Apr 12, 2010

MAC Noise Abatement

The photo at right is the newly-enlarged access to my scary attic. We have the trap-door-in-the-ceiling as the only access to our attic, and honestly, I had never been up there until late last week.

It turns out that our house is in the MAC lawsuit area and when that finally resolved late last year, we were notified that we were eligible for noise abatement. There are probably entire blog sites dedicated to this lawsuit, and one of my neighbors is a self-made expert on this and expounds on it at every block party - it's too much to get in to here.

Suffice it to say that we are "in" and we got a letter outlining the deal. We were informed us that our house was ear-marked for central air conditioning and addition noise abatement treatments of our choice. If we didn't want central air conditioning, we could select additional noise abatement treatments up to our budget amount.

We have never, ever lived in a house with central air conditioning (for that matter, we have only had one house with an attached garage and a fridge with an ice-maker, too). We jumped at the chance to get that. We also got a couple of our worst windows refurbished and are getting new storm windows for the lower level of the house.

This is a major production because we don't have ducts - our house has a boiler and radiators, so we need some pretty major surgery to retrofit this in to our old house. So far, so good, though. They had to enlarge the tiny access to our attic to get the air handler up there (the condenser sits outside on the south side of the house). Unfortunately the access got enlarged in the wrong direction, but they will come back and fix that in the next couple of weeks. The A/C is now installed (it only took two days) and will get wired in the neat future. The storm windows will be coming a few weeks, I guess. The MAC contractors have been good to deal with and everything has gone pretty much according to Hoyle.

It's funny that the MAC lawsuit went on for so long but now that it's resolved, the work is proceeding very quickly. I admit to having some pre-job nightmares about turning the house over to the Metropolitan Airport Commission bureaucrats for this work because the lawsuit did not do much to build trust with MAC in the minds of many South Minneapolis homeowners and because I didn't want Vogon destructor crews running around my house with Sawzalls.

Like so many things in life, the reality has been not as bad as we feared.


  1. Ran onto your blog searching for "MAC noise mitigation radiators"... We just got the letter today and we are in. The question we are wondering is... Do they pull out all of the radiators throughout the house [and subsequent patchwork related] and then put in the ductwork?... or is "central air" for air conditioning only and therefore you keep your radiator heat too? How did it go for you?

    Nate in Mpls.

  2. For us, they added only the air conditioning (no furnace). The radiators stayed in place and were unaffected by the project. The work went just fine. I was nervous about running into complications, but everything went pretty according to plans.

    One thing to watch for - window replacement is very expensive and will gobble up your MAC money very quickly, but they can refurbish windows to make them tighter and more noise-proof, and the tilt-in and tilt-out for cleaning. It's a much better deal than new windows but MAC almost never mentioned this during the orientation meeting. We like our refurbished windows so much we might have a few more done at our expense.

    Good luck with your abatement!