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We have a 1080 sq. ft., 1-floor (no basement) house. Our furnace and cold air/AC returns/registers are literally almost in the living room/main sitting area and it's very loud year round, making for a not-very-pleasant time whenever my wife and I are trying to relax and watch TV, or do anything else in the main room of the house.

Besides spending thousands of dollars (that we don't have) moving the furnace to the attic or away from the room, is there ANY way to reduce the noise that the registers/returns make whenever we run out hot/cold air system? I've looked elsewhere without finding any good solutions.

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    Can you describe the sound in terms of 'treble/bass'? Higher pitched sounds can be blocked reasonably effectively with such as rockwool, but deep bass sounds need mass, they will go straight through anything light or resonant. If the sound is also being transmitted by the floor, then you'd also need to isolate it from the floor by lifting the entire structure up from the floor, on concrete blocks & engineering rubber. Also, what are your walls made of, drywall, brick or block?
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 1, 2022 at 18:53
  • I also just noticed how much venting there is on the front of that door - if you replace that with a heavy solid door & potentially sealing rubber around the frame,, then you'd likely have to use some sort of forced air system to vent it out through the ceiling. idk how much 'fresh air' something like that needs, but whatever it requires, you cannot starve it in this endeavour.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 1, 2022 at 19:00
  • The door venting is probably the cold-air return vent, in a system sited like this.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jan 1, 2022 at 21:43
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    you can remove the grille on the one behind the cabinet to reduce it's wind noise. you can yank out the directional louvers behind the grill on the top register, which cuts down on turbulence/noise. If it's a loud mechanical noise coming through the walls, tacking towels onto the furnace room's walls will dampen the noise a lot, almost as good as pro acoustical treatments.
    – dandavis
    Jan 2, 2022 at 0:07
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    Towels won't ignite until several hundred degrees, if it's that hot in your furnace room you got much bigger problems. Also, just thought of this: a towel on the back of the cabinet where the air slams it will suck up a lot of noise (and lint). I tested how well a lot of materials dampen and towels were comfortably ahead of everything i tested; think carpet, insulation, dynamat, foam, ceiling tiles, etc.
    – dandavis
    Jan 2, 2022 at 21:53

1 Answer 1

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I doubt there's a cheap fix. You have a noisy furnace, replacing it with something quieter (mini-split heat pumps do really well on this point, at least the good ones do - but they are not cheap, though rebates can help with the cost in many locations) will make a huge difference, trying to dampen the noise of an inherently noisy furnace will make small differences, most likely.

Changing to a variable speed or multi-speed fan might help if it's a single-speed setup, and that's possible (i.e. the furnace supports that, and won't simply overheat the heat exchanger with less airflow,) but it may not be very inexpensive. If (as is all too common) it's oversized, that might help a lot - if it's actually right-sized, lower speed might not be enough when you need lots of heat or cold.

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  • Unfortunately we just installed a brand new furnace, otherwise I'd be open to dishing out some extra money on quieter options bc its such a nuisance. I'll have to look into the variable speed fans with the installer and see if that would help/is an option. It's a very small space and heats up quick, so I'm assuming a lower speed might actually solve the at least some of the noise issues bc the furnace does push air out pretty unnecessarily quick.
    – alxmntrvl
    Jan 2, 2022 at 18:49
  • So, probably oversized, as ifs far too typical in the furnace market...good luck.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jan 2, 2022 at 18:52
  • @alxmntrvl I can only assume that the installer gave you a "good deal" by giving you the cheapest furnace they had; or worse, a known defective one. Last year I installed a GMVM97 and it has been whisper quiet even at max speed. It's in my basement but even when I'm down there I barely know it's on.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jan 4, 2022 at 13:42

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