Heat Pumps Noise Comparisons

How Much Noise Do Heat Pumps Produce?

Considering installing heat pumps in your home, but wondering if they make a lot of noise? This environmentally friendly and energy-saving technology is a bonus but noise can be a problem depending on the type and condition of the heat pump.

A heat pump is a mechanical device that has a few moving parts, such as fans that make some noise when running.

They often make vibrations as the internal refrigerant switches from a liquid state to gas. So, some noise is considered normal when your heat pump is running.

As a matter of fact, all heating products generate noise, but compared to boilers powered with fossil fuel, heat pumps produce less noise. The noise made by an air source heat pump can get up to 60 decibels (dB), while a ground source heat pump is quieter with a noise level of about 42 dB, depending on the quality of the heat pump and how well it is installed.

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Comparing Noise Levels – are Air Source Heat Pumps Noisy?

An air-source heat pump creates some noise while running because both the fan and compressor are in motion. The noise of the fans depends on multiple factors:

  • Fan model
  • Airflow
  • Fan speed
  • Pressure flow

The noise is around 40-60 dB over a one-metre radius, depending on the system. How loud is 60 dB? 60 dB is the equivalent of a normal talk. You can’t really hear the noise of a heat pump because you have traffic noise and all kinds of things.

Modern air source heat pumps should not produce more than a low whirring sound provided they function properly. Also, heat pumps are mounted up to 15 meters from the property anyway and they don’t have to be in the perimeter physically. So, it’s about distance as well.

If noise is a major problem for you, there’s a variety of products that can help, as well as soundproofing.

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Heat Pumps Compared to Other Sounds

For perspective on the noise made by heat pumps, it’s important to place sound levels in a comparable context. Sound levels for heat pumps in a good working state should be measured and checked against the following guide:

Heat pumps 40 dB – 60 dB
Breathing 10 dB
Normal breathing 10 dB
Whisper 30 dB
Bird calls 40 dB
Running stream 50 dB
Normal conversation 60 dB
Air conditioning unit 60 dB
Vacuum cleaner 70 dB
Dishwasher 80 dB
Live rock music 110 dB

Noise from a Ground Source Heat Pump

The noise from ground source heat pumps is relatively less noisy because unlike air source heat pumps, it doesn’t extract heat from the air and doesn’t need a noise-making fan. They are placed internally, so they’re quieter. And because the heat source is warmer, the compressor is less stressed. In addition, the main unit is placed inside your home, so you won’t have any noise issue with your neighbours. Unlike a dishwasher, if it’s a really cold evening, you may want to leave the heating on overnight.

However, when determining where to position the ground source heat pump, the vibrations can be disturbing if you stay in a room above or adjacent it. But that can be solved with anti-vibration pads or soundproofing around the frame.

How to Combat and Mitigate Heat Pump Noise

If you intend to add an air source heat pump to your property, The Mittens Heat Pumps UK can help with our acoustic kit for air source heat pumps. First, our technicians will perform a noise survey in line with BS4142 and, if appropriate, we will provide acoustic guidance on how to reduce the on-site noise levels.

Our range of solutions include:

  • Compact, long-lasting, weather-resistant horizontal ASHP enclosures
  • Absorptive panels to minimise internal reverberation
  • Front entry panels
  • Side entry panels
  • High-performance acoustic louvres in painted BS or RAL colours
  • Timber cladding services available on request

Our vertical AHSP enclosures are designed to surround your vertical exhaust air source heat pump system, addressing airflow requirements, noise limits and noise level requirements. They satisfy BS4142: 2014.

The Mittens Heat Pumps UK technicians are industry experts and can help keep your unit running efficiently for the longest possible time. Please contact us at info@mittensheatpumps.co.uk or call us directly on 01273257407 if you would like more information on how to prepare for your BS4142 Noise Survey.

Heat Pump Set Up

The Mittens Heat Pumps UK will tour your home to assess your heating and cooling needs before installing any heat pump. We ask you questions during our visit about your existing heating system and project goals. This will determine the type of heat pump system you should install. Our technicians can perform a Manual J calculation. Manual J is a protocol used to determine the amount of heating and cooling that a household needs to keep its inhabitants warm during the cool months and cool during the warm months.

For you to be considered for certain state and local benefits, a Manual J is always required. If you are looking at a ducted system, The Mittens Heat Pumps UK technicians will also inspect any existing ductwork to ensure that it is efficient and properly sealed.

When setting up your heat pump, we will aim to minimise noise so that you can maintain a good relationship with your neighbours. We will place your exterior heat pump unit at least 5-10 meters from your neighbour’s boundaries, so they don’t get bothered by it.

To install a geothermal system, you must first seek planning permission. The Mittens Heat Pumps UK can help you get to do so. The setup of a heat pump will have to be in season because you can’t install the heat pump in winter. This is because when the tubes are buried underground there is a risk of frost being in the ground.

It is a good idea to install the indoor unit either in the basement or utility room to avoid being disturbed by the noise from the heat pump. It’s also good to avoid setting up the indoor unit in noise-sensitive areas.

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Heat Pump Choice

Choosing the right heat pump for your property is not easy. Considering the variety of systems and different situations, a professional recommendation would be useful if you want to prevent mistakes. If you choose The Mittens Heat Pumps UK as your contractor, we would discuss solutions that can help you boost the comfort of your home and the efficiency of your heat pump. For example, when it comes to ducts, it is necessary to consider carefully their materials and design, as well as the correct amount of space they need.

The Mittens Heat Pumps UK technicians will check your building’s blueprint to see if the architect included ample space for ducts and fans. Often, the spaces for heating and cooling systems are too small or we may have to squeeze the heating and cooling equipment into the small spaces, resulting in cramped ducts and insufficient ventilation.

Another factor to consider when choosing this advanced technology is the various models available because each model comes with different configurations.

There is also the issue of your needs. For example, do you need domestic hot water (DHW) production, heating, and cooling? If you already have heating appliances such as underfloor heating systems and radiators, that will also be taken into consideration.

It’s important to get the accurate size for proper installation as well and this will be determined by several factors. If the installation is oversized, it will cost you extra and increase your electricity consumption. On the other hand, if your installation is undersized, the heat pump system will not be able to meet all of your heating and cooling needs and you will have to resort to a backup system too often. These are the reasons why you should work with an expert like The Mittens Heat Pumps UK to choose the right heat pump for your property.

How The Mittens Heat Pumps UK can Prevent ASHP Noise

The Mittens Heat Pumps UK can prevent noise from ASHP by building a horizontal enclosure around the system. It won’t stop all the noises but it will at least limit the noise to a level you and your neighbours can live with.

Something else that The Mittens Heat Pumps UK will do to prevent noise generated by ASHP is to ensure the lower portion of the system is covered with soundproof materials such as thick nylon padding. If you detect any buzzing noise from the compressor, please notify the after-sales service team as soon as possible. Before the technicians arrive, use a vacuum pump to remove the air inside the compressor, check if there is any foreign matter inside the compressor, and apply the refrigerant and compressor oil again. Moreover, the heat pump must be properly assembled and secured before attaching the screws to avoid air leakage and oil leakage from the compressor.

How The Mittens Heat Pumps UK Can Prevent GSHP Noise

Thanks to the absence of fans in ground source heat pumps, there is less noise. There are components that make some noise in GSHPs, but that is always less than the noise of a heat pump from an air source heat pump. The noise that an average GSHP produces from a distance of 1 meter is 42 decibels – similar to that of a standard domestic refrigerator. Since there is no fan unit, and the pump usually operates at a constant low level, there are no parts or processes to produce a lot of noise.

The Mittens Heat Pumps UK can further reduce the noise of ground source heat pumps by carefully planning the location of the pump within your home, and regular maintenance and servicing by our heat pump specialists will ensure that the pump runs smoothly and quietly year after year.

MCS Planning Standards and Noise Level Requirements

MCS stands for Microgeneration Certification Scheme. MCS is an industry-led scheme designed to support the microgeneration industry development and drive the quality and reliability of systems installations. The Microgeneration Certification Scheme incorporates clear standards to support the installation of wind turbines and air source heat pumps. The main purpose of the scheme is to build consumer confidence in technologies used for microgeneration.

The MCS Planning Standards (MCS 020) stipulate that noise levels must remain at or below 42 decibels (dB) from a metre away from any habitable room for an air source heat pump on its own (that is, without a soundproof or enclosure).

Where an air source heat pump system exceeds 42 dB, you will need to get planning permission.

Although it is essentially the duty of the homeowners to ensure that all the criteria and limitations for approved construction are followed, the manufacturer of the equipment will verify whether the design satisfies the planning specifications of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS 020), including noise requirements.

Get in Touch

If you notice problems with your heating system, the best thing to do is to contact a professional heating engineer. We are experts in the installation of heat pumps, ensuring that your heat pump is silent, efficient and effective in heating your property and hot water. Each project is unique so please contact us today on 01273257407 to find out how you can benefit from a heat pump.

The Mittens Heat Pumps UK has over 10 years of HVAC expertise with heating and air conditioning. We can help you manage and restore your heat pump, or our courteous experts can assist you in selecting and installing a smaller, more effective home heating and cooling system.

For excellent service, call us anytime at 01273257407. Our heat pump installers are fully qualified and can give you any advice you need about this advanced technology. We represent clients across the UK.

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