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How much sound does a heat pump make?

If you’re considering investing in an air source heat pump, it’s important to understand how heat pumps work and things to consider before installation - including how much noise they make.
a white bungalow with a grassy garden and an aroTHERM plus heat pump in front of it. There is blue skies and clouds

There is a common misconception that heat pumps, specifically air source heat pumps generate a lot of noise because of the outdoor unit's fan when in use.

However, the level of noise a heat pump produces depends on what type of heat pump you have, the size of the external unit, and how close it is to your home.

In this guide, we’ll debunk some myths about how much noise a heat pump makes, so, if you’re looking to upgrade your current heating system, you know what to expect.

heat pump infront of a white house in a garden

Are heat pumps noisy ?

Heat pumps are a more energy-efficient option compared to gas boilers as they use renewable energy and electricity to provide you with heating and hot water for your home.

Heat pumps are not noisy but they do create some sound when operating to provide heating and hot water for your home. Your installer must comply with MCS 020 to ensure your new heat pump is not disturbing you or your neighbours.

What does an air source heat pump sound like?

An air source heat pump is similar in sound to a dishwasher or a microwave, meaning they are classed as low in sound and not disruptive. Hear how homeowner John likened the sound of his aroTHERM plus heat pump as part of our Heat Pump Possible campaign.

The aroTHERM plus air source heat pump is known for being one of the quietest models of heat pump in the industry. It has a sound power as low as 54dB(A) in a three meter distance and the 3.5, 5, 7 and 12kW (10kW excluded) has been accredited by Quiet Mark.

This means that no matter what type of home you live in, the aroTHERM plus gives you flexibility in where it is positioned outside your home and will not disturb the neighbouring property.

What does a ground source heat pump sound like?

Ground source heat pumps are suitable for homes that have sufficient outdoor space to dig a borehole or ground array for installation.

Ground source heat pumps are quieter than air source heat pumps. The indoor unit sits inside your home and is usually installed in a garage or utility room. It emits a low level of noise which is similar to the sound of a modern fridge.

Vaillant’s flexoTHERM ground source heat pump is exceptionally quiet and is only 48.5B(A). The 400V range has been Quiet Mark accredited.

Where is the best place to install my heat pump to help reduce noise levels?

For air source heat pumps, they usually sit close to your property to run electricity to. Depending on your house, this could be at the front of your house or your garden.

If you have neighbours and live in a terrace house, flat or semi-detached property, try and avoid having the heat pump installed close to their property. Although the noise is minimal, there is a potential they could hear it running.

We recommend a barrier such as a fence or a hedge is installed between you and your neighbours to reduce noise levels. Where possible, we also recommend not installing a heat pump on the corner of your property. This reduces the number of reflective surfaces such as walls where sound could rebound.

If this cannot be avoided because of your outdoor space, it may be worth speaking to your neighbours before the installation to let them know your plans.

Watch our video 'heat pump considerations and expected costs' which covers the best place to install a heat pump:

What is Quiet Mark ?

Quiet Mark is an independent global certification that awards high-performance products for their quiet operation. The aroTHERM plus* has been awarded Quiet Mark status meaning when in operation, it won’t disturb you and your neighbours by limiting unwanted noise levels.

*excludes the 10kW model.


  • Are heat pumps quieter than boilers?

    Even though heat pumps are bigger, heat pumps are no louder than the flue exhaust from a boiler. It is perfectly normal for gas boilers to make a quiet whirring noise when they are first ignited or when they are circulating water around the boiler’s burner and the heat exchanger.

  • How to reduce heat pump noise?

    To reduce any noise from your air source heat pump, consider adding anti-vibration feet to the outdoor unit. These feet will elevate the pump off the ground, minimising any mechanical vibrations that can lead to some nuisance noise.

  • Are heat pumps louder in winter?

    When it’s cold outside, your aroTHERM plus may make slightly more noise as it will have to work a little harder to provide heating and hot water for your home. However, the noise will still sound like a low-humming noise and is nothing to worry about.

    If the outdoor temperature drops below 2.5 degrees, your aroTHERM plus will go into de-icing mode which clears the ice from the back of the outdoor unit. During this process, you may hear a whooshing sound as the heat pump carries out this cycle and a plume of steam from the unit. This is perfectly normal and part of the defrost cycle.

    Read our blog, 'How to look after your heat pump in the Winter' article.

Enjoy the silence of a Vaillant heat pump for yourself