Air conditioner noise
Article: Air conditioner noise
Keeping your cool this summer
Neighbourhood complaints concerning air conditioner noise occur at this time each year and are particularly difficult to resolve. Issues such as these are best handled by working together with your neighbour.
You may feel anxious about approaching your neighbour, but remember that they are sometimes not aware their noise is disturbing you.
Free mediation services are available that assist in resolving neighbourhood noise issues. This approach also has the benefit of avoiding the costly and adversarial legal process. For further information, contact the South Australian Community Legal Centres for mediation services on (08) 8342 1800.
During the day (between 7 am–10 pm), the continuous noise of an airconditioner must not exceed 52 dB(A). During the night (between 10 pm–7 am) the continuous noise of an airconditioner must not exceed 45 dB(A).
Measurements to determine breaches of the Environment Protection (Noise) Policy 2007 are taken from the noise-affected premises (eg your neighbour’s bedroom, with the window open). Ambient noise of the area is also factored in.
If you choose to complain about noise, you have a legal requirement to ensure that your report is not false or misleading. Some regulatory agencies (eg councils and the EPA) can charge investigation fees for the services.
These fees, when applied, are to be paid by the person/business causing the noise if the complaint is verified by an authorised officer. Conversely, if the complaint cannot be verified, the complainant may be charged the fee.
To ensure that you avoid neighbourhood complaints about your air conditioner, please follow these simple steps:
- You can lower the heat load on an air conditioner by insulating the ceiling, and shading east and west facing windows. You can then purchase a smaller capacity and usually quieter unit.
- Check the sound power level label before purchase, the smaller the dB(A), the quieter the unit.
- Place the air conditioner on the rear wall facing the backyard, or on a front or side wall facing the street. Split system compressors should be mounted on rubber blocks to reduce vibration and can be located away from a wall.
- Install an acoustic enclosure. Custom built with correctly designed ventilation is essential to maintain the warranty.
- Allow for an increase in noise over time due to parts wear.
- Ensure regular maintenance is performed.
Nuisance noise is a form of pollution. An authorised officer under the Environment Protection Act 1993 may issue an expiation notice or an Environment Protection Order (EPO). Penalties ranging from $300 to $60,000 may be applied.
For further information please visit www.epa.sa.gov.au or contact your council.