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post #1 of 2 Old 12-20-2009, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks in advance for your replies and advice:

I am building a new house and I will have a dedicated HT room. It will be in the basement and underground, with 2 of the 4 walls the exterior (cement foundation). I live in Utah (go utes, byu sucks!), where it gets cold in the winters and hot in the summers. It will have a projector and will seat typically 2 or 4 people, but possibly more (seating max is probably 12 - front row will be bean bags for kids, the 2nd and 3rd row will have theater-style seating for about 4 people per row). Many people would (hopefully) be a rare occurrence - and I don't want to spent excess money for a rare occurrence. Also, sound isolation is somewhat important (I will likely go to the effort of double drywall with green glue and clips/hat channel for the ceiling).

The room is 22 feet long, 19 feet wide - with a varied ceiling height - 10 feet at the screen, 9 feet in the middle and 8 feet in the back. The total volume is roughly 3800 cubic feet. There is also a 'audio' room, roughly 6' x 6', in the back where all the audio equipment will be.

My first question is regarding heating and air-conditioning. I have read here on AVSForum that even in winter, a HT room could get warm enough to need cooling. Is actual air-conditioning necessary? Or just have the air circulate with other basement/house air? Can you have your air-conditioner going in winter? If so, do you basically have to have a separate furnace/AC for the HT room?

Currently my house is planned for 1 heater with 3 zones (one for each floor), with the HT room part of the basement floor. Is that sufficient with a reasonable amount of money spent?

Would a 4th zone be suitable - add a separate zone for the HT room? Is this possible - how could a HVAC system simultaneously heat one floor while trying to cool another?

Would a second HVAC system just for the HT room be the best, especially for sound isolation?

My second question is easier: I will have central vac for the house, but I was thinking that the extra 'coupling' of the vac system in the HT room would compromise the sound isolation and allow a pathway for sound to transmit throughout the house. Any thoughts? Experience? I was thinking of not doing central vac for the HT room for this reason - the inconvenience is minimal (having a vacuum for the room versus dragging a hose and vacuum) and the potential benefit of improved sound isolation is worth it.

Thanks, gcturp
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post #2 of 2 Old 12-20-2009, 05:31 PM
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I know it can get cold in Utah, but I'm not sure exactly how cold. Air conditioners can be damaged by coming on in below freezing conditions. You would have to look at your particular A/C to know what temp it can't operate below.

The problem with a home theater is that with 4 to 12 people, a projector, and a stack of equipment, you are producing a ton of heat in one room and while the rest or the house may be calling for heat, the theater wants cooling.

For my theater I removed the equipment from the room, reducing some heat input. I also had 2 supplies and 2 returns in the room (one tied into my HRV), which results in more airflow through this room than others of its size. I also leave my furnace fan running all the time, so in winter and summer I am always replacing the air in the theater with 'cooler' air from the rest of the house. This has actually worked quite well for me and even with 8 people in my theater the temperature only goes up about 2 degrees and remains very comfortable. This is not necessarily the ideal solution but it works well for me.

Ideally your theater would be on it's own zone and be able to demand cooling when the rest of the house wants heat, but this will be expensive. Exchanging air with the rest of the basement should be a reasonable way to keep temperature (and cost) under control.

HVAC people often seem to have difficulty understanding the large amount of heat produced in these rooms (I had to fight a little for my second return). I've seen Dennis Erskine in other threads suggest that you get your HVAC guy to calculate the BTU's produced by the people and gear in the room, be shocked by how high the number is and then size the supplies and returns for the room accordingly. It's important to get right the first time as it's expensive to change later. If sound isolation is as important as you say make sure to check out how Ted White says to run the ductwork, use of flex duct, etc.

As for the vacuum, I don't know how big your theater is (that would probably be worth posting) but I would have the hook-up out side the room and drag in the hose when needed, and not have one inside.

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