When homes are spaced tightly in today’s residential developments, a neighboring HVAC system may be a source of problems. This is especially the case when the outdoor component of the central air conditioner is installed beside the house (rather than behind) and in close proximity to the neighboring home. Another potential issue may arise from the outdoor drainage of condensate that is produced by high-efficiency gas furnaces that are now installed in many new homes. Here are some specifics about HVAC components and how they may cause issues for residents next door.

Excess Noise

A central AC may produce as much as 80 decibels of noise when the outdoor unit cycles on; certainly enough to disturb close neighbors, particularly at night. In some cities, local ordinances limit the amount of noise from outdoor AC components. Other measures are also available to reduce the decibels coming from the AC next door:

  • Sound-Deadening. A thick blanket of sound-deadening insulation may be installed inside the outdoor AC unit. The material is usually wrapped around the compressor motor — the primary noise-maker inside the unit — to deaden sound. Effective use of sound-deadening insulation can reduce outdoor AC noise by between 30% and 50%.
  • Fencing. A solid wood fence erected around the outdoor unit will also absorb noise from a neighboring HVAC system. However, it’s limited to the reduction of horizontal noise patterns, as vertical noise will still escape above the unit.

Furnace Condensate

As part of the heating process, an 80,000-BTU high-efficiency gas furnace installed in a typical home may produce 5 gallons or more of acidic condensate per day. In some homes, this water simply flows through a pipe and is released on the ground outdoors. Where homes are closely spaced, constant pooling water from a neighboring HVAC system may be an annoyance next door. In such cases, an HVAC contractor can connect the furnace condensate drain line into the household drain system, eliminating the outdoor release of condensate.

Contact the professionals at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing for more information about resolving neighboring HVAC issues.