Air conditioning noise

If noise from an air conditioner exceeds the following levels when measured at a neighbour's premises, the owner or operator of the air conditioner may be issued with a Direction Notice or an on-the-spot fine.

Permitted air conditioning noise levels

Permitted air conditioning noise levels.
TimeDayNoise limit

7am to 10pm

Every day

Noise no louder than five decibels (A) above background noise

10pm to 7am

Every day

No more than three decibels (A) above background noise

In some circumstances, activities and equipment operating within the prescribed levels and times may also be assessed against the general emission criteria and noise emission criteria identified within the Environmental Protection Act 1994. If the noise is deemed to be a nuisance when assessed against this criteria, the responsible person may be issued a Direction Notice.


These noise limits do not apply if Council has prescribed a limit in a development approval or local law approval for specific equipment or activities for air conditioners at a property. In this circumstance, the person/company must comply with the conditions placed on the approval. 

Ways to reduce noise

To help reduce air conditioning noise, you can:

  • limit hours of use
  • select a quieter air conditioner
  • locate air conditioners as far away as possible from neighbours and away from sensitive areas, such as bedroom windows
  • regularly service your equipment - lack of maintenance can cause higher noise levels
  • erect a solid fence or barrier
  • install an acoustic enclosure
  • modify equipment - discuss this option with the manufacturer or installer

How to lodge a complaint

Find out how to lodge a complaint about an environmental nuisance issue.

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