Over recent years, there have been increasing complaints about vibration and vibration-induced noise in today’s modern buildings.  These problems are compounded when large rooftop equipment is positioned directly above penthouse suites in residential towers.  Not only is the physical vibration in the structure disturbing, but the noise being generated can also transfer to other areas of the building.

Noise and vibration transference will always be a problem unless the equipment is isolated properly.


In our experience, we often see generic specs requesting air bags on large equipment (chillers, cooling towers) for residential towers in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.  People tend to think air bags are the answer to the noise and vibration problem, but we at Air System Supplies (and our partners at Kinetics Noise Control) believe a 2″ to 4″ deflection housed seismically rated spring isolator does the job as well if notbetter, for these reasons:

  1. Set it and forget it!  Once the spring isolators are correctly installed, no further maintenance or adjustments are needed throughout the lifespan of the equipment.
  2. With spring isolators, that’s all you need.  In contrast, with air bags, you also need to purchase and maintain compressors, hose lines, leveling valves, and snubbers.
  3. Over time, air bags will malfunction and a repair or maintenance will be required.  During this time the occupants of the suite below will suffer the brunt of the vibration and noise disruption, much to their displeasure.

Using spring isolators instead of air bags saves you time and money:

  1. Now.  Simpler installation, and fewer products to install.
  2. In the future.  No maintenance or adjustments necessary.


Adam Sims and Colleen Braun