Early design, meticulous equipment selection and careful installation play a large part in ensuring that the noise levels of the completed climate control system remain within the required comfort parameters, even when operating at full capacity. Target sound values for bedrooms and habitable rooms are 20 dB(A) which is termed as ‘Faint Audible’ and 35 dB(A) for living zones, termed as ‘Very quiet’. Noise is a well-recognised health risk that may have negative impacts on our health and wellbeing.
Acoustic treatment is applied to the inside and outside of climate control and ventilation systems and ductwork. Treatment materials absorb and diffuse sound energy within the system to prevent them becoming audible in habitable rooms. Noise may be generated by the passage of air through straight ducts and the impact of air flowing through components such as bends, branches, and plenums, so attenuation of this is important. In addition, external environmental noise may be an issue, for example if the building is adjacent to a road system, noise from this may travel through the supply air ductwork. So lining ducts with a suitable acoustic treatment will assist in the reduction of duct transmitted noises.
Duct attenuators are boxes expressly designed to absorb and diffuse sound, generally installed near noise sources like fans, air handling units, air flow regulators, air dampers and fire dampers. This helps to prevent excessive sound levels within the system. Ductwork between sensitive rooms may require crosstalk attenuators, which actively reduce sound transmission ratings where air is transferred between adjoining spaces. Crosstalk attenuators provide excellent attenuation of speech and unwanted noise while permitting fresh air to circulate continuously.
An Acoustic Enclosure is likely to be a consideration to avoid the impact of noise generated by external condensers on neighbouring properties, but increasingly commonly they are being selected to satisfy existing planning permission stipulations. Strict sound regulations typically apply in city or suburban residential areas where buildings are built closer together, and these enclosures are designed to maintain an efficient airflow ensuring high performance, while at the same time reducing the generated noise to acceptable levels.
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