Which Central Air Conditioner is the Quietest? A Florida Tech Answers

May 17, 2018

In the market for a new central AC?

If so, you’re probably concerned about noise—especially here in Florida where we run our ACs all the time.

So, how can you tell if an AC is quiet? Look at the decibels (dB) rating.

The lower the decibel rating, the quieter the air conditioner. Most residential central ACs range from 50 dB (the sound of rainfall) to 80 dB (the sound of running a garbage disposal).

Below are some of the quietest air conditioners on the market, from top-brand manufacturers:

In this article, we’ll show you…

  • Where to find an AC’s dB rating
  • Additional noise-reducing features to look for

Need help choosing a quiet AC?

Where to find an AC’s dB rating

As you compare different ACs, you’ll find the decibel rating in promotional materials or the unit’s technical specifications.

Below is an example of where you can find the decibel rating:

The decibel rating for a Lennox air conditioner, found on the “Product Specifications” page. Source: www.lennox.com

A note about decibel ratings...

When manufacturer’s advertise an air conditioner’s decibel rating, it’s important to know 2 things:

  1. Size affects sound: Bigger air conditioners (measured in “tons”) are naturally louder than smaller air conditioners. So if you need a bigger AC for your home, then just know that it will likely be louder than what’s advertised by the manufacturer (manufacturers often use the dB rating for the smallest AC size of a particular model when they advertise sound levels.)  

    Learn more about AC size by reading our article, What Size AC Do I Need for My Florida Home?

  2. The advertised dB rating is ALWAYS when the AC is running at the lowest speed, which means that your AC will be louder at certain times. You see, many of the quietest ACs have variable-speed technology, which allows the system to run at different speeds based on demand (i.e. high cooling demand means a higher speed).

    So on particularly hot days (i.e. times of high cooling demand), you can expect your AC to be louder than on cooler, mild temperature days.

    Learn more about variable-speed technology in our article,Variable-Speed vs. Single-Speed: Which Is Best For My Florida Home?

Additional noise-dampening features to look for

In addition to the dB rating, look for the following noise-dampening features when shopping for an AC:

The parts and places where you’ll find noise-reduction technology in an AC

  • Compressor insulation/mounts: Your AC system’s compressor is located in the outdoor unit. When the compressor is well-insulated or specially mounted, it significantly reduces the noise made by your air conditioner.
  • Noise-reducing fan blades: These fan blades are quieter than regular fan blades, which reduces the overall sound of your outdoor unit.

  • Insulated base pan: This base pan goes under your air handler (located in the attic or a closet in your home), and reduces the sound of your indoor unit.

Need a Florida pro to install your new quiet AC?

Whether you already have an AC picked out, or you need help choosing a quiet one, we can help.

When you schedule an appointment with us, we’ll send over one of our trusted techs to give you a free, customized AC recommendation for your home.

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