Neighbourly Installation of Heat Pumps

This page gives advice about selecting a heat pump and where to install a heat pump on a property to avoid disturbing neighbours.

Selecting a Heat Pump

Beofre purchasing a heat pump, ask for advice on the most appropriate size of unit for the area to be heated. Select the pump that is most suitable to prevent excessive operation times or load on the unit.

Choose a heat pump with a low sound power level. The exterior sound power level will be specified on the side of the unit and will give you an indication on how noisy the heat pump will be outside your house. The higher the number the louder the heat pump unit will be. The sound power level is different from the sound pressure level.

Where to Install Heat Pumps

The inappropriate location of heat pumps close to, and facing, neighbouring bedrooms and living areas can cause noise disturbance. Before installing a heat pump you should consider the effects noise from the outdoor unit may have on yourself and your neighbours.

Heat pumps should be as far away from your own and your neighbours' bedrooms as possible. The fan unit should face the boundary of the property furthest away from the adjoining residences, not towards windows or outdoor living areas of a neighbouring residence.

Try to avoid mounting the pump on a wall and in particular at a high level, as this can result in unimpeded transmission of noise to neighbouring properties. If possible mount the heat pump at ground level and on a solid base, preferably a concrete pad or block. Use rubber pads between the unit and the base to eliminate vibration.

Ensure that where refrigeration lines pass through walls, they have adequate clearance and insulation. Vibration from within walls can magnify noise levels beyond acceptable levels.

Make use of fences and walls between you and your neighbour's home as these can help reduce the transmission of noise. If a nuisance eventuates, you may need to investigate other options such as acoustic barriers or acoustic treatment.

Heat Pump Maintenance

Tonal type sounds, or sounds with a narrow frequency range, are common from rotating parts in units, such as fans and motors. These noises can greatly increase if you do not maintain your heat pump regularly to replace worn bearings or limited life parts before they fail. Loose screws in a metal casing are a common source of buzzing or rattling noises.

When you have your pump installed, ask the installer to provide you with an appropriate maintenance schedule.