My neighbor's dripping AC is driving me crazy. What can I do?

By Austin Havens-Bowen | July 14, 2020 - 9:30AM

The sound of your neighbor’s AC dripping onto your unit is very noisy. Here are some products to help.

Austin Havens-Bowen for Brick Underground/Flickr

Last summer, the sound of my neighbor’s air conditioner dripping onto my AC unit kept me from sleeping. One night, in sleep-deprived frustration, I grabbed a washcloth, opened my window, and aimed for the corner where the water was hitting. Luckily, the cloth landed in the right spot, and caught the drips, stopping the noise—but a year later, I’m stuck with an ugly, faded washcloth on top of my AC.

You may be experiencing this too, and it may be more annoying than usual. These days, many New Yorkers are running their ACs all day as well as all night. Covid-19 has a lot of New Yorkers working from home, and many summer camps, vacations, and summer plans have been upended. 

[Editor's note: An earlier version of this post was published in June 2018. We are presenting it again with updated information for July 2020.]

Gary Mindlin of Top Hat Home Services, a townhouse and brownstone management company, previously told Brick that air conditioners are meant to drip. This is caused by condensation that forms when it’s hot out, especially in older units that don’t have a fan to dissipate the moisture. “The best thing to do is eliminate the noise on your end,” he says. 

If you’re distracted by your neighbor’s dripping AC and want some sort of solace this summer, Brick Underground has found a few different pads, covers, and cushions that you can put on top of your AC to stop the sound.

Frost King drip cushion, $19

Frost King’s drip cushion is made out of waterproof, high-density foam and has a magnetic bottom to secure to your AC unit. It comes in a standard 24-by-24-inches, and can be trimmed to fit other AC sizes. You can buy it at Home Depot, where it has five stars based on 80 customer reviews.  

Stop Drop cover, $36

Drop Stop’s Stop Drop cover is made out of foam that is bonded with a magnetic sheet that will secure to your AC unit. It comes in a standard 24-by-24-inches, and can be cut smaller. It’s also flame retardant and self-extinguishing. You can buy it on Amazon, where it has four stars based on 13 customer reviews.

RainQuieter cover, $30

The RainQuieter AC cover is eco-friendly and has an open weave design that allows water to pass through the material while eliminating the sound of both AC drips and rain. The kit comes with an adhesive to stick to your AC. The material allows air to flow through so you don’t have to worry about your unit overheating. It comes in 24-by-24-inches. You can buy it directly from the manufacturer, where it has four-and-a-half stars based on 84 customer reviews.

Vibra Block sound-deadening pad, $11

Vibra Block’s sound-deadening material is made out of high-performance, vibration-dampening polymer and has a peel-and-stick bottom. It comes in two sizes; the pad is six-by-six-inches (great if you know what spot on the AC to cover) and the sheet is four-by-four-feet, which you can trim to fit your AC. You can buy both products from Soundproof Cow, where the products have an average of 4.8 stars based on 34 customer reviews.

—Earlier versions of this article contained reporting and writing by Jennifer White Karp. 

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