution isn't such an issue.

    Sound doesn't just travel straight through the fence; there are many flanking paths over the top of the wall from reflections from the neighbour's wall and eaves above the fence, etc, plus at the top of the fence sound diffracts (bends) over the top. A solid heavy barrier like a brick wall will work best and make sure there are no gaps, e.g. at the bottom. The higher and longer the wall or barrier, the better. Have a look at the walls in front of houses on main roads which have been widened and owners offered noise protection.

    I've recently returned from Japan where all of the outdoor units are virtually silent, even though they are the same brands eg Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Fujitsu, etc, so it must be something to do with a lack of performance standards in Australia. Noisey units are cheaper to make.
    Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it necessary, it is true, does it improve on the silence? - Baba

  3. #3
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    100%. I was recently on holiday and the aircon at that apartment made basically zero noise. I could see it operating and feel air from the fan but no noise. I am very sad and also stressed that I now have to do battle with my new neighbour about this.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ForeverYoung's Avatar
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    Talk to your council. Mine (WA) got involved once for a neighbours noisy pool pump.
    They came out with equipment to measure the noise and made him build an enclosure to dampen the noise.
    So, maybe some baffling near his air cond plus some new fencing might help resolve?

  5. #5
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    Bit of a nuisance that you have to do something to stop your neighbours air conditioner noise. I see in Brisbane with houses along the rail corridor have high solid timber fences. Noise can be hard to dampen, if it is low frequency it is not to much trouble but high frequency is harder.

  6. #6
    Slow but rough Uncle Bob's Avatar
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    Best to go over, knock with two elbows, and discuss it over a beer. If that doesn't help coz they're crappy people, then talk to the council etc.

  7. #7
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    Been there with a neighbour’s noisy water tank pump and it was solved with a friendly chat and a big polystyrene box. Hope it is this as easy for you to solve but air con needs airflow to function.

    That said, there are specific noise limits in place for pump and air conditioners in NSW at night and during the day. Your neighbour’s air con installer should have advised them about this. You shouldn’t have to change the fence (will likely have minimal impact IME). This is all on your neighbour.

    Definitely talk to council especially if the neighbour proves to be difficult.

  8. #8
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    The good way to reduce noise
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naJPJst-RUE

    The she'll be right way
    https://airc.com.au/reduce-noise-out...r-conditioner/

    Not always possible, but we used to quieten down portable generators with timber panels at 45 against the generator. The noise bounces off the panel and into the ground.
    By the way, the difference with those super quiet units, is simply a noise suppressing canopy.
    Noise suppression is seen as black magic and almost unheard of in Australia.
    Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as not to injure future ones.
    Seneca

  9. #9
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    The best way to deal with noise is not to generate it in the first place. That needs to be done at the design stage by not building sound generators into the design. For example a siren is not that different to a fan and is made by fan blades passing close to an external frame.

    Fan blades in outdoor AC units are noisy when not enough attention is given to the blade shape, blade speed, blade clearances and air paths in and around the unit. For whatever reason, the Japanese AC companies sell noisy outdoor units in Australia that they would not sell in their own market.

    The Daikin sound cover reduces the sound power emitted from the outdoor unit by 1/2, which is equivalent to ≈3.0 decibels. That sounds impressive until you realise that ±3.0dB is considered to be the smallest change in sound level that most people will notice.

    The second link above gives a reasonable explanation of the issues and possible mitigations the OP can take if the neighbour won't help out. None of these methods, or even all of them combined, is likely to solve a problem of the magnitude that comes from the Mitsubishi outdoor unit at my mum's place, and I suspect at the OP's either.
    Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it necessary, it is true, does it improve on the silence? - Baba

  10. #10
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    Talk to your neighbour about the problem and see if the unit has a night mode, if it does this usually makes a lot of difference.
    Never argue with idiots, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitey66 View Post
    Talk to your neighbour about the problem and see if the unit has a night mode, if it does this usually makes a lot of difference.
    My understanding is that it is already in the quietest mode.
    I spoke to him yesterday again.

  12. #12
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    7kW? Sheesh. People are too soft and/or have too much money

  13. #13
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    I replaced an old Mitzy unit that carked it after 20 years for a new one 7.1 kw for the living room and open kitchen adjacent. It's good for up to 60 m2.
    The unit outside is whisper quiet. It points to the Colorbond fence, about 1.5 meters away from it. If I stand in front of it when running I can not hear the compressor, only the fan that has a very low tone,something like ummm and the neighbour has never made a comment about noise.
    Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as not to injure future ones.
    Seneca

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    ... only the fan that has a very low tone,something like ummm and the neighbour has never made a comment about noise.
    I have exactly that noise, the whole time and it is not real soft either. Plus the sound of air blowing. If you can hear that, you neighbour probably can too. All depends where their living are is.

  15. #15
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    If talking to the bloke next door doesn't work one thing that may help is tall clumping bamboo in pots, it seems to be quite good in acting as a noise absorber/diffuser
    "A big boy did it and ran away"

    Legal disclaimer denying responsibility to be inserted here.

  16. #16
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    my neighbour had a huge old outdoor unit..
    it wasn't bolted down and just rattled freely on the concrete.
    I could hear/feel vibrations in my home.
    I was happy when it died.

    Along with other suggestions.. for your deck area, consider attracting birds with plants/water source.. put in a water feature with a lot of splash noise.. a wind chime perhaps.

    you could also look into placing a Mass Loaded Vinyl sheet along the fence.. it's expensive but i think it's the stuff construction sites use to cut down jackhammer noises or whatever. Sound will still go over the fence, but it won't be reflected like with colourbond etc.



    good luck

  17. #17
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cole View Post

    Along with other suggestions.. for your deck area, consider attracting birds with plants/water source.. put in a water feature with a lot of splash noise.. a wind chime perhaps.
    Yes ... another good one is to stick your fingers in your ears and sing la la la la

    Sorry couldn't resist ...
    Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as not to injure future ones.
    Seneca

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