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Air Conditioning Equipment Setback Requirements

Air conditioning equipment must be located to comply with the City’s Noise Control Ordinance (LAMC Chapter 6.16). A minimum setback of 25 feet from any property line will generally comply. Air conditioners located in side yard areas generally do not comply with the City’s noise regulations.

When there are multiple air conditioning units proposed, a greater setback may be required. A setback of less than 25 feet may be approved by the Planning Division upon receipt of a report from an acoustical engineer or by providing detailed information on the noise generated by the air conditioning unit and proposed placement on the property (see table below). In determining the extent of a lesser setback, the Planning Division will take into account not only the acoustical engineer’s report but also regular setback requirements. Also, if the unit is visible from the street, appropriate screening is required.

Regardless of where the air conditioning unit is located, the provisions of the Noise Control Ordinance shall apply, and it is the responsibility of the property owner to mitigate any violations. If baffling and/or repairs do not achieve compliance, it may be necessary to either relocate or remove the unit.

Required setbacks per Planning Division calculations for locating air conditioning units in order to meet the Noise Control Ordinance limit of 50 dBA at the property line.

Sound Rating (Decibels) Distance to Property Line
64 6 feet
66 8 feet
68 11 feet
70 14 feet
72 18 feet
74 22 feet

Notes:

  1. Air conditioning equipment must maintain a minimum setback of five-foot from a property line.
  2. If the air conditioning unit is later determined by the City to exceed the limits of the noise ordinance, it must be relocated, replaced, or otherwise modified to achieve compliance with the noise ordinance.

City Assumptions Used in Calculations:

  1. The distance is measured from the outside edge of the air conditioner.
  2. The air conditioner is located within 10 feet of only one reflective surface, such as the wall of a house.
  3. There is a six-foot tall solid fence or wall along the nearest property line.
  4. The listener is standing one-foot away from the solid fence or wall on the opposite side.

Source: ANSI/AHRI Standard 275 – 2010
Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, www.ahrinet.org