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Are Heat Pumps Noisy?

are heat pumps noisy

Are you thinking about installing a heat pump but worried about the noise it might make? We get it – no one wants a disruptive, noisy appliance in their home. 

In this article, we’ll address your concerns head-on, exploring whether heat pumps are noisy and what factors influence their sound levels. With our insights, you’ll have a clear understanding of what to expect and how to ensure your home remains a peaceful haven. 

Let’s dive in and find out if a heat pump is the right choice for you without compromising on tranquillity. 

How loud are heat pumps on average?

Heat pumps have only gained popularity in modern homes in recent years. While they were invented in the 1800s, they only really took off in the 1970s.

However, due to their expense and lack of advanced technology, heat pumps have only recently become a must-have for homes. 

Many people worry that installing a pump will result in noise issues because the original models were known to reach 70 decibels—the same noise level as a regular washing machine or office environment. 

Modern heat pumps are quieter 

Modern heat pumps are designed for quiet operation and usually have noise levels between 40 and 60 decibels. In most cases, the pump will produce 40 dB, which is similar to a low humming noise, but it can increase to 60 dB when working harder to generate heat.

As reported by Green Energy News, despite misconceptions about heat pump noise, they’re scientifically proven to be quieter than many household appliances.

Are heat pumps quieter than boilers?

Heat pumps and boilers generally emit the same noise levels, but it’s important to remember that boilers are installed within your home while heat pumps go outside. So, you’re more likely to hear a boiler than a heat pump. 

Heat pumps and combi boilers emit similar noises, but traditional gas boilers can reach up to 70 dB. 

Which heat pumps are quietest?

There are three types of heat pumps available, and the one you choose depends on property size, budget and whether you’re close to a water source: 

  1. Ground-Source Heat Pumps: If you have a large garden, a ground-source heat pump will use the earth’s consistent temperatures to generate energy and transfer it to your property through a pipe system. 
  2. Water-Source Heat Pumps: Properties with a river, lake or pond nearby can benefit from a stable power supply. However, if you’re not near a water source, you won’t be able to install these heat pumps. 
  3. Air-Source Heat Pumps: Air-source heat pumps are the most popular solution, as they’re compatible with most properties. They draw energy from the air and convert it to heat or cool a property. 

Ground-source heat pump noise levels 

Ground-source pumps are renowned for their quiet operation, with maximum noise levels of 42 dB. Because they use the earth’s stable temperature, they don’t have to work hard to generate energy. 

As long as professionals correctly install the pipes, you probably won’t even notice when your heat pump’s operating. 

Water-source heat pump noise levels 

Water-source pumps are slightly louder than ground-source pumps, with maximum noise levels reaching 50 dB. As these pumps need a well, pond, lake or river to function, the additional pumps can emit more noise. 

However, even though these pumps are slightly noisier, most people won’t notice them. 

Air-source heat pumps 

Ground and water-source pumps can draw energy from consistent earth and water temperatures, while air-source heat pumps rely on outdoor temperatures. 

They’re the noisiest of all three, with maximum levels of 60 dB—which is still relatively quiet. The main reason for this is that air-source pumps work harder to turn colder temperatures into warm air, which is then distributed throughout the home. 

Will my heat pump cause noise disturbances?

heat pumps in garden

Nobody wants to be a noisy neighbour, and older heat pumps could be a nuisance for neighbours. However, modern alternatives are much quieter, and your neighbours usually won’t notice them. 

In most cases, the noise your neighbours hear will be similar to a fridge. Think about the last time you noticed your refrigerator making noises, and you’ll understand why today’s heat pumps go unnoticed. 

What about winter noise levels?

According to the Carbon Brief, the average UK winter temperature is 4.12℃, but we regularly see below-zero temperatures. While ground and water-source pumps can rely on warmer temperatures, air-source heat pumps must work harder when it’s cold. 

They turn cold air into warm air, which means the additional work will increase noise levels. Despite this, in below-freezing temperatures, most models don’t exceed 60 dB. 

Top tips for reducing heat pump noise 

Heat pumps can reduce your carbon footprint and move you towards energy independence, making them a smart decision for residential and commercial properties. 

If you’re worried about noise levels, implementing the following tips can help you enjoy everything these innovative solutions offer:

  • Choose Wisely: Choose a reputable company when searching for a heat pump installation service. They’re more likely to offer modern heat pumps that don’t emit high noise levels. 
  • Placement: Your installation company will assess the property and find a suitable location. Placing the pump away from windows and neighbouring homes can reduce noise levels. 
  • Maintenance: Never forget the importance of regular maintenance. Clean units are quieter, but debris accumulation can obstruct airflow. 
  • Block Noise: Some people plant shrubs near the unit to create a noise barrier. However, it’s best to consult a professional, as planting them close to the pump could cause ventilation issues. Sound enclosures can also be beneficial. 

The bottom line 

As with all appliances, heat pumps aren’t completely noise-proof, but today’s options are much quieter than the original pumps. As technology advances, we might see upgrades in the future that make these innovative solutions even quieter. 

Remember, even if you opt for an air source pump, regular maintenance and strategic placement can significantly affect its noise levels. 

If you’re interested in exploring the environmental and money-saving benefits of heat pumps, we’d love to help you find the right solution for your needs. 

We provide bespoke heat pump installations designed to meet your individual needs, type of home and unique budget. Get in touch today

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