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How Noisy Are Heat Pumps?

How noisy are heat pumps? You might be surprised to learn that a heat pump is often quieter than a gas boiler. The exact volume of a heat pump will depend on the make and model that you choose, as heat pumps come in a wide range of sizes and varieties. However, you’ll find that most heat pumps are extremely quiet running, with the noise levels rarely causing an issue for homeowners.

In this article, we’ll explore the noise levels generated by heat pumps in more detail, including answering the question of exactly how noisy a typical heat pump is in comparison to other household appliances.

How Noisy Is An Air Source Heat Pump?

If you’re thinking about having an air source heat pump installed in your property, you might be wondering exactly how noisy you can expect it to be. Of course, noise isn’t just a concern for your own property, but you also need to be sure that it won’t impact your neighbours or damage your relationship with others living nearby.

You may be surprised to learn that there is a legal limit to how noisy a heat pump can be. The legal noise limit for heat pumps in the UK is 42 decibels. This is measured from the nearest neighbouring property. But just how noisy is 42 decibels in real terms?

42 decibels is the average volume for a refrigerator. So, that low humming that you hear as you walk past your refrigerator? That’s how you can expect your heat pump to sound. This is a similar volume to the whirring of a laptop or computer, which you’d often not even notice.

To help to put the volume of a heat pump into perspective, we’ve compared it to that of other household sounds and appliances in the table below.

NoiseVolume (in decibels)
Breathing10
Quiet room30
Laptop40
Heat pump noise limit42
Refrigerator42
Normal conversation60
Dishwasher65
Vacuum cleaner85
Hair dryer90

As you can see, heat pumps are often equivalent in volume to a refrigerator or laptop, and quieter than a conversation, a dishwasher or a vacuum cleaner. Of course, noise levels will vary depending on the make and model of the appliance or heat pump, so it’s always best to check with the manufacturer regarding the noise level of your chosen heat pump to be sure.

Are Heat Pumps Noisy For Neighbours?

It’s only natural to be concerned about your neighbours if you are considering having a heat pump installed outside your property. No one wants to cause conflict, so keeping the noise levels down is important to maintain relations with your neighbours. So, how much noise pollution do heat pumps cause, and will it be a concern to your neighbours?

The legal noise limit for a heat pump is 42 decibels. This is measured from the nearest neighbouring property. So, the loudest your heat pump should be at the boundary to your neighbour’s property is 42 decibels. To put that into perspective, this is a similar volume to a refrigerator.

Now, consider whether you can hear your refrigerator when you stand outside your property. This is how your neighbour will hear your heat pump when they are inside their home. In fact, even if you’re stood right next to a refrigerator, you’re unlikely to be bothered by the noise. So, you can rest assured that your heat pump is unlikely to cause any neighbourly disputes as a result of noise pollution.

Are Heat Pumps Louder Than Air Conditioners?

If you are concerned about the noise levels that a heat pump generates, you might be wondering how it compares to an air conditioning unit in terms of its volume.

Both air conditioning units and heat pumps generate a similar level of noise. Which heating and cooling system will be quieter will depend on the make and model that you choose, as well as its power rating. This means that some heat pumps may be louder than an air conditioning unit, whilst others may be quieter.

If noise is a key consideration in your decision to install a heat pump, it’s worth consulting with a qualified installer. They will be able to advise you on the best heat pump for your individual circumstances, helping to keep noise levels to a minimum whilst heating your home efficiently.

Air Source Vs Ground Source – Which Is Quieter

Air Source Vs Ground Source – Which Is Quieter?

When it comes to air source vs ground source, many people wonder which is the quieter option. In general, ground source heat pumps tend to be slightly quieter than air source heat pumps. This is because there’s no fan component required, helping to reduce noise levels.

However, whether you choose an air source heat pump or a ground source heat pump, the exact volume will depend on the model that you choose, as well as the size of the unit required to heat your property. If you’re worried about noise levels, it’s best to consult with a heat pump installation engineer, who can talk you through your options.

Are Heat Pumps Silent?

Unfortunately, heat pumps are not completely silent. This is because heat pumps consist of moving components which will naturally generate a small amount of noise. However, there is a legal noise limit of 42 decibels which applies to heat pumps. This means that your heat pump cannot generate more than 42 decibels of noise, measured from the nearest neighbouring property. So, you can rest assured that the noise generated by your heat pump will not be excessive.

Luckily, the noise generated by a heat pump is quiet and consistent, often described as white noise. This means that the noise blends into the background rather than being disruptive, meaning that many people won’t even notice the noise that a heat pump creates.

So, whilst a heat pump is not silent, you’re unlikely to notice any disruption from the noise, and your neighbours won’t be likely to complain about noise pollution.

Is It OK For A Heat Pump To Run All Night?

If you like to have a warm house during the night, you might be wondering whether your heat pump can be left running through the night. Luckily, heat pumps have been designed to run for long periods of time, so there should be no issues with leaving your heat pump running all night long. In fact, it’s actually encouraged!

In fact, many manufacturers recommend that you never turn your heat pump off. This is because heat pumps heat at a low level over long periods of time, so heating your home from scratch with a heat pump will be expensive and could take several days.

Whilst we’d recommend lowering the temperature of your heat pump overnight, we’d never recommend turning your heat pump off, as the cost to heat your home in the morning would be higher than if you’d left your heat pump running at a lower temperature overnight.

How Do I Make My Heat Pump Quieter?

If you find that your heat pump is generating more noise than usual, we’d always suggest contacting a specialist heat pump engineer to identify the problem. Whilst heat pumps do generate a small amount of noise during operation, this noise shouldn’t be excessive and any changes to the running noise should be investigated in case of any problems.

If your heat pump noise is investigated by an engineer and deemed to be normal, one way to reduce the noise that your heat pump makes is to install dampeners. These can either be placed under the feet of your heat pump unit or onto the bolts that hold the compressor in place. These dampeners will reduce vibration, helping to lower the volume of your heat pump.

How Loud Should A Heat Pump Be

How Loud Should A Heat Pump Be?

Noise is a common concern when it comes to heat pumps. If you’ve got a heat pump installed in your property, it’s only natural that you may be questioning whether the noise that it generates is normal.

A heat pump should be around the same volume as your refrigerator. The noise that it generates should be a consistent noise, similar to the hum or whirring you’d hear with a refrigerator or a laptop. If your heat pump is rattling or making loud noises, it’s important that you get it checked out by a qualified heat pump engineer. They will be able to check for any problems with your heat pump and determine whether the noise created by the heat pump is normal or a cause for concern.

Is 70 db Loud For A Heat Pump?

In the UK, the legal limit for heat pump noise is 42 decibels. However, this volume is measured from the nearest neighbouring property. So, whilst your heat pump shouldn’t exceed 42 decibels in volume at your nearest boundary, it may be slightly louder than this if you’re standing nearby.

Luckily, the noise generated by a heat pump is classified as white noise. This means that the sound is constant and consistent, so you are unlikely to find it offensive. In fact, some people even find that the humming of a heat pump is a soothing sound that can help them to relax and unwind!

Are Heat Pumps Louder In The Winter?

During the winter months, your heat pump will need to work harder. This is because heat in the air is not as readily available when outdoor temperatures are lower. This means that your heat pump will need to work harder to extract heat from the air and to amplify this heat enough to heat your home and your hot water.

When your heat pump works harder, you might notice that the noise it generates is louder. This is because the internal components of your heat pump are under more strain. It’s completely normal for your heat pump to make a bit more noise during the cold winter months. However, if this noise becomes excessive or suddenly changes, it’s best to get your heat pump checked over by a qualified heat pump engineer to check for any potential problems.

Are New Heat Pumps Quieter?

The good news is that heat pumps are becoming quieter as the technology advances. Whilst the first heat pumps to be manufactured were often noisy during operation, new ways to reduce the volume of heat pumps are continuously being developed, leading to modern heat pumps becoming quieter and quieter.

If you hear people complaining about the volume of heat pumps, it’s likely they’re talking about an older unit which may be 10-15 years old. These older heat pumps were often noisier, as a result of the new and developing technology. As technology has advanced, manufacturers have found new ways to minimise the noise generated by heat pumps, enabling them to become quieter than ever before.

As technology continues to develop, it’s likely that heat pumps will continue to get quieter, until noise will no longer be a consideration when you’re thinking about installing a heat pump.  

In Summary

In the UK, the legal limit for the volume of a heat pump is 42 decibels. This is measured from the nearest neighbouring property. So, the noise your heat pump generates may be slightly louder than 42 decibels when you’re up close, but at the boundary to your neighbour’s property it should be no louder than the hum of a refrigerator.

If you’re concerned about the noise your heat pump is making, or if you notice any sudden changes to how your heat pump sounds, it’s always best to get it checked over by an experienced heat pump engineer. They will be able to check for any potential problems, helping to avoid the breakdown of your heat pump.

In this article, we’ve answered the question ‘how noisy are heat pumps?’, as well as exploring the noise generated by heat pumps in more detail. If you have any questions regarding heat pumps, or if you’re thinking of having a heat pump installed in your property, get in touch today for an air source heat pump grant or ground source heat pump grant.

Clive Whyte

I'm Clive, a sustainability advocate and green energy expert. I have over 25 years of industry experience and now I spend my time sharing my knowledge online with the hope of educating Britain towards a more sustainable future.