Need advice on how to deal with low AC ducts in basement - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-23-2014, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Need advice on how to deal with low AC ducts in basement

I'm working on plans to finish out my basement. Here is an overview of the layout I'm planning to go with:





However, I'm very concerned bout headroom. Whoever had this house built originally obviously had no plans to finish the basement, based on how the air ducts were run. My primary problem is that the main trunk line runs right down the middle of the basement. Here are some pictures to illustrate. I apologize for the awful quality. I can take better pictures if necessary.

This picture is looking straight on from the garage area:


Looking toward the proposed theater area:


Theater area closer up:


Proposed workout area from the garage area:


Proposed hangout area:


From the concrete to the floor joists, the basement right at 8ft in height. At its lowest, the trunk duct is just over 6 feet off of the ground (this would be the area right by the fuse box in the last picture). As you can probably see from the pictures, there are also sewage lines, water supply lines, and gas lines to deal with.

Are there any viable ways for me to increase the headroom in this area? Would it be worthwhile/feasible to switch to non-insulated rectangular ducts to save space? Is there something else I could do that I haven't thought about? I would prefer to have a dry walled ceiling. I'm afraid that it won't be worth finishing out the basement if I end up with a super low ceiling. I would also rather not have a low soffit running the length of the finished basement if I can avoid it.

Also, if anyone has any other general tips or suggestions then I am all ears! Are there any special considerations I should make toward soundproofing the theater room itself?
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post #2 of 13 Old 06-23-2014, 08:28 PM
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Gonna follow this thread for future considerations. Im looking at having some new construction done, and one of the problems I foresee (based on the model home) is the same headroom problems. Specifically with a steel beam and ductwork clocking in at about 6'8" at the lowest point.
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post #3 of 13 Old 06-24-2014, 07:11 AM
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WOW that looks like a huge silver spider is attacking your house
I would have a couple different HVAC guys come in look at it.
Talking it over with them gives you ideas of what can and cannot be done to achieve your goal

One day I will start the new theater....... one day


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post #4 of 13 Old 06-30-2014, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
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I just wanted to give this thread a little bump to see if anyone had any more input. I'm having a contractor out on Saturday to take a look at the whole basement project and give me feedback. I'll post back here if he makes a suggestion regarding the duct work.
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-08-2014, 11:02 AM
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I'm an AC contractor, it's hard to get an idea from the pictures, but I think you have a lot of options. I would ditch the center trunk, and run a rectangular duct around the parameter of the room, since it appears that is where most of the ducts are going. This could be enclosed in a soffete.

I doubt you want to run uninsulated ducts, but I'm not sure about your goals or the climate where you live.

This will be a lot of labor and material to do it right, make sure you hire somebody who understands your needs and will do it correctly, otherwise it will be money wasted.
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-08-2014, 11:07 AM
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Hey, what's up with that "storage area"?

If it runs the entire perimeter of the house, it should become a "duct area"
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-09-2014, 06:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumbo View Post
I'm an AC contractor, it's hard to get an idea from the pictures, but I think you have a lot of options. I would ditch the center trunk, and run a rectangular duct around the parameter of the room, since it appears that is where most of the ducts are going. This could be enclosed in a soffete.

I doubt you want to run uninsulated ducts, but I'm not sure about your goals or the climate where you live.

This will be a lot of labor and material to do it right, make sure you hire somebody who understands your needs and will do it correctly, otherwise it will be money wasted.
The hardest part for me is to figure out who can do this type of stuff correctly. I rely on getting input from others, but that can be hit or miss.

For your situation, I think you're going to have to get some estimates and go with the person you think knows the most (but not necessarily the one with the best price). Personally, I'd rather pay more to get the project done right than to just get it done. The issue is determining whether something is or will be done right.

Bob
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-09-2014, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruzer79 View Post
Gonna follow this thread for future considerations. Im looking at having some new construction done, and one of the problems I foresee (based on the model home) is the same headroom problems. Specifically with a steel beam and ductwork clocking in at about 6'8" at the lowest point.
When I had my home built we had the option to have 9' ceilings in the basement. Best upgrade I did! I had to fur down quite a bit to go under duct work and steel beams and even in the low ceiling areas It's still close to 8 feet tall. I am 6' 4" and I have no issues walking around in my basement. I still have the drywall to do but if you click the link in my sig I have plenty of pictures to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

@OP, I agree with everyone else here. I would hire a pro to come in and rework what you have there. I would not want to work around all that myself. It's hard to tell what the height your floor joict's are at really.

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post #9 of 13 Old 07-21-2014, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the input! I won't be finishing the basement myself as it would remain half-finished forever. I had a general contractor come out and give me an estimate on finishing the entire basement. He suggested that I just replace the main trunk line with square ductwork in order to add a few inches of headroom.

Stumbo -
Unfortunately, the storage area only runs under the front of the house. It's an extra room that the original builders put under the front porch of the house. It has cement floors and cinderblock walls, but is otherwise unfinished. It's also located outside of the 4 main walls of the house.

I appreciate your comment regarding rerouting the trunk line. I'll mention it to my contractor so he can ask his HVAC guy about it.

If anyone knows an excellent HVAC contractor in the Nashville, TN area please let me know and I'll have them come out to take a look.
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-21-2014, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gec5741 View Post
When I had my home built we had the option to have 9' ceilings in the basement. Best upgrade I did! I had to fur down quite a bit to go under duct work and steel beams and even in the low ceiling areas It's still close to 8 feet tall. I am 6' 4" and I have no issues walking around in my basement. I still have the drywall to do but if you click the link in my sig I have plenty of pictures to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

@OP, I agree with everyone else here. I would hire a pro to come in and rework what you have there. I would not want to work around all that myself. It's hard to tell what the height your floor joict's are at really.
Your basement is looking fantastic! I really wish I had more headroom to work with in mine. From the concrete to the floor joists is right around 8ft in height.
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post #11 of 13 Old 07-22-2014, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gec5741 View Post
When I had my home built we had the option to have 9' ceilings in the basement. Best upgrade I did! I had to fur down quite a bit to go under duct work and steel beams and even in the low ceiling areas It's still close to 8 feet tall. I am 6' 4" and I have no issues walking around in my basement. I still have the drywall to do but if you click the link in my sig I have plenty of pictures to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

@OP, I agree with everyone else here. I would hire a pro to come in and rework what you have there. I would not want to work around all that myself. It's hard to tell what the height your floor joict's are at really.
Man, I had the option, but I couldn't get my wife on board with the extra cost. We set the proverbial line in the sand budget-wise and we stuck to it. I will probably not cover\drywall the ceiling.
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post #12 of 13 Old 07-22-2014, 12:12 PM
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that's definitely an option. Just leave the ceiling open. I'd paint it all black or something like they do in a resteraunt or bar. It could probably look pretty cool.

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post #13 of 13 Old 07-23-2014, 08:18 AM
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Yea Ive done some research (My google-fu is strong) and found plenty of examples with painted black cielings that look pretty bad ass. I weep for the sound issues\quality loss that might arise, but since it isnt going to be a dedicated theater, its a concession I'm willing to make.
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