Components of HVAC systems sometimes produce unnecessary sounds and vibrations that are transferred into building structures and occupied spaces. Chiller noise, depending on its severity, can even injure, tire, and bother building occupants. In addition, excessive vibration may also promote early mechanical failure and poor performance of rotating HVAC equipment.

5 Typical cause of Sound and Vibration issues

  1. Improperly aligned motor and fan sheaves.
  2. Failure to remove all shipping brackets.
  3. Improper alignment of pumps and couplings.
  4. Excessive air volume is being achieved.
  5. Incorrect installation and tension of belt(s).

The Tool Lending Library at the Smart Buildings Center (SBC) in Seattle has sound meters and vibration testers that building operators can borrow free of charge. Not in Seattle? Check with your local utility as Tool Lending Libraries are available in various regions. Below are two tools recently featured by the SBC.

Fluke 805FC Vibration Meter
Fluke 805FC Vibration Meter

The Fluke 805FC Vibration Meter is a reliable vibration screening device available for frontline mechanical troubleshooting. Teams that need repeatable, ISO-10816 severity-scaled readings of overall vibration and bearing condition especially find this tool useful. The easy to use hand-held meter has a built-in database that provides a four-level severity scale assessing the urgency of problems for overall vibration and bearing condition. Up to 3,500 measurements can be stored internally and downloaded to a PC with the included USB cable. Pre-built Microsoft Excel templates are available for trending the measurements.

extech sound level meter sdl600
Extech SDL600 Sound Level meter

The Extech SDL600 Sound Level meter features:

  • Display and storage of sound level readings in the 30 to 130 db range.
  • Records data on an SD card in Excel format.
  • High accuracy ±1.4dB meets ANSI and IEC 61672-1 Type 2 standards.
  • 30 to 130dB measurement range.
  • Auto or Manual ranging.
  • AC analog output for connection to an analyzer or recorder.

Over 85 different types of building diagnostic tools and meters are available for loan from the Tool Lending Library at the Smart Buildings Center located in Seattle, Washington. For more visit the website at

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