air conditioning unit placement outside new home--help!

threeapplesJanuary 5, 2012

We are building a large historic-style home and are having a tough time deciding where to put one of the air conditioning units (we need two). this unit will handle the second floor's air conditioning and our options for its placement are in the front of the house (which i strongly do not want) or in the back next to the patio. We have family and friends whose units are next to their patio and it can be really noisy and annoying. Our land is incredibly peaceful and we don't envision hearing our unit while relaxing on the patio. But, the thought of this in the front of our pretty house is rather irritating, too. The only other option is the other side of the house, but the HVAC man says the distance the cold air will have to travel will render it less than optimal (over 80 ft. i guess) compared to the short distance of piping if it's in front of or in back of the house. any advice would be very helpful, thank you!

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Todays outside condensers AC and HP are much quieter than those of 10+ yrs and older. Look for a decibel rating no higher than low 70s. There are some brands/models with db ratings in the 60s. You can also place a small open slatted wooden fence between the condenser and the patio to help deflect sound.

That would be my strategy.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 8:41AM
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What brand of equipment are you installing? depending on what brand and model # the noise level varies greatly.

It is for the second floor so I assume it is a split system? So I am a little confused about the distance the cold air will have to travel if unit is installed on the side of the house. you have restrictions on how long a line set can be but that is freon not cold air.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 8:46AM
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The HVAC contractor is correct that if you go beyond 80 feet there is some loss of cooling capacity. However you can compensate for the loss by increasing the diameter of the vapor line. Even at 250 feet with the properly sized lineset you may see a loss of only 3-8%. Not a big loss. It will you cost more money for the extra lineset materials.

If you install the condenser near the patio, then select a unit which has the lower amount of ambient sound. I have the Carrier Infinity 24ANA7 condensers in 2 and 3 tons. The sound rating is 68 and 70 dBA respectively. I think they are quite, but then again I don't sit next to them for long periods of time. Some manufacturers offer an accessory sound blanket which may reduce the sound 2-3 dBA. The builder's grade units typically have no built in sound installation and are typically the loudest.

Is it possible to plant shrubs between the condenser and patio? It will help baffle some of the sound.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 9:03AM
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You can also build a dog house around it to redirect the noise or just put a wood fence around it. You can put it on the roof too.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 9:14AM
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Put it on top of the house.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 5:29PM
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The unit brand is York. I hope this is a good one, my husband chose it.
Our roof pitch will not accommodate a unit on top.

thanks, everyone!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 10:55PM
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"Our roof pitch will not accommodate a unit on top. "

No roof pitch accommodates a condenser.
They sit on a small level platform.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 11:08AM
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York and their sister company luxaire/coleman make some very quiet a/c's and heatpumps. I have one and the decibal rating in cooling mode is 69db for a 3 ton unit. Its about 10 feet from my patio and its really not bad at all.

How do you plan on heating? Did you know the heatpump version of that outdoor A/C does not cost much more? You can get alot of more flexiblity if you spend a bit more and get the heatpump version. heatpumps create heat very efficiently in milder temperatures and can protect you if natural gas goes up in price.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 1:18PM
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York also offers an upright condensing unit for a/c & heat pumps. They are slimmer and quite low in the decible range for sound levels. Probably easier to conceal with landscaping too.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 4:06PM
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