Are Heat Pumps Noisy? What to Expect

Chat to us on WhatsApp now

When considering the installation of a heat pump, one common concern is noise. Given that heat pumps play a crucial role in both heating and cooling homes, understanding their acoustic footprint is essential. In this blog, we’ll explore whether heat pumps are noisy, what you can expect in terms of sound levels, and how to mitigate any potential noise issues.

At Highflow Heating and Plumbing, expertise meets excellence. With over 60 years of experience, our advanced team of engineers are able to provide comprehensive solutions to a full range of plumbing and heating requirements across Croydon and the surrounding areas.

Whether it’s installations, repairs, or maintenance, we pride ourselves on our ability to deliver reliability and customer satisfaction. Call us at 01689 843 582 or send us an email at and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

“Contact Highflow for high quality heating and plumbing services”

Understanding Heat Pump Operation

To understand why heat pumps might produce noise, it’s helpful to understand their operation. A heat pump extracts heat from the air, ground, or water outside your home and transfers it inside. This process involves several components, including a compressor, fans, and refrigerant flow. These elements can generate varying levels of sound.

Decibels and Perception of Noise

Noise is measured in decibels (dB). For your understanding, a whisper is around 30 dB, normal conversation is about 60 dB, and a lawnmower can reach 90 dB. The perception of noise is subjective; what one person finds tolerable; another might find disruptive. Therefore, understanding the typical noise levels associated with heat pumps is crucial.

Noise Levels of Different Heat Pumps

1. Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs):

  • Outdoor Unit: The outdoor unit, which contains the compressor and fan, is the primary source of noise. Modern ASHPs typically produce noise levels between 40 to 60 dB. High-efficiency models are designed to operate quietly, often producing sound comparable to a moderate rainfall (about 50 dB).
  • Indoor Unit: The indoor unit, responsible for distributing air, usually operates at lower noise levels, around 20 to 30 dB, similar to the hum of a refrigerator.

2. Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHPs):

  • External Noise: GSHPs are generally quieter than ASHPs because the heat exchange process occurs underground, reducing the need for noisy fans and compressors.
  • Indoor Noise: Like ASHPs, the indoor units of GSHPs also operate quietly, around 20 to 30 dB.

3. Water Source Heat Pumps:

  • Noise Levels: These systems are akin to GSHPs in terms of noise because they utilise water sources like lakes or wells. The noise level is relatively low, similar to that of GSHPs.

Factors Affecting Noise Levels

Several factors can influence the noise levels of heat pumps:

  • Installation Quality: Proper installation is critical. Poor installation can lead to vibrations and increased noise levels. Ensuring the unit is placed on a stable, level surface and that all components are securely fastened can mitigate noise.
  • Location: The placement of the outdoor unit is crucial. Installing it away from bedroom windows and living areas can reduce perceived noise. Additionally, situating the unit behind a barrier or in a secluded part of the garden can help.
  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance is essential to keep the system running smoothly and quietly. This includes cleaning or replacing filters, checking for loose components, and ensuring the refrigerant levels are adequate.
  • Model and Brand: The noise levels can vary significantly between different models and brands. High-end models often feature noise-reduction technologies, such as variable speed compressors and insulated cabinets.

Mitigating Heat Pump Noise

If you’re concerned about noise, there are several strategies you can employ to mitigate it:

  • Sound Barriers: Erecting a sound barrier, such as a fence or a wall, can block and deflect noise. These barriers should be close to the unit and made of materials that absorb sound, like wood or dense vegetation.
  • Vibration Dampeners: Installing anti-vibration mounts or pads under the unit can reduce the noise caused by vibrations. These dampeners absorb the vibrations, preventing them from transferring to the ground or building structure.
  • Acoustic Enclosures: For extreme cases, consider using an acoustic enclosure. These enclosures are designed to encase the outdoor unit and are made from sound-absorbing materials, significantly reducing noise emissions.
  • Professional Assessment: Consulting with a professional installer can provide tailored solutions to minimise noise. They can assess your specific situation and recommend the best course of action.


Heat pumps, while not entirely silent, are generally designed to operate quietly. The noise levels depend on the type of heat pump, the quality of installation, and the specific model. By understanding the typical noise levels and employing strategies to mitigate them, you can enjoy the many benefits of a heat pump without significant noise disruption.

When selecting a heat pump, consider models known for their quiet operation and ensure professional installation. Regular maintenance will also keep noise levels in check. With these measures, you can look forward to efficient, environmentally friendly heating and cooling without the worry of excessive noise.

Contact Highflow today for installation

Got a question? Get in touch

Our team of plumbers and heating engineers are here to help, so don’t hold back. Whatever your query, get in touch. You can call us on 01689 843 582 or send us an email at