Expected Noise Level of Various Air Conditioners

I feel that my window air conditioners are too noisy. Actually, there is nothing wrong with the air conditioners; I am just too sensitive to noise especially when I need to go to sleep. I am thinking of replacing them with some kind of split system that has the noisy compressor placed outdoor. Because of the fact that my house is not suitable for running ductwork (no attic), I probably prefer a ductless split system that has a blower indoor. Now the question is:
How quiet those ductless split system is as comparing to a window air conditioner?
I would really hate to spend a lot of money getting a ductless split system installed and then discover that the it (the blower) is not much quieter than the window air conditioner that it has replaced.
My questions are:
- The spec of one of the most quiet mini-split system says that its indoor unit generates 40-db or something. According to www.Oneida.com, 40-db is like the noise from a normal conversation. Honestly, I don't really know how noisy a "normal conversation" is as applying to an air conditioner. But surely this doesn't sound very good. What's people opinion on this based on their personal experience with a ductless split system? Do they find the noise level to be acceptable for sleeping? How much difference of its noise as comparing to the noise from air flowing through an air register of a central air conditioner (with ductwork)?
- How a noise level was rated? Are they all rated 3-ft away from the air conditioner?
- What's the common noise level of a modern window air conditioner being sold within the last 2 years or so? Something like low-50-db or high-60-db? I don't have a sound-meter available (at least not yet); I cannot measure the noise level of my existing window air conditioners.
Thanks in advance for any info.
Jay Chan
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says...

Would it be less expensive to mask the noise with another acceptable noise from a sound conditioner ?
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This should be less expensive to mask the noise using a sound generator of some sort. But I don't like the idea of using a sound generator to mask the noise, and I have a feeling that I will get sick of listening to the sound from a sound generator. For example, I would turn off the radio in a room after I have been in the room a while; I just don't like white noise.
The other reason of trying to get a new air conditioner is that I have two rooms (2nd floor and basement) that I need air conditioning and I cannot fit a window air conditioner in those locations (and I don't like those portable air conditioner either because they are likely to be very noisy). I am trying to kill two birds with one stone: Buy a split system then I can reduce noise and can introduce air conditioning in areas that don't have air conditioning currently.
Any idea of the noise level of a ductless split system as comparing to a window air conditioner?
Thanks.
Jay Chan
Steve Stone wrote:

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http://global.mitsubishielectric.com/bu/air/home_p/index_b.html http://global.mitsubishielectric.com/bu/air/home_p/l_a1_b.html They give a dB reading of 29.5 on one of these.
A 25 dB rating on the smaller of these units. http://www.mitsubishielectric.com.sg/aircon/single_non1.asp
I have no idea how good they are and I've never seen one run. Looks far superior in design than the cheap window shakers though. Ed
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Thanks for the links to split system with a very quiet indoor unit. This gives me hope that I should be able to find a ductless split system that is very quiet without the use of a central air conditioner with ductwork.
Seem like I can always count on you to give me great info on home improvement and woodworking issues. I appreciate that.
Jay Chan
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

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Sorry for the wrong URL address. The web site that I was referring to should be:
http://www.oneida-air.com /
And we can find the info in that web site in this way: ---> Tech Resources ---> Noise Levels Explained ---> See our chart of common everyday items and the associated noise level associated with it.
Seem like I remember the description of noise level 40-db wrong. It should be "Quiet conversation" instead of "Normal conversation". This means a split system that has 40-db noise level of its indoor unit "seems" to be quiet acceptable...
Jay Chan
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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My old Goodman 3T out side condenser measure 88 db at 10 feet and 78 db at 15 feet where my patio was. My brothers was over a 100 before we put the sound blanket on it. There are companies that make sound blankets for the compressors. They will help ~ 4-8 db maybe a bit more. It may take some time for you to get used to the new environment. I have the same problem when I travel. Some window shakers in some hotel rooms are hideous. I carry a set of soft ear plugs for those nights.
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You have way too much time on your hands.
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Phil Yarbrough wrote:

Who are you talking to?
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you can pick up a pair of soft foam ear plugs for about 10 cents
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I R Baboon wrote:

Who are you talking to?
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Using a sound blanket to reduce noise is an interesting idea. I didn't know that there is such a thing called sound blanket. Nevertheless, I doubt that it will work because we cannot cover the whole air compressor, we still need to leave many room for venting air, and the noise will come right out.
I have been living in my house for over 5 years. Therefore, it is not a new house, and this is where the problem is. If it had been a new house, it should have a proper attic, and I would have no problem asking people to run ductwork to the second floor of my house, and I would have a central air-conditioner installed a couple years ago.
I didn't realize that some hotels still use window air conditioners. The last motel I went to already had central air conditioning. I guess I have not been doing a lot of traveling in my life.
Yes, I have been using a pair of soft ear plugs since we start turning on the window air conditioner in early summer. But I would much rather not wearing them if I can. Their use simply takes away the pleasure of sleeping. I guess this is a personal preference. I am sure that many people have no problem wearing ear plugs to sleep.
Jay Chan

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there are ac window units with the working parts hanging out and down the window. how about an air handler put under your house and a duct to each room, and the compressor outside a non bedroom area.. those are pretty darn quiet. lucas
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Are you referring to a mini-split-system? This will work for one room. But I am thinking of cooling 3 rooms (two bed rooms and one basement). I am under the impression that we need a HVAC professional to install a mini-split-system. If we need to pay for a HVAC professional to install three mini-split-system, we may as well ask him to install a ductless split system that has three indoor air blowers that shares one air compressor. I think this "may" be cheaper, and should be better in term of cutting down noise the we will hear indoor, and we would not have many ugly outdoor units hanging right outside the window.

This works for the first floor. But we would have problem to run ductwork to the second floor because we don't have an attic. All the piping would have to go straight up through closets, kitchen, living room...etc. We also need room for ductwork for return air from the second floor. This would be an ugly work and would disrupt our lives while the ductwork is being put in place. A couple years ago, I asked HVAC guys to come over to see if they can install a central air conditioning system in my house. But the proposed ways of running ductwork were really not satisfactory to me and this has a lot to do with the fact that my house doesn't have an attic...
Jay Chan
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a sound level of 40dB is fairly quiet, and <30dB is extremely quiet. Most mini splits are around 35dB (compared to window units which are usually over 50dB). Panasonic has a mini split that is 26dB(!) in low mode.
mini-splits are *way* quieter than windows units, no question about it.

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Thanks for giving me the assessment of various noise levels from air conditioning equipment. This helps me in comparing various options in air conditioning. Seem like ductless split system (including mini-split that you have mentioned) is quiet enough, and is an appropriate option of air conditioning for a person who hates noise.
By the way, I have already ordered a sound meter for measuring the noise from various household applicants. Then I would be able to gauge the noise level personally to see how I feel of devices that generate 30-db, 40-db... I will also use it for balancing the speakers of my future home entertainment system; but this is off-topics...
Jay Chan
bob smith wrote:

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