Are Portable Air Conditioners Noisy?

by | Apr 19, 2018 | AC Maintenance

Have you been tempted to cool down your home with a portable air conditioning unit? These small boxes can fit conveniently in your window or right on the floor. They are a great solution if your home isn’t built with the ductwork to accommodate a central air conditioning unit. Portable air conditioners are also much cheaper and easier to install than a central air conditioning unit.

Unfortunately, many homeowners find that they aren’t prepared for the noise that accompanies these smaller units. It’s true that a portable air conditioner is going to come with a much greater noise level. Understanding where the noise comes from might give you a better idea of what to expect from your unit and how to minimize the sound.


The location of the portable air conditioner is the biggest factor in terms of its noise. Many homeowners are accustomed to the dampened sound from having their central air conditioning unit on the outside of their home. Now, the entire portable unit is found in their main living areas. The compressor, fan, and all of the other mechanized parts are bound to create some ruckus while they cool down your house.


Another factor in determining the noise level of your portable air conditioner is where you position it. Some people prefer the idea of setting it on a hard surface so that it doesn’t stain their carpet if it leaks. However, the softer surfaces are actually more apt to quiet the sound of your portable AC unit. The vibration of the unit’s motor and fan will make a much louder sound on a hard surface floor. You can minimize some of this vibration by placing a rug or towels underneath the feet on your unit.


In addition to the vibration, your portable AC unit could be loud due to the setting you have it on. Higher fan settings are likely to be noisier than lower ones. If you are bothered by the noise of the unit, try turning it down to a lower setting while you are in the room. This could cool down your room less, but it will be more pleasant for you to listen to. Just remember to turn it back up whenever you leave the room to keep everything cool and comfortable.


Not all portable air conditioning units are created equally. You’re likely to find that some have a significantly higher decibel rating than others. It’s usually recommended to search for a unit with decibel ratings between forty and sixty decibels. These are quieter models that can still be powerful enough to cool down your room. At this level, the sound is comparable to rainfall or the humming of the dishwasher.

About The Author

John Magninat

John Magninat

Owner John Magninat is a third generation air conditioning repair man. Classic Services Air Conditioning & Heating is a family company with family values and our customers are our top priority.

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