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Before installing a heat pump the effects of noise from the unit on your property, as well as neighbouring properties, should be considered. Noise problems usually occur when the effects of noise emission from the outdoor unit are not carefully considered when selecting its location, such as facing the unit directly at a neighbour’s window.

Site Selection

The following should be carefully considered when selecting the location for the outdoor unit:

1. Noise travels in straight lines and can be reflected by walls, brick fences and other hard surfaces.

2. Consider the surrounding environment’s background noise levels and chose a unit to suit. The lower the dB(A) level the better.

3. Locate the unit as far away from your bedrooms and the neighbour’s bedrooms as possible.

4. Never face the condenser fan discharge directly towards the window of a neighbour’s residence, particularly those of habitable rooms or outdoor living areas. The unit should face the boundary fence of the property furthest away from the adjoining residences.

5. Try to avoid mounting the outdoor unit on the house wall and in particular above ground level, as this can result in unimpeded transmission of noise to neighbouring properties. The outdoor unit should be mounted at ground level if possible. The unit should be mounted on a solid base, preferably a concrete pad or blocks. To help minimise vibration the unit should be mounted on rubber pads or other suitable material.

6. Where refrigeration lines pass through walls there must be adequate clearance and insulation, this will help prevent vibration within walls, as this has the potential to magnify noise.

7. Fences and walls between your property and the neighbours may help to reduce noise transmission. These may be used to advantage when locating the outdoor unit. It is important to remember that while a brick fence may prevent noise travelling to the neighbour on the other side it will also reflect the noise.


Heat pumps installation contractors are in the best position to prevent problems before they occur so it is important that an experienced contractor installs the heat pump. The noise from the installation of a heat pump must not infringe on your neighbour’s right to enjoy their environment. You may be required to move the unit if a noise nuisance is created. Talk to your neighbours before you have a heat pump installed, to help ensure that there will not be any impact on their living areas. Do not install a unit where it is evident a potential noise nuisance may be created that will impact on the surrounding neighbourhood. Seek an alternative heating solution. After installation it is important that the unit is routinely serviced to ensure that noise nuisance from rattles, vibrations and worn parts is not created over time.

The Law

The Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation

2008 (the ‘Regulation’) views heat pumps in a similar manner to air conditioners and the Regulation controls them in a similar way: by restricting the times they can be used when they can be heard within a habitable room of another residence (regardless of whether any door or window to that room is open).

The Regulation restricts the use of noisy heat pumps between:

• 10 pm and 8 am Saturday, Sunday and public holidays

• 10 pm and 7 am on any other day.

The maximum penalty prescribed under this legislation is 100 penalty units in the case of a corporation, 50 penalty units in the case of an individual.

The operation of heat pumps within the restricted hours does not constitute an automatic offence. An offence only occurs if a heat pump is heard in a habitable room of another residence during restricted hours and after a warning has been given. The aim of the Regulation is to minimise impacts on neighbours where heat pumps are inappropriately sited or operated.

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