How Noisy are Air Source Heat Pumps?

Air Source Heat Pump Installed Outside House

Air source heat pumps are an invaluable tool, used to take the latent warm air outside and turn into heating for both homes and commercial buildings. ASHPs are a great option for the environmentally conscious, but one question that gets asked a lot is how much noise an air source heat pump will generate once installed.

The Government are proponents of air source heat pumps, as they play an important role in the UK’s CO2 emissions targets. In 2011, the Department of Energy and Climate Change published research detailing the noise levels of ASHPs. Research was carried out at 9 different sites across the UK, from Fraserburgh in Scotland to down in the Cotswolds. The tests showed no cause for concern for consumers when it comes to noise levels of air source heat pumps. Recorded sound levels were found to be in line with current guidelines, and close to manufacturer estimates and predictions.

However, the main aim of the Government research was to understand the sound pressure level when stood 1m away from the heat pump. This focus enabled researchers to conduct tonal noise analysis, and feedback to manufacturers about any needed changes. This means, that while the data from the study is somewhat useful, it doesn’t necessarily translate into vital information for businesses and homeowners. Because of this, it’s also important to assess air source heat pump noise levels in terms of day-to-day sounds in order to give a clearer picture.

To put the noise of ASHPs into context, it’s important to note the decibel levels of some other common household objects.

  • The average hair dryer is around 80 decibels

  • A normal household washing machine averages at 70 decibels

  • Most vacuum cleaners are also 70 decibels

  • Your dishwasher can be anywhere between 70-80 decibels

How does an air source heat pump compare?

Depending on the kind of system that you have installed, your air source heat pump will generate between 40-60 decibels. This is roughly the same amount as a bird call, background music at the office, or the ambience at your local library.

This highlights that there are often misconceptions surrounding the level of noise that ASHPs produce. While they are large pieces of equipment, they are generally quiet. This does, however, depend on the type of air source heat pump that you purchase and how well it is installed. If installed correctly by a certified installer, your ASHP will make next to no noise.


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