Best Ways to Reduce HVAC Noise in an Open Office Space

Office distractions are terrible for productivity. While open office spaces are great for promoting employee comradery and cubicles still offer some modicum of privacy, they also allow for plenty of noise to disturb important work. HVAC noise might seem trivial, but it’s one of the more distracting and troublesome sounds that can plague a workspace and should therefore be taken seriously. So what can you do to reduce HVAC noise?

6 Steps to Reduce HVAC Noise

There are several simple ways to fight unwanted HVAC sounds. These solutions assume your HVAC system is functioning correctly, so if the sounds are due to a lack of maintenance or need for repair, make sure you tackle that first.

1.   Absorb the Noise

Since office spaces contain mostly 90-degree angles and hard surfaces, sound waves can bounce around easily. So while your office might favor a modern, minimalist aesthetic with spare appointments and sharp angles, there are still steps you can take.

Carpeting is excellent at absorbing sound, and drop ceilings can maintain a modern vibe while stifling unwanted noise. Consider adding plants and soft furniture in strategic locations for the same purpose.

2.   Invest in Quieter Equipment

If you have an older HVAC unit, it likely has a few issues. For one thing, it could operate on outdated technology that’s not capable of running as quietly as modern systems. It also might be nearing the end of its operational life, when strange noises often become more prevalent. Lastly, there’s a chance it’s too large and powerful for the space, causing it to cycle on and off constantly.

Check out variable refrigerant flow (VRF) AC systems if you’re considering replacing your current ones. VRF technology allows the HVAC unit to provide just the right amount of cooling in a constant stream. That way, the unit doesn’t switch on and off all day.

3.   Deploy White Noise

HVAC machinery is distracting primarily because the shift from silence to noise and back again is so jarring. By contrast, white noise is constant, meaning it’s easy to tune out.

You can either pump white noise throughout your open office space or provide individual white noise-producing speakers for particularly distractible employees. You could even provide noise-canceling headphones to take things to the next level.

4.   Move Your Equipment

Specific HVAC equipment like fans and air handlers might be too close to working spaces. Not only will this cause unwanted noise, but it can also lead to uneven heating and cooling. You’ll want to consult with an expert to correct this issue. A professional can suggest improvements for duct locations, new places for fans, and possibly changing to quieter equipment.

5.   Provide Quiet Spaces

If some areas in your office are naturally quieter than others, they can be cordoned off to serve as quiet spaces. Install acoustic absorption paneling and put in some comfy couches to reduce HVAC noise and create a pleasant escape from irritating sounds. As a bonus, your quiet corner can also be an excellent place to entertain clients and visitors.

6.   Install Sound Boots

Aside from managing HVAC sounds, sound boots are an excellent way to address unwanted general noise and cross-talk. Installing sound boots is simple and doesn’t require the assistance of expensive professionals.

Trust the Severn Group to Help with Office HVAC

You need expert help to ensure exceptional results. The Severn Group proudly serves businesses throughout Washington, D.C., and Maryland, and we’re known for our proficiency in all things HVAC.

Whether you need to mask HVAC noise, replace equipment, or reroute your layout, we’re ready to help. Contact us today to schedule your consultation or get a quote for our services.