Soundproof the Air Vents like a Pro – 5 Effective Ways (2020)


soundproof the air vents

After successfully soundproofing the other areas of my room, I finally decided to soundproof the air vents.

Whenever I am after soundproofing anything, my basic approach is to always find the root cause of sound leakage and try to fix it with the easiest and cheapest approach. The same I did for the air vents and it worked pretty well for me.

In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know for soundproofing the air vents. It all depends on your preferences and soundproofing needs. Whether you want to get rid of the ventilation completely or still want to have some airflow, there are many ways to achieve both results.

Types of noises coming from the air vents

First, I would like you to figure out what kind of sounds you are hearing from the air vents. This will help you to understand the cause of sounds and their possible solution. In the later section, we will be discussing on how to soundproof them easily and effectively.

So, keep on reading this article for amazing insights about soundproofing the air vents.

Rattling Sound: This type of sound is when you hear like something is stuck in the air vents. It’s because of the loose fixtures in the air vents. It can be a screw or some other thing. However, it’s not something to worry about. You can easily inspect and get them fixed to overcome the noise.

Hissing Sound: This sound is produced by the air vents when there is some leakage from the ducts. This leakage can affect the heating and cooling through those ducts. Therefore, in that case, I always recommend hiring some professionals for filling up such spill areas for you.

Rumbling Sound: It is when there is a lot of carbon stuck in the burner of your vent system. This usually results due to improper cleaning and servicing of the HVAC system. As the carbon crumbs block the air passage, the air resistance produces rumbling sounds. Clean off the burner as well as the air filter to get rid of this problem.

Buzzing Sound: This sound is produced by the compressor of your vent system. These are some of the most annoying sounds coming through those air vents. It usually happens when the compressor gets old and it needs a proper servicing or replacement. Well, if you ask me, the best way to soundproof the air vents from these noises is to completely remove your old compressor and get a new one. You might be needing some professional services to get the better results.

Clicking sound: This sound relates to the compressor of the air vents. It’s ok if you hear these sounds on and off but if you observe persistent clicking sounds coming from those vents, then have a professional to assess your HVAC system. But still, if you want to soundproof your air vents then follow the text below and find a perfect solution to this problem.

Popping Sound: You hear this sound due to the switching off of the air vents. Besides, the metallic properties of air vents make them contract after you turn off the vent system. Make sure to install high-quality flexible ducts while constructing a house. Or if you already have the ducts installed, try replacing them.

Screeching Sound: This sound is because of a bad motor or a loose belt. Try tightening the belt and lubricate the motor for removing this annoying noise.

Reasons for the noisy air vents

Spending your money on soundproofing, without knowing the actual cause of incoming sound will only double your efforts. So, check the vents properly to figure out the reason for noisy vents before you try to soundproof them.

As we have discussed the major types of sound that you get to hear from the air vents, now let’s discuss the factors that are causing those sounds.

reasons for noisy vents

While soundproofing my air vents, I found these three factors to be the main reasons for noisy vents:

  • The material of air vents: Air vents are not good sound absorbent because they are made of metals like aluminum. This results in the bouncing off of sounds inside them. Thus producing loud noises.
  • The shape of air vents: The shape has a lot to do with the noise distribution from the vents. If the ducts have a solid structure, then more sound will travel through them. But, flexible structures don’t allow much sound to travel through them.
  • Number of walls inside the air vent:  Walls add mass to the air vents, thus preventing sound to escape. However, if the vent structure is thin, this means that you can easily make changes to it. Just follow the article to find more about this process.

Now that we have enough information to get started with the process, let us discuss some of the best ways that can help you with soundproofing of the air vents easily and effectively.

How to soundproof the air vents? 5 easy ways

Here are the 5 effective ways to soundproof your air vents:

  1. Completely Block or Remove the Air Vents
  2. Use Soundproofing Blankets or Curtains
  3. Make A Sound Maze In the Air Vent
  4. Fill the Air Vent with a Sound-proofing Sealant
  5. Insulate Duct of your Air Vents

These methods have helped me alot in controlling the unwanted noise, so I decided to share each one of them in detail with you! Keep reading to learn everything about it.

Completely Block or Remove the Air Vents

block the air vents

Picture Credit: www.gadgetsgo.com

Blocking the air vents is the ultimate solution to soundproof air vents, and you can completely block the way for noise to reach you.

The materials that you can use to block air vents are:

  • Drywall
  • Acoustic Foam
  • Plywood
  • Wooden studs

Well, the basic rule for each material will stay the same: The denser the object, the more effective. So, in this regard, the best material would be the drywall.

For adding the drywall, you simply have to remove the opening of the vent and add your piece of drywall on it. Make sure that the dimensions of the drywall match with that of the vent. Doing so will fill up all the space and it will just seem like a part of your wall or ceiling (after you paint it with the matching color).

On the other side, if you don’t want to block your air vents entirely, then go for pasting the acoustic foam on them. This will also help you dampen the noises coming from there, while allowing some of the air to pass through. Here is one of the best acoustic foams that you can find on Amazon.

Moreover, you can seal the edges with a weather stripping tape or an acoustic sealant to have even better results. This method of soundproofing the air vents is one of the most effective ways and you can do it yourself too. But if you want to add a drywall then it might need you to hire a professional.

However, you should keep it in mind that blocking the air vent will affect your ventilation in the room, as there will be no vents to pass the air in the hot summer. But, as I said before, it all depends on your preferences and soundproofing needs. Thus, you can take a deliberate decision before blocking the air vents completely.

Use Soundproofing Blankets or Curtains

block air vents with soundproof curtains

Picture Credits: www.deavita.net

Blocking the air vents in summers may seem inconvenient to some people. So, the best alternative is to add the soundproofing blankets or curtains on them.

Although these curtains are usually used to soundproof windows, you can also use them for blocking the sounds coming from the air vents.

Do soundproofing blankets or curtains work?

This question might come in your mind, so let’s just answer this! Yes, soundproofing blankets or curtains are quite effective in reducing the noise. However, its better to couple them with any other more effective methods for the best results.

For better concept, watch this video.

 

Hanging a thick blanket or curtains in front of the vents is one of the affordable ways to soundproof air vents. They can help you reduce the sound transfer through the vents in a surprisingly effective way. Especially if you are living in a rented house and your landlord doesn’t allow you to do renovations for soundproofing, this is a perfect solution for you.

All you need to do is purchase the soundproof curtains according to the size of your wall and the width of the air vents, and hang wherever needed. These ones are the best on Amazon and you can easily get them to soundproof your air vents at a very affordable cost.

Some important things that you must consider while purchasing these curtains for soundproofing the air vents are:

  • Thickness and Density: The material has to be thick and dense so that it does not let the sound to escape through it easily.
  • Size: Just make sure that the curtains cover the whole area of air vents. It is even better if the size of the curtains is bigger than the vents.
  • Hanging Rod: Curtains that are meant for soundproofing have special rods designed to hang them properly. They allow them to stick to the wall, which results in better sound insulation.

So, here we go with the process of installing them:

  • Hang the soundproof curtains with a rod in a manner that they cover the vents entirely.
  • Fix the curtains on the wall with nails or any adhesive.
  • Cover all the edges with weather stripping tape.

There you go! With these simple and easy steps, you will feel a great difference yourself! Just remember that although this is a temporary solution to soundproof air vents, it is quite convenient for people who live in the rented houses or apartments (Just like me!)

Make A Sound Maze In the Air Vent

Now this is the method that allows you to dampen the sounds coming from the air vents without blocking the way for air. This process of soundproofing really helped me in insulating my air vents while enjoying the fresh air.

Moreover, it doesn’t require you to seek help from a professional. You just need to make a simple maze-like structure, which will disrupt the sound waves coming through the duct of your vents.

The materials that you will be needing to make a maze are:

  • Screwdriver
  • Plywood/ Wood
  • Acoustic Foam
  • Adhesive/ Green glue
  • Handsaw

You can get all these materials from a hardware store nearby.

How To Build An Air Vent Sound Maze?

air vents maze

Follow these instructions to make a perfectly working air vent sound maze:

  • Open the cover of air vents using a screwdriver and take it off.
  • Measure the dimensions of the part that you just opened.
  • Now cut the plywood with the help of handsaw and make a box-like structure, having the same dimensions (of the opening area).
  • Then get the acoustic foam and make four to five pieces of it according to the size of the box.
  • For example, if your box is 7 inches (around 18 cm) wide, cut the pieces into a length of 4 inches (around 10 cm).
  • Now paste the foam inside the box in a manner that one comes on the right side while the second is on the left side.
  • Keep the gap of at least 2 inches (around 5 cm) between each foam.
  • Cover the back of the maze with the acoustic foam to secure it in the place. Use the glue or adhesive to attach the foam.
  • Lastly, put the covers back on the vents after you place the maze inside it.

And that’s it! Enjoy the fresh air from those air vents and forget about the annoying sounds.

Fill the Air Vent with a Sound-proofing Sealant

foam sealant

 Here comes the fun part and it’s also my favorite because it takes:

  • Less time
  • Less cost

You can use two types of sealants to soundproof air vents. They are:

They are easy to use and have great sound-dampening results. First of all, you need to purchase the bottles of the sealant according to your requirements.

Then, you have to look for the holes and gaps around the edges of the vents. Fill all the gaps with the sealant and let it dry.

One thing that you should keep in mind about the foam sealant that it will expand around the corners and edges of the air vent after you apply it. So, try to sand all those projections and paint it with the matching color of your wall.

Both the sealants not only have the soundproofing properties but they are water-resistant too. That is why, you don’t need to worry about the water to get inside them.

This DIY method of soundproofing air vents allows you to finish the job in a few minutes and get rid of the irritating sounds especially the hissing sound coming from the gaps.

Insulate Duct on Your Air Vents

insulation with glass wool

This part of sound dampening has nothing to do on the outside of the air vents, but it requires you to get deep into the ducts and soundproof them.

The materials that you will be needing to complete the process are:

You can soundproof air vents by using these materials on the inner surface of the ducts. Let’s find out how!

  • First of all, cut the foam according to the width of your duct.
  • Then, use the adhesive or green glue to attach the foam on the surface of the duct.This will result in a foam lining on the inner surface of the duct.
  • Avoid using larger pieces of foam, as it may result in the blockage of air.

How effective a soundproofing foam is?

A soundproofing foam helps in absorbing the sound and is very effective in sound-dampening the metal surfaces. It works on a phenomenon of absorbing the sound.

Whenever the air travels through the ducts, it produces various kinds of sounds when it strikes the metal surface. Insulating the duct with foam lining will help in absorbing the sound and not letting it bounce off of the surface.

Soundproofing the HVAC Vents

soundproof HVAC

Heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is meant to control the internal environment through regulation of warm and cool air.  But sometimes it might be the core reason for all those noises coming through the vents.

So far we have discussed the non-HVAC air vents, now let’s move towards HVAC air vents.

If you have an old school HVAC system installed then you must be observing these kinds of noises when you turn them on:

  • Clicking noises
  • Buzzing noises
  • Rumbling noises

For these sounds, I would recommend you to get the HVAC system checked by a technician who could make the necessary repairs to get rid of them.

Also, if your HVAC sysyem is a really old one, I recommend upgrading it to a new one. Check the latest prices of newer versions of the HVAC system available on Amazon and get it delivered to your doorsteps.

Nonetheless, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money buying a new system, here are some cheap solutions that you can use for soundproofing your air vents.

Installing Soffits

Soffits are aesthetic structures used in the roofing system of the building. You can use the vented soffits to have impressive results of sound insulation.

People use them in theaters and cinemas to soundproof the ceilings. They are very effective in reducing the internal noises. However, you can also use them in your house to get amazing results. Instead of using the mainstream hard ducts, you can go for using the flexible one while installing the soffits. This will give you the best results for complete soundproofing of the air vents.

Get Flexible Ducts

flexible ducts

Since a flexible duct is bendy, it can lessen the leakage of sound from the air vent. They are very valuable for soundproofing and make a great difference.

The manner in which flexible ducts work in reducing noise is by making twists in the pipe. This makes it a lot harder for sound to travel when the air is streaming, because it gets absorbed while hitting the bends of the duct.

Installing Duct Liners

Duct liners are the most affordable among all of these methods of soundproofing the HVAC air vents. They can be made of:

  • Glass wool
  • Acoustic foam

The double tape around them enables you to stick these materials firmly on the inner sides of the duct. The whole idea of soundproofing the air vents with duct liners revolves around the concept of “bouncing off of sound waves on the surface”.

The duct liners absorb the sound waves and don’t let them bounce off of the inner surface of the duct. Thus, not letting them travel inside the room through the air vents.

To learn more about this, watch this short but very informative video.

Also, if you have a simple air conditioning system, you can easily soundproof it as well using some easy and cheap tips and tricks. I have written a complete 3000 words article on this. Give it a read to learn everything about it. Here is the link.

Cost of Soundproofing the Air Vents

The cost to soundproof air vents depends on:

  • Soundproofing materials you use
  • Professional/ Technician fees

Let’s discuss them in detail.

Soundproofing Materials

We have a lot of soundproofing materials available in the market but the problem with them is either they are expensive or don’t fit your soundproofing needs.

So, keeping in view the above-discussed methods to soundproof air vents, I have made a grid for you to have a better understanding of the cost and properties of these soundproofing materials.

Material Size/ Quantity Cost Source 
Acoustic Foam 12 x 12 inches $ 13.99 Amazon
Magnetic Vent Cover 8 x 15 inches $ 7.32 Amazon
Plywood 12 x 12 inches $ 14.95 Amazon
Green Glue 1 tube $ 21.06 Amazon
Foam Sealant 1 Bottle $ 20.95 Amazon
Foam lining 26 x 11 x 2 inches $ 29.99 Amazon
Glass wool 1 x 24 x 25 inches $ 145.61 Amazon

Technician Fees

If your HVAC system requires some repairing then a technician may cost you around $100 to $150. This is not the hourly rate, but a fee for the complete repairing process.

However, if you need to hire a technician to fully install the HVAC system for in your house or building then it can cost between $1,500 and $2,000.

Most of the methods that we have discussed above are DIY methods to soundproof air vents. You can easily complete these jobs within minutes and save the money required for hiring a professional.

Wrap-Up

So in this article we have come across different types of noises that you hear from the air vents and the reasons due to which these noises get generated. We also discussed the most effective ways of reducing these noises and getting your air vents sound dampened.

Now a question arises “Which is the best way to soundproof air vents?” In my view, the best way to soundproof air vents is the combination of air vents maze and the soundproof curtains. Doing so will not only help you dampen the noises but also let you enjoy the fresh air from the air vents without blocking its way. I’m sure this guide will help you a lot with that. Best of luck!

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