ebm-papst Fans, Blowers and Technology

How to help your HVAC system ‘tone it down’

Posted on Fri, Oct 17, 2014
describe the imageBy Matt Menard, Market Manager - Air Conditioning

Remember the hotel room where you barely slept because the AC constantly cycled on and off?  

The HVAC systems in our homes, offices, hotels and other buildings should keep us comfortable no matter what the weather is outside. And while we expect these systems to perform on demand, we certainly don’t want to hear them running.

What strategies can we help supress the sound and vibration of essential HVAC components?

Internal compressors and fans are the main sources of noise. If the fan’s rattling or the compressor’s banging, clanking, hissing or rattling, getting the system inspected and serviced should be your first priority.

However, cooled air that moves through systems and ducts can create additional sounds. These noises may require a variety of approaches that building HVAC and maintenance pros can address during design, installation or retrofitting.

Size It Right
According to a recent column in HPAC Engineering by Michael Ivanovich of the Air Movement and Control Association International (AMCA), even the most efficient fan will perform poorly if not sized properly.

Mike’s 14-point checklist can help HVAC engineers save energy, reduce noise and maximize efficiency.

Hide It
Any air conditioner that is in a room with people is going to be noisy, which is why most are located elsewhere. Ideally, the only noise that should be heard is that of air flowing into the room.

Placing the air conditioning equipment in a basement, attic or mechanical closet will reduce noise from the mechanical components. In addition, the bulky equipment is hidden from day-to-day life.  

A wide range of products on the market can help reduce HVAC noise. Acoustical wraps or blankets can surround compressors to suppress high-pitched tones. Duct liners absorb noise before it leaves the ductwork. Soft-surfaced insulation can

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be used on the inside of the unit cabinet to muffle noise and to provide thermal insulation.

Products such as our AxiTop diffuser and FlowGrid air inlet grill address noise associated with airflow. By reducing the turbulence on the intake of a fan, the FlowGrid minimizes low-tone frequencies commonly associated with large fans. The AxiTop accessory increases the aerodynamic efficiency and reduces sound levels on ebm-papst axial fans.

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Slow It Down
The simplest way to reduce the sound levels produced by HVAC systems is to slow them down. By reducing the rotating speed of the motors (fans and compressors), you reduce the motor noise as well as the noise caused by airflow. Our EC motors are equipped with integrated speed-control capability, providing lower noise and energy consumption when slowed down.

What are your HVAC acoustical nightmares, and how are you solving them? Log a comment below!

About Matt Menard
With 12 years’ experience in HVAC systems, Matt Menard, Market Manager – Air Conditioning at ebm-papst Inc., actively supports designers’, manufacturers’ and integrators’ with a wide range of air-moving products. Matt holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He enjoys skiing, golf and spending time with his wife and two children.

Tags: EC motors, HVAC, HVAC noise, speed-control capability, AxiTop diffuser, FlowGrid air inlet grill