If you have a window a/c unit, you know that with the sweet relief of cold air, comes a new issue: noise. Trying the little accordion panels the unit comes with or cutting particle board to go around it, you’re inviting street noise and neighbors conversations in for the summer.

 
soundproof window air conditioner with window insert in large window
 

So, do window air conditioners and street noise go hand in hand? They don’t have to! We’re here to tell you how to soundproof a window air conditioner.

There are two main ways to soundproof a window air conditioner against street noise using a window insert. Both allow you to remove the window a/c unit and so are perfect for renters or homeowners.

 

First Way to Soundproof a Window Air Conditioner for Street Noise

There are two main problems with the framing material a/c units come with. The material itself isn’t a good sound barrier, and doesn’t sit flush against the unit, letting even more noise in.

 
soundproof window air conditioner with window insert
 

Getting a custom-measured window insert cut to fit the shape of the window a/c unit will block window air conditioner street noise. They are made of acrylic, which blocks better than glass, and surrounded by tubing on all sides. The tubing will press against the window frame and the a/c unit creating a noise barrier that compresses against every open area of your window.

 

To be able to install this soundproof window air conditioner:

  • The sides of surrounding a/c must be at least 6” wide. Otherwise, the legs of the window insert risk snapping off.
  • Cutting the corners that surround the a/c unit reverses the process we normally perform to create inserts. This increases the risk of tearing the tubing around the insert.
    • Optional: you can leave off the tubing and place weather stripping around the a/c unit.
  • Check for dents in the a/c unit - this can make it harder to create an insert for.
 

Second Window Air Conditioner Street Noise Solution

Create two window inserts that fit into your window frame without an a/c unit in place. These window inserts will be separated by a mullion. During the summer, remove the lower insert and install the window a/c unit. Place insulation on either side of the air conditioner and use weather stripping to fill the gap between the upper window insert and a/c unit.

You can also use L brackets to keep the upper window insert in place if you don’t want to install a mullion (but mullions have the best noise reduction). If you don’t want to just stare at insulation from the outside of your house, you can decorate it however you want—paint, stickers, glitter—we won’t judge. Just don’t use solvents that will dissolve the insulation.

 
soundproof window air conditioner with insulation surrounding unit
 

You create the foam “insert” just like the acrylic panels above. Make a U shape that will go around the a/c unit and fit in the window. Push it in around the unit so it’s snug. You can squeeze it back out when you want to remove the air conditioner. Be careful not to damage the foam or the a/c unit.

 

Installing Window A/C Unit with Storm Windows

  1. A custom-measured window insert cut to fit the shape of the window a/c unit.
  2. Create two window inserts that fit into your window frame without an a/c unit in place.

Using either of these options to soundproof window air conditioners will help you sleep through the night: you get to keep your cool air and stop the street noise!

We’ve worked with customers who have a/c units in lots of interesting places, even skylights! They don’t always end up with the solution they thought they would, but they end up happy.

Contact us today to soundproof your window air conditioner against street noise.