Ways to soundproof a HVAC system in a utility closet easily!
I really enjoy living in a big home out in the suburbs. Air is fresher out there and there is lots of living space for my family. These were important factors that facilitated our move out here, rather than being cooped up in an expensive apartment downtown.
With a larger home though, there are a lot more moving parts to take care of, so you would expect maintenance costs to be higher. Small price to pay if you ask me, and there are lots of ways to keep it low.
One of the things I really liked is having a utility room, sort of like a shed where I can permanently park things away, like my HVAC unit, which included the furnace and boiler.
The only small issue was that the utility room was right next to one of our bedrooms, and it started to chime out unwanted noise.
It was time to get to work, and in this article, I will show you how to soundproof a utility closet with a HVAC system.
Let’s get stuck in.
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How do you soundproof a utility closet?
Do you want to minimize the annoying mechanical noise in your home caused by the furnace or one of the machines in the closet?
Well, the good news is that soundproofing your utility closet can be a quick, affordable project to finally bring you peace!
Let’s look at the steps to do it here.
Check the conditions first
Have you recently had the impression that your HVAC unit is getting noisier and noisier in your home?
If you’re like me, you have decided to take control of your home environment and begin a mission to soundproof your utility room.
First, it is important to note that sometimes loud noises can be the sign of a more serious issue with your system such as loose parts or a faulty function.
Here are the common noises a HVAC unit can emit:
- Squelching or squealing – bad fan belt, needs replacement
- “Thwapping” – normally means something is stuck in the blower fan
- Popping – could be from the ductwork, Turn on and observe for 15 minutes. Call technician if it persists
- Rattling and clanking – likely something loose or broken. Shut down and check
- Buzzing – again, likely a loose part. Shut down and check
- Clicking – if it is from AC unit, check here. Normally not a big issue
- Booming, high pitched whistling, hissing – call technician
Most can be resolved by yourself, so check out this troubleshooting guide here.
After monitoring my own HVAC unit regularly, I realized that my system was running fine with no larger performance issues – just a lot of unwanted noise!
If for this reason you’ve decided to seek out a new, quieter furnace for your home, I would check out the Lennox SLP98V with SilentComfort™ Technology, which offers the lowest decibel (dB) level for your utility space, according to Rumpca Services.
How to DIY soundproof the furnace closet
However, if you’re like me, you can’t afford a new furnace, and even if things in your HVAC closet are running smoothly, the noise may still be just too much.
Though working fine, my furnace still makes that constant hum that I can hear even with the door closed, sometimes over other regular sounds in my home.
There is hope! Staging a small, not-so-permanent renovation in my utility closet, I learned the tricks and trades and do’s and don’ts of soundproofing, solutions that are completely affordable and easy to do by yourself.
1. Handle the floor soundproofing first
A first simple step to reduce noise is to fill that space!
Sound travels easily through a big, empty utility closet.
If you have any upholstered furniture in storage, placing it against the walls in your HVAC closet can work to absorb some of the sound vibrations, helping reduce general noise.
Next, if the floor in your utility closet is anything like mine, it is cold, hard cement.
To improve sound resistance, carpeting your floor or laying down rugs is one of the cheapest easiest ways to counter the sound.
Remember, the thicker and heavier the floor material the better!
Go into more details about soundproofing your floor here.
Even with a new layer of carpet in your utility closet, however, this solution alone may not completely eliminate the noise.
There are many effective soundproofing materials to install on your empty wall space that can help to significantly reduce the noise in your utility room.
2. Take care of soundproofing the walls next
After filling and carpeting your utility closet, identifying the empty wall space in the room is the next important step to effectively reduce the noise level.
Although the best and most effective way to soundproof a room is to do so from the interior of your walls by installing extra insulation, dry wall, fiberglass inserts, or vinyl sheets, these processes take more expertise, equipment, time, and money.
But there’s good news!
You can still soundproof your home without spending these big bucks and achieve a significant reduction in noise coming from your utility room, simply by installing soundproofing panels to your wall and ceiling space.
The most common materials are soundproof panels, which can be made of anything from soundproof fabric, wood or foam, and are both affordable and easy to install.
As always, the most effective materials for soundproofing are the heaviest and thickest.
If by any chance your utility room is more like a shed and is built with plywood, you can check out more info here on how to soundproof plywood walls.
Hey, quick one. If you intend to start a soundproofing project soon, check out our Best Materials for Soundproofing post to get a headstart. Most projects require similar materials, so this post will save you a ton of time researching.
Materials you can use for soundproofing the HVAC room
The cheapest choice for your DIY soundproofing project is to install foam sound-absorbing panels, otherwise known as acoustic panels.
These soundproof foam panels can come in various sizes, thicknesses, and patterns: the most effective are the thickest of those that have a raised pyramid design, which helps to absorb more noise.
When choosing your panels, look for those with a high noise reduction coefficient (NRC) rating on a scale from 0 to 1.
This determines the percentage of sound that the panels absorb.
Another effective type of soundproofing panel is mineral wool fabric that contains high-density fiberglass.
Moving blankets are also a commonly used, affordable soundproofing option, and the thicker and heavier the fabric, the better!
Install your soundproof panels
When applying your panels, you can either use spray adhesive or double-sided tape to avoid permanent wall alterations.
You can use push pins or nails for more sturdy, heavy materials.
Make sure that the majority of the wall space is covered, and remember you can even alter your panels to fit your specific space.
Always remember, the thicker and heavier the material you install in your utility closet, the more sound that will be absorbed inside the room.
In addition, you can even try to install soundproofing panels on your ceiling to maximize the noise reduction.
Other soundproofing methods you can use
After you’ve tried installing soundproofing panels, there are still a few things you can do to further reduce the noise in your home.
Though it is almost impossible to completely eliminate noise, combining as many methods as you can will help to contribute to your sound reduction efforts!
Weather stripping and door drafts
Unfortunately, the door to my utility closet was one of the biggest issues in my soundproofing project, as I had a gap of almost 4cm between the wall and the door!
If you too notice a decent gap between your utility closet door and wall, weather-stripping the perimeter of your door is a sure way to reduce the escaping noise, and costs little to purchase.
There are various types of weather-stripping material you can use, but I would recommend those made of felt with adhesive backing, which you can find at any local hardware store, or at your online shop.
Another good and budget friendly way is to simply install door drafts. I have them all over the house!
Hang soundproofing curtains
Not only was my door in serious need of weather-stripping, but my door itself is a louvered door.
Soundproof curtains may be the best way to soundproof your utility room if your house has a louvered door to the utility space.
Trying to soundproof a louvered door can be tricky, since the gaps are meant to allow for ventilation, much like air vents, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be done.
Installing soundproof curtains is definitely one of the fastest and simplest way to reduce the noise through a louvered door.
Pro tip: Remember, if you’re renting your house or apartment and are unable to install soundproof panels on your walls, soundproof curtains may be the next best alternative for soundproofing your utility space.
Installing soundproof curtains in your HVAC closet can be easy to do and less permanent than installing panels, because they simply require a few ceiling brackets and a curtain rod.
When shopping for sound reducing curtains, make sure that the material is a thick, sturdy material such as suede or polyester, and again, try to find the thickest curtains available.
Install vibration pads or mounds
And the last method that I highly recommend is to install vibration pads or mounds underneath the machines.
You see, it is typical for this machines to vibrate as they operate, and while they are not as violent as a dishwasher or washing machine, they do cause an impact, especially on concrete floors.
Using vibration pads is an excellent way to reduce vibrations and noise since they absorb most of the impact.
Plus, they are super affordable.
Recommended tools for this project
If you are looking to get starting with this project, here are some tools that I recommend to help you along.
Floor soundproofing: QuietWalk Laminate Flooring Underlayment
Floor soundproofing: Multipurpose EVA Foam Floor Tiles
Floor soundproofing: Neoprene Sponge Foam Rubber Sheet Roll
Wall soundproofing: Acoustic Foam Panels
Wall soundproofing: Moving Blankets
Soundproofing gaps and cracks: Weatherstripping tape
Soundproofing gaps around doors: Door Draft Stoppers
Soundproofing louvered doors: Soundproof curtains
Soundproofing HVAC machines: Vibration pads and mounds
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the quietest furnace?
According to many utility companies, the quietest furnace is the Lennox SLP98V with SilentComfort™ Technology.
This furnace offers one of the lowest decibel (dB) level for your utility space.
What is the best insulation to soundproof a room?
It is widely accepted that the best insulation for soundproofing a room is mineral wool insulation that contains glass fiber.
Another popular material is Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV).
What is the cheapest way to soundproof a wall?
The cheapest way to soundproof a wall is by installing acoustic foam panels. They usually come with self adhesive tape and are very easy and cheap to install.
How do I stop sounds coming through walls?
It is hard to stop all sound from going through a wall, but by using many thick layers of soundproof materials you can reduce more noise.
This can mean installing foam acoustic panels on top of a thick soundproof blanket.
Can I soundproof a room cheaply?
Certainly! That is one of the goals of this blog, where I share with readers the best ways to soundproof on a budget.
Do soundproof panels keep noise out?
Soundproof panels work mainly to absorb and reduce the echo within a room, so they do make noise quieter, but they may not totally keep noise out.
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Conclusion: Are you going to soundproof your utility room?
I think these steps are sufficient to dampen the noise of most utility closets.
There is no way to achieve 100%, unless you are willing to spend a mini fortune and hire professionals.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have a high level of peace at home though, as these methods will definitely make a positive impact.
Did you try these methods out?
Let me know if it worked for you!
Other interesting reads:
- How To Reduce Floor Vibrations? 2 Different Solutions That Works!
- Are White Noise Machines Safe?
- How to soundproof a skylight? Easy methods that work
- Sound Deadening Curtains: Do They Actually Work? See 5 That Does
- 4 Best Quiet Drum Set: Practice Silently At Home!
- 6 Best Quiet Coffee Grinders (Updated 2021)
- Gas Oven Sounds Like A Blowtorch: Incredibly Simple Fixes