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Find and Fix Noise Issues

Posted September 21, 2015 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

A noisy HVAC system can be a huge hassle for building occupants, as well as an indicator of a growing mechanical problem within the system itself. How do you fix it? Since most of the noise is probably being generated by vibration, there are a number of solutions to quiet things down, from isolation pads to flexible pipe connectors. Still, it can be a challenge to simply track down the source of the unwanted noise in the first place. Consulting Specifying Engineer takes an in-depth look at diagnosing and addressing noise in HVAC systems, including the two biggest components of vibration management.


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#1

Re: Find and Fix Noise Issues

09/21/2015 4:00 PM

I recall a story concerning an Air Force administration building with a subsonic vibration problem that was eventually traced to the ductwork, constructed without the cross breaking that prevents this.

The office workers suffered from symptoms that included intestinal upset.

The blower drive belt on our rooftop unit gives a low pulse when it is going bad. Oops!

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Guru

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#2
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Re: Find and Fix Noise Issues

09/22/2015 11:49 PM

Low frequency sound (and vibration which causes it) is much more difficult to control.

We put active noise cancellation on an M-60 Patton tank motor and tested it in the desert at Edwards AFB once. The speakers and enclosures were massive.

JBL built the two speakers and boxes for us and I think they were over $10K each. Too long ago to remember for sure. That was a fun trip and job.

We weren't allowed to take any pictures.

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Guru

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In reply to #2

Re: Find and Fix Noise Issues

09/23/2015 9:55 AM

A friend and I happened to be near a small airport (One of Henry Ford's old Trimotor airports) at night, in the late 70's when we noticed a light low in the sky. We got out of the car and a searchlight beam hit the ground a few yards from us. The cabin lights came on and we could see what looked like a helicopter cockpit.

The strange thing was, there was no sound, not even cricket's.

That was unforgettable.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Find and Fix Noise Issues

09/24/2015 1:49 AM

Cool.

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