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Sound Reduction

Sound Reduction

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Published by William Greco
The following was compiled to produce a lessons learned document for Engineering Projects involving mechanical system sound reduction.
The following was compiled to produce a lessons learned document for Engineering Projects involving mechanical system sound reduction.

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Published by: William Greco on May 11, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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General Procedure and Information for Mechanical System Sound Abatement DesignBill Greco April 16, 2009 Trident3w2gre@verizon.netPg1 of 11
The following was compiled to produce a lessons learned document forEngineering Projects involving mechanical system sound reduction.
1. Determine the design goal for HVAC system noise for each critical area according toits use and construction. Specify the desirable NC level goal.2. Relative to equipment that radiates sound directly into a room, select equipment thatwill be quiet enough to meet the desired design goal.3. lf central or roof-mounted mechanical equipment is used, look at the initial design andlayout of the HVAC system, using acoustical treatment where it appears appropriate.4. Starting at the fan, appropriately add the sound attenuations and sound power levelsassociated with the central fan(s), fan-powered mixing units (if used), and duct elementsbetween the central fan(s) and the room of interest to determine the corresponding soundpressure levels in the room. Be sure to investigate the supply and return air paths.Investigate possible duct sound breakout when central fans are adjacent to the room of interest or roof-mounted fans are above the room of interest.5. lf the mechanical equipment room is adjacent to the room of interest, determine thesound pressure levels in the room associated with sound transmitted through themechanical equipment room wall.6. Add the sound pressure levels in the room of interest that are associated with all of thesound paths between the mechanical equipment room or roof-mounted unit and the roomof interest.7. Determine the corresponding NC or RC level associated with the calculated total soundpressure levels in the room of interest.8. lf the NC or RC level exceeds the design goal, determine the octave frequency bands inwhich the corresponding sound pressure levels are exceeded and the sound paths that areassociated with these frequency bands.9. Redesign the system, adding additional sound attenuation to the paths which contributeto the excessive sound pressure levels in the room of interest.10. Make sure that noise radiated by outdoor equipment will not disturb adjacentproperties. With respect to outdoor equipment, use barriers when noise associated withthe equipment will disturb adjacent properties.
General Procedure and Information for Mechanical System Sound Abatement DesignBill Greco April 16, 2009 Trident3w2gre@verizon.netPg 2 of 1111. lf mechanical equipment is located on upper floors or is roof-mounted, vibrationisolate all reciprocating and rotating equipment. It may be necessary to vibration isolatemechanical equipment that is located in the basement of a building.12. lf possible, use flexible connectors between rotating and reciprocating equipment andpipes and ducts that are connected to the equipment.13. lf it is not possible to use flexible connectors between rotating and reciprocatingequipment and pipes and ducts connected to the equipment, use spring or neoprenehangers to vibration isolate the ducts and pipes within the first twenty feet of theequipment.14. Use either spring or neoprene hangers. Do not use both.15. Use flexible conduit between rigid electrical conduit and reciprocating and rotatingequipment.16. In spaces where ceiling plenum returns systems exist, replace return grilles withgrilles attached to lined elbows.17. Acoustic duct lagging applied to the exterior of ductwork can absorb some radiatedsound, this generally adds another one pound per square foot for 1 inch thick lagging,and two pounds per square foot for 2 inch thick lagging. Most low pressure sheet metalductwork (22 ga.) weighs about 1.2 pounds per square foot. Comparing the 1 inch thick duct lagging to the 2 inch lagging.Acoustic Duct Lagging Table-1WeightInsertion loss dBPriceTotal dB lossAt 500 Hz1 inch thick1 lb sqft5 dB80%23 dB2 inch thick2 lbs sqft8 db100%29 dB
The 2” thick acoustic lagging is not carried by all distributors and is usually used in onlyhigh temperature situations.The sound power generation of a given fan performing a specific task is best obtainedfrom the fan manufacturers test data. Manufacturers' test data should be obtained fromeither AMCA Standard 300-85, Reverberant Room Method for Sound Testing of Fans, or ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 68-1986/ANSI/AMCA Standard 330-86, LaboratoryMethod of Testing Duct Sound Power Measurement Procedure for Fans. When such dataare not available, the 1/1 octave band sound power levels for various fans can be estimated.
General Procedure and Information for Mechanical System Sound Abatement DesignBill Greco April 16, 2009 Trident3w2gre@verizon.netPg 3 of 11Fans generate a tone at the blade passage frequency. To account for this, the soundpower level in which the blade passage frequency occurs is increased by a specifiedamount. The number of decibels to be added to this is called the blade frequencyincrement.There are specific sound power levels associated with fan total sound power.
Aerodynamic noise
Aerodynamic noise is generated when airflow in the duct becomes turbulent as itpasses through sharp bends, sudden enlargements or contractions, and most devices thatcause substantial pressure drops. Aerodynamic noise is usually of no importance whenthe velocity of airflow is below 2000 feet per minute (10 m/s) in the main ducts; below1500 fpm (25 m/s) in branch ducts; and below 800 fpm (4 m/s) in ducts serving roomterminal devices. When the duct system velocities are in excess of the above or when theduct does not follow good airflow design principles, aerodynamic noise can become amajor problem. Increasing the duct size may be required to reduce the noise generatedby airflow.Aerodynamic noise is predominantly low frequency in spectrum (31.5 through 500Hz 1/'l octave band center frequencies). Low frequency energy is transmittedreadily, with little loss, through the light gauge walls of ducts and through suspendedacoustic ceilings.This includes: dampers, elbows with turning vanes, elbows without turning vanes, junctions, and 90 degree branch takeoffs.
Duct Terminal Devices
Dampers in terminal devices that are used for balancing can greatly affect the soundlevel in the space.Pressure reducing valves in mixing and variable volume boxes usually have publishednoise ratings indicating the sound power levels that are discharged from the low pressureend of the box. The manufacturer may also indicate the requirements, if any, forthe sound attenuation materials to be installed in the low pressure duct between the boxand outlet.Some of the box manufacturers also test the noise radiated from the exterior of the box,however this data is not usually published. lf the box is located away from critical areas(such as in a storeroom or corridor), the noise radiating from the box may be of no concern. lf, however, the box is located above a critical space and separated from thespace by a suspended acoustical ceiling which has little or no transmission loss at lowfrequencies, the noise radiated from the box may exceed the noise criterionfor the room below. For this case it may be necessary to relocate the box to a non-criticalarea or to enclose it with a construction having a high transmission loss.

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