Local News

Raleigh Woman Feels Heat Over Noise From Air Conditioners

Posted April 20, 2004 5:19 a.m. EDT

— In 80-degree temperatures, the window air-conditioning units at Mordecai Manor are a welcome sight, but one woman said she is feeling the heat over the machines' noise.

Margaret Parrish said she cannot sleep because the machines are too loud.

"When they are all running, it sounds like a tornado," she said.

Parrish said it breaks Raleigh's noise ordinance and she bought a device to prove it. The city's maximum decibel limit is 45 at night. She said last year on summer nights, the noise measured between 60 and 68.

John Schrader, the owner of the property, said he is trying to be a good neighbor, so he sent a technician out to check out the units and found they were all working properly. He said he does not see a way to correct the problem because there is no problem.

Parrish wants central air installed in the back of the old house, but tenant Dan Kuszaj says by living downtown, Parrish should just expect noise.

"People have to take that for living in the city. You are going to hear noise," Kuszaj said.

Parrish disagrees and she took her complaint to City Hall.

"It's making my house unfit to live in," she said.

Council members said the city should take a noise measurement. The city attorney said if the city finds the noise level is higher than the ordinance allows, the owner of the complex could be cited. If he refuses to fix the noise, the city could file suit to get the units removed.

Here are some points of reference for different levels of noise -- a normal conversation is about 60 decibels. A ringing phone measures at about 80 decibels. Thunder is slightly louder at 120 decibels.

Experts claim continued exposure to noise above 85 decibels over time will cause hearing loss.