The Real.Est List
The water torture diaries: My neighbor's dripping a/c is driving me crazy
Q. I was up and sleeping horribly for the last several nights because water exhaust from a window a/c unit from a higher floor was dripping like mad on top of mine all night...tat,, tattat, tat, tatatatat....
Is there any recourse here? Am I the one who needs to put something on top of my a/c to reduce the sound? Is there anything they can do to their a/c? I was thinking of cutting and custom fitting an old yoga mat to the top of my a/c to soften the noise.
A. Your neighbor is responsible if what you are hearing is more of a downpour than a polite dribble.
“It may be that their drain line is clogged,” says Michael Wolfe, a BrickTank expert and a managing agent at Midboro. “Their unit may require servicing and you should alert them to this issue.”
Yet annoying though it may be, dripping—a.k.a. the freefalling condensation that forms when it’s hot out—is simply the nature of the a/c beast, particularly older units that lack a fan to dissipate the moisture.
“Air conditioning units are meant to drip—yours should be dripping as well,” says Gary Mindlin of Top Hat Home Services, a townhouse and brownstone management company. “The best thing to do is eliminate the noise on your end.”
Mindlin recommends a product called the Stop Drop ($19.99 at Gracious Home). It’s a thick foam cover with a magnetic back that secures to your a/c without a flapping around in the wind.
Slicing and dicing a yoga mat and tying it onto the unit with string or cords might also work, he says.
But Joe Taylor, another BrickTank expert, expressed some reservations about your DIY method.
“An old yoga mat would still have a sound and frankly if you don’t get it cemented down very well it may hold little puddles of water that may keep you awake by water torture,” he says.
There is one more solution your neighbor might consider: He could reroute the condensation with tubing that funnels the water out of your line of fire. (See this interesting discussion on ApartmentTherapy.com).
Besides the challenge of rousing your neighbor into action, Mindlin says this fix isn’t perfect: “Wind conditions vary. Your unit may be hit with stray drops.”
Trouble at home? Get your NYC homeowning questions answered by an expert! Send us your questions via our feedback form.