The arrival of colder temperatures is evident everywhere you look—sweaters and scarves have replaced shorts and sandals, the colorful leaves of autumn are long gone from the trees, and breezy open windows have given way to the familiar roar of the home furnace. But for some, starting up the furnace on that first chilly night of the winter season brings a grim reminder of a problem that has been pleasantly absent over the past few months: a disturbingly loud furnace.
Furnace noise originates from several sources. A loud furnace motor can be a major nuisance, and is the sound source targeted in most furnace soundproofing projects. Airflow through ducts can also be a source of unwanted noise, particularly when components are old or otherwise in poor condition. Even with a furnace situated in a basement or remote mechanical room, unwanted noise can travel easily through walls, ceiling and openings and carry throughout the home.
Furnace rooms are usually surrounded at least partly by a system of ducts and pipes within the walls and ceiling of the room. At the inception of any furnace sound reduction endeavor, it is important to realize that the presence of such openings makes it impossible to completely eliminate the transmission of furnace noise into other parts of the home. Therefore, the goal in controlling furnace noise is to minimize unwanted sound transmission by isolating the furnace room from the rest of the home as much as possible. If your furnace is particularly loud, it may be a good idea to rule out any mechanical defects before implementing a sound reduction treatment. Performing preventative maintenance, if needed, is better than an emergency repair on a frigid day.
Fortunately, combating noise from a furnace can be accomplished inexpensively and with minimal effort. Controlling furnace noise involves containing noise within the furnace room, a task that can be approached in a couple of ways. One option for blocking the transmission of furnace noise is lining all wall surfaces with a heavyweight soundproofing membrane such as dB-Bloc, and establishing a disconnected surface by adding a layer of drywall onto a set of horizontal furring strips that have been attached atop the vinyl membrane. The added density coupled with the disconnected wall surface serves to collapse a majority of sound waves before they have the chance to enter adjoining rooms. An even simpler and more popular solution is to line walls with sound control blankets, which can be custom cut by a soundproofing supplier to match the dimensions needed for optimal sound control in your furnace room. Such blankets are a simple and cost effective solution, and can even be customized with openings to fit snugly around pipes and ductwork to optimize results. Such sound control blankets may also be affixed to a ceiling for added noise control.
An important aspect of sound reduction treatments aimed at decreasing unwanted furnace noise is ensuring that adequate protection is afforded for the application. An experienced soundproofing consultant and supplier can provide recommendations as to what treatments would be most effective based on the individual characteristics of your project.