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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
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    we are currantly transforming an old wooden bungalow into two storey chalet that is sufficently insulated to meet building reg standrds. It will have 4 bedrooms and one large living area.
    We are keen on ASHP but worry the noise will upset the neighbours.(next door is 3ms away) I have read the ASHP produces around 49db but how long each day will the ASHP be on ? The system we are planning will also have solar and a wood burner feeding into the hot water tank so the ASHP will not be needed all year round. The wood burner will not be lit every day in the winter more when we have the time or inclination!

    Thanks allot

    Alex :confused:
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeMar 6th 2010
    what does 3ms away mean? 3 miles or 3m? see http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/forum114/comments.php?DiscussionID=5434&page=2#Item_28

    Why only insulate to regs? --- it would be in your best interests to go a lot better -- also air seal especially the floor/gf ceiling from outdoors air.
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2010
    How long depends on your buildings thermal response time/levels of insulation and the temperature difference between inside and outside. Look up Degree Days for your area.

    The Decibel scale is logarithmic (base 10 I think).
      Decibel Scale.jpg
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2010
    Decibels and noise form outdoor ashp boxes are both directional and drop off with distance.
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2010
    Is sound (in still air) inversely proportional to the square of the distance, so you have to know the distance that they measured the ASHP.
    Also when it comes on is important. During the night it may get a bit annoying but during the day it may be fine. Regular maintenance my also help as this may stop some small rattles developing into a terrible racket, like my old washing machine, upset the neighbours no end.
    • CommentAuthorGavin_A
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2010
    If you're system is going to be running at all between 11pm-7am, and it's on a wall facing your neighbours 3m away from your neighbours house then you're likely to have some very pissed off neighbours, and quite possibly be subject to a night time noise abatement order.

    Doubt they'll be happy about the daytime noise from it either at that distance, though it is unlikely to be at legally problematic levels for daytime use.

    what's acceptable legally for both night-time and daytime depends on the level of background noise, so if you're next to a motorway you can make more noise than if you're on a quiet residential street / in the countryside.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2010
    Oftec provide advice on noise level from oil boiler flues. It includes advice on working out how close a window can be. You need to know the noise level produced by the boiler/flue at 1 meter.


    For example: If it produces 55db (measured at 1 meter) and the noise contains "tones" then you add 5db to make 60db and look up the distance on chart 1 to give a minimium distance of 3.5 meters.

    Noise is very subjective. For example white noise might be more acceptable than one with several tones in that beat horribly even though the loudness is the same.
    • CommentAuthorAMc
    • CommentTimeMar 8th 2010
    I have a pair of Altherma 16KW ASHP at the edge of my property. They face 'into' my drive and are against a 2 metre high brick wall. We're rural (quiet) but reasonably densely packed in with neighbours. On the other side of the wall, even with all 4 fans running the noise is unobtrusive. On the other side of the drive (12m away) you can hear them but again it's not offensive. Late at night when it's still it does sound quite loud, but as everyone is indoors it doesn't seem to matter. We have of course double glazed windows and insulated walls.
    We were worried our neighbours might object but so far no problems. It helps that they're pointing at our house, backed by a heavy, high wall. However I wouldn't want them 3m from my house.

    IMHO The only way you'll work out if this is acceptable for your location is to go and see a unit in action.
    • CommentAuthorGavin_A
    • CommentTimeMar 8th 2010
    I get the impression from the distance the neighbour is away that it's going to be basically just across a drive / double path between the 2 houses, with the ASHP on the OP's wall facing directly at the neighbours house. In this situation the noise will basically bounce off the walls of the 2 houses and be really annoyingly loud in any rooms on either house that have windows opening onto the drive/passageway.

    the passageway could also act to essentially direct sound outwards in the direct of either end of the passageway in a relatively directional manner, so neighbours to the front or rear could also be affected more than you'd think from the diagrams supplied by the manufacturers, particularly if they had their bedroom in the line of fire.

    Having had my bedroom in my first year at uni about 10 meters across an alleyway from an air conditioning unit, I can fairly confidently say that your neighbours are going to hate you if you install this in this setting.
    • CommentAuthorWeeBeastie
    • CommentTimeNov 27th 2019
    I am considering an ASHP and have similar concerns.

    Very quiet residential area of detached and semi-detached houses. An architect friend has suggested a Mitsubishi Ecodan. It would go at the side of my semi-detached bungalow. Approx 2.5 metres to the boundary, then my neighbours' single garage, and their narrow path separating my house from theirs - perhaps 8 metres. Their bedroom is upstairs at this side. Bad idea? It's been nine years since the original post here so are the units now much quieter?

    I don't want to be the hypocrite causing Nuisance when I'm in the process of trying to prove Nuisance caused by a different neighbour's smoke!
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeNov 27th 2019
    Well, roughly, you'll lose about 6dB every time you double the distance from the source - but you need to add on say 3dB at the receiver end for refection

    That's simplistic of course, and a window will have a reasonable insertion loss.

    Pick a unit that's say 50dB at 1m, then you should be OK

    Be aware however that the noise can be quire tonal - and persistent - so they are very easily heard of an evening

    As a quick test, get your neighbour to start up the car outside the garage and leave it ticking over - how does it sound from your gaff

    You can put fencing elements around the HP condenser to "extend" the noise path as a reasonably simple fix


    • CommentAuthorWeeBeastie
    • CommentTimeNov 27th 2019
    Thanks, Barney. I can hear cars that idle a similar distance away on the street so am concerned. It's a lot of money too, money that might be better spent on improved insulation. Following with interest the other thread on heating a small low energy house.
    Noise is very subjective, we found our ashp quite noisy to start with but quickly got used to it. It was our own noise so we were probably more tolerant of it than if someone else was making it. Some of our family are light sleepers so noticed it more than the deaf/snoring people did...

    The outdoor units of ashps are very similar to the air conditioning systems they are derived from. If you look round the back of many office/retail/hotel/restaurant units, there will be a unit very similar to the one you are considering. Stand appropriately far from it and see how you feel about it.

    If the ASHP is sized to exactly match your daily heating needs, then it will have to run all of the day/night. Chances are it will be oversized, espc on mild days, so you can run it at more acceptable times, or run it at a lower rate at night, many of them have this function available.
    • CommentAuthorWeeBeastie
    • CommentTimeNov 28th 2019
    Thank you, WiA, that's the sort of real life info that's useful. I suspect the noise may bother me as much as the neighbours as my bedroom is at that side of the house. It may bother me during the day as well! I have memories of two hot summers living in Toronto with many AC units running in my street causing a constant hum...
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeNov 28th 2019 edited
    Or, try and convince your neighbour to go down the same route:wink:

    I guess it depends what type of unit and what you want it to do, e.g. heating, cooling, water heating only, A2A or A2W each may impact differently regarding running time etc.

    My Toshiba R32 ducted heating unit has a sound pressure on start up of 48dB; lower as the indoor unit modulates and senses room temp up to the required setting. Nuisance noise is all a bit subjective, can you somehow mitigate with shrubbery planting?
    • CommentAuthorWeeBeastie
    • CommentTimeNov 28th 2019
    Posted By: owlmanOr, try and convince your neighbour to go down the same routehttp:///newforum/extensions/Vanillacons/smilies/standard/wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title=":wink:" >

    I guess it depends what type of unit and what you want it to do, e.g. heating, cooling, water heating only, A2A or A2W each may impact differently regarding running time etc.

    My Toshiba R32 ducted heating unit has a sound pressure on start up of 48dB; lower as the indoor unit modulates and senses room temp up to the required setting. Nuisance noise is all a bit subjective, can you somehow mitigate with shrubbery planting?

    I've still to convince the other (semi-detached) neighbour to go for EWI!

    Decent size shrubbery would be tricky due to drains, shed, bin store :sad:

    I have had a single room unit before, many years ago mind you, and found it quite noisy indoors.
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