Getting warm in my theater room, options to pull out hot air? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 86 Old 09-24-2012, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I've got 2 supplies coming into the theater room in the basement that even in summer couldn't keep up with a room full of people (8 seats). When it is 3-4 people it starts to get a bit warm for my tastes after about 2 hours, but isn't unbearable. As a note, my equipment is all in the room, and the walls/ceiling are decoupled and then DD+GG.

So anyway, the basement is fully finished and there were no air returns anywhere, and obviously not in the theater then.

Now that winter is coming, and even though I can close the vents to virtually eliminate heat coming in, I think that I need to do something to get warm air out of the room.

Getting an air return back to the HVAC room at this point would be a timely, messy, costly operation since everything is drywalled and there are no good paths to do it.

Would a dead vent work to help pull air out of the room, or would there be an even easier way to just exhaust it without having to even do that far? Of course I would like to keep the integrity of the sound "proofing" that I've done.

I liked how quiet things stayed using flex-duct for the incoming air, so I would thing that something would have to encorporate that too, but getting enough in the wall to allow bends will mean taking out a decent amount of drywall.

Ideas/options?


Thanks a TON!
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post #2 of 86 Old 09-24-2012, 02:12 PM
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Identical problem, brother.

Only I have merely one drop for an 11x 21 room. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. The drop was so close to the blower (first branch on the duct) I was sure I was going to be fine with one.

My main problem is all the effin' quartz halogen I've got going for my lighting. Some of those fixtures throw off enough heat to flash fry an Easter ham. And the kids... Jeez. The wife/kids are as diligent at turning off the lights in the theater as they are at turning off the lights in the rest of the house. Not!

"It's like that woman jus' don't understand that the light switch moves in two directions." - Rick, Walking Dead.

I'm debating adding one of these to the drop:

http://www.thelashop.com/inline-duct-booster-vent-fan-blower-6-inch-150-cfm.html?utm_source=googlepla&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=CMLI8fWPz7ICFXCmPAodeyUAeg#.UGDMIbLN9hk


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post #3 of 86 Old 09-24-2012, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I am not sure a booster would help. What seems obvious now is what would have saved me from this to begin with. Air coming in needs to also be able to get out. Sort of like trying to blow more air into an inflated beach ball. Unless some of the existing air is released, no more can be put in. I was thinking that a strategically placed exhaust vent of some sort right above my equipment rack would help pull air from one of the hottest spots of the room. In summer it would pull cooler air towards the seats. In winter I would just have to leave the door open a bit and it could equalize with the rest of the basement. Maybe utilize the 12v trigger on my receiver to turn the fan on/off would work, but I am at a loss on the design that will not only do the job, but also be quiet and without tearing up too much drywall...
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post #4 of 86 Old 09-24-2012, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickbuol View Post

Would a dead vent work to help pull air out of the room, or would there be an even easier way to just exhaust it without having to even do that far? Of course I would like to keep the integrity of the sound "proofing" that I've done.
I would think a dead vent or some subtle variation is the only real option. I would personally hope to draw air from the heat sources (rack? or projector?) and dump it somewhere convenient. I think you'd do best with a powered inline fan, but it may not be strictly necessary, depending on design. Assuming venting the hot air is possible, your only other decision to make, I think, is where to put the air. I think another portion of the basement - somewhere nearer the return - would be the logical choice, but there may be an advantage or reason to vent outside(?) - like a bathroom vent - but I would imagine this is less desirable for both sound and airflow balance.

Do you have a couple pictures or diagrams that illustrate where the heat sources are relative to other players in this scenario (HVAC return, outside walls, unused spaces)?
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post #5 of 86 Old 09-24-2012, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I will put up some diagrams tonight when I am on my computer and not my phone, but one thing that I read on a HVAC forum when I was google searching this was that putting in a bathroom type fan and exhausting it outside sounded good in theory, but in practice, it can create negative atmosphere inside the house and then start replenishing that vented air with exhaust air from other sources like your furnace or gas powered water heater. This can also produce enough negative atmosphere that it can prevent fireplace exhaust from being able to escape up a chimney. Now, I wasn't convinced on the logic thinking that it isn't venting that much air at something like 100 com or something, but I must have read it on 3 different sites. Plus bathroom fans aren't quiet.

Again, I will post some pictures and diagrams...
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post #6 of 86 Old 09-24-2012, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok. Some starter photos. The front wall and then the back... We are not here to critique my photography skills and the colors are off, but... Anyway, the equipment is in the left of the picture (rear right if sitting in the seats)...




Another shot of the back wall.


Even closer:


The whole room is about 14 feet wide, 24 feet deep, and just under 8 feet tall.

So behind the front wall (which is behind the false wall) is a concrete wall. The far (right when sitting down) wall is also concrete behind the drywall/studs. The left wall near the front is shared with a wet bar on the other side. The rest of the left wall is a hallway. The other side of the rear wall is the family room.

The equipment rack area shown on the back wall (with the bundles of wires) extends out into the family room about 20" and is just short of 2 feet wide.

Just on the other side of the equipment rack, where it extends into the family room, is a 6 foot sliding door that goes outside.

The two "feed" HVAC in the room are pretty much in the middle on each side and in the soffits. (Just a few feet in front of the wall sconces.)

I will keep looking for a diagram, but this is what I could dig up quickly.

Also of note, there are no, zero, zip, nada air returns in the basement. My research has also shown that putting them in basements seems to be a mixed bag depending on which HVAC company you talk to. Some say that they help, others say that they don't and can actually decrease performance or efficiency (which are two different things). I had more people say to leave them out because our furnace is NOT high efficiency meaning that it needs to suck air in from outside to work and if there are returns in the system that it can start putting exhaust gases into the house. What do I know, they are supposed to be the experts, and I couldn't get any HVAC person locally to recommend it either...


EDIT: I couldn't find a diagram of the layout, so I (poorly) sketched one up. I know, I have the hand writing of a doctor. I work in I.T. I type everything...)

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post #7 of 86 Old 09-25-2012, 05:12 AM
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Forced air systems are push/pull if you add a dead vent you need to take that air to an area of the house where there is a return. If you have NO returns in the basement that means taking it upstairs.Or leaving the door open at the the top of the stairs. Actually taking it up stairs without leaving the door open would cause negative pressure in the basement and would be a safety issue, bottom line is add a return in the basement and add the dead vent in the theater.
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post #8 of 86 Old 09-25-2012, 08:22 AM
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BIG has forgotten more about theater construction than I will ever know.

If he says it, it's true.

Just keep talkin'. I'll let you know when you're right.
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post #9 of 86 Old 09-25-2012, 09:47 AM
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Simple. Mini Split system.

They are inexpensive and can be installed just about anywhere. They are extremely quiet. I use one in my equipment room (1 ton) that is attached to my theater and it easily cools that room as it will get to 90 degrees within 10-20 minutes of a movie starting (7 amplifiers, projector and all other accompanying electronics).

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post #10 of 86 Old 09-25-2012, 04:00 PM
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I strongly second the recommendation of a mini-split system. Have just started using them this summer in a big addition (which includes a dedicated 10' tall basement home theater space). These systems are efficient, quiet, relatively inexpensive, very easy to install and can also serve as heat pumps in cold weather. I did the installation myself except for the final line vacuuming and charging. I think I took pictures of each step of the process which I'd be glad to share. You have (depending on the height of the concrete) what looks to be short and easy access to the exterior.

Strongly recommend.
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post #11 of 86 Old 09-25-2012, 07:17 PM
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Your situation sounds similar to what I ran into. Sealed room, even with HVAC going, if the door is closed it does not circulate well.

Mini-split sounds like a nice/best solution. I was not as limited in my situation with 1 drop. I have 2 drops, but even so prior to my current re-build, it got warm or even hot much like you described.

I found that if I can just move the air out of the room, THROUGH the equipment closet and into an adjoining room (which happened to be a laundry room) it would keep the fresh air moving and avoid the stale "Frito" smell.

I went with a 160CFM fireplace fan from eBay (about ($50). The thing will move some air and is very, VERY quiet.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1413615/knoxvegas-bang-for-the-buck-theater

The receiver is on, the fan is on. it should have enough draw to pull air through the ducts even without the main HVAC system blowing.

Not sure if it is a solution for you, just perhaps a consideration..

John
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post #12 of 86 Old 09-26-2012, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
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The mini split systems probably offer the best flexability to temp control, however they there is the placement issue. Can't go along the side walls because there is just enough space to walk as is, plus I would have to tear into a bunch of my finished construction with DD+GG to get it installed. If I went on the back wall, there is a little more space, but I would still be tearing into a bunch of drywall to get it in place. At least there I could work from the family room side and only be tearing up 1 layer of regular 5/8" drywall, but still... Hmmmm....

Or there is the installation of a return somewhere in the basement, which I've wondered about in the past anyway. There are no doors at the top or the bottom of the stairway, so it is all open, but I think that if I could get a return put somewhere in the basement, then the whole basement would be more comfortible (not that it is bad now). Then something to vent the warm air out of the theater would be an option again...

Mini-splits seem to run at least $500-$800.
I could try some sort of fanned vent above the equipment rack for maybe $80 or so and then look at putting a return in the basement hallway maybe since that is about the only place near the center of the basement that I could install one without ripping into a finished bathroom or other finished area. I could put it in under the stairs since the return ducting is right on the other side of the stairs opposite the hallway. That would probably run another $75.

Hmmmm... (yeah, I know, I said that already. Just lots to think about.)

I wonder how close the "exhaust" from the theater would need to be to the return in the basement to work. I know the closer the better, but I would think that it would still work with the vent at the equipment rack and a new return under the stairs....
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post #13 of 86 Old 09-26-2012, 07:59 AM
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I am currently addressing this same issue in my Working Man's Theater.  I've asked all the same questions your asking.  My solution may be a bit different as my room is upstairs and I do currently have a return but alas its still not enough.  I have two 8" supplies and one 14x20 Return.  Our rooms are nearly identical my dims are 14x23x8.  With everything running(equipment) its still hot up there.  With the help of some forum members we calculated my projector and rack contributed about as much heat as 10people in the room!

 

  • Adding a return will help IMO, but IDK if it will be enough.
  • How are the temps during the winter?
  • Pulling air from rack and projector and dumping remotely will help.
  • Minisplit is prob a good solution and you could keep current setup.
  • Negative pressure in theater means whatever the HVAC is doing will be exacerbated(more heat during winter).

 

 

My solution ended up being(currently) an inline panasonic fan and a pid controller.  I'm doing a hush box and venting the rack remotely.  IDK if this will solve my prob yet, I'll still prob end up with a minisplit or a zoned system.

 

Good Luck, heat is a big prob for many theaters.

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post #14 of 86 Old 09-29-2012, 11:29 AM
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Interesting challenge you are dealing with but I am assuming not that uncommon. My house is currently under construction and BIG and I have examined my theater room and determined I would have the same issue if we did not add a return.

On BIG's suggestion I spoke with the builder and hopefully we will get this addressed during construction.

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post #15 of 86 Old 10-03-2012, 04:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickbuol View Post

The mini split systems probably offer the best flexability to temp control, however they there is the placement issue. Can't go along the side walls because there is just enough space to walk as is, plus I would have to tear into a bunch of my finished construction with DD+GG to get it installed. If I went on the back wall, there is a little more space, but I would still be tearing into a bunch of drywall to get it in place. At least there I could work from the family room side and only be tearing up 1 layer of regular 5/8" drywall, but still... Hmmmm....
Or there is the installation of a return somewhere in the basement, which I've wondered about in the past anyway. There are no doors at the top or the bottom of the stairway, so it is all open, but I think that if I could get a return put somewhere in the basement, then the whole basement would be more comfortible (not that it is bad now). Then something to vent the warm air out of the theater would be an option again...
Mini-splits seem to run at least $500-$800.
I could try some sort of fanned vent above the equipment rack for maybe $80 or so and then look at putting a return in the basement hallway maybe since that is about the only place near the center of the basement that I could install one without ripping into a finished bathroom or other finished area. I could put it in under the stairs since the return ducting is right on the other side of the stairs opposite the hallway. That would probably run another $75.
Hmmmm... (yeah, I know, I said that already. Just lots to think about.)
I wonder how close the "exhaust" from the theater would need to be to the return in the basement to work. I know the closer the better, but I would think that it would still work with the vent at the equipment rack and a new return under the stairs....

Before I added my mini split. I had a large exhaust fan.... and it worked at lowering the temperature but not enough to keep things comfortable. Also, it wasn't too loud but distracting in quiet scenes (even though I bought a quiet model and added 8 mini rack fans to draw additional hot air out). SO that solution was a loser. I wouldn't even spend the $80 or $100 in fans. It will not do it for your situation. Tear up a little drywall, add the mini split and repaint and you'll never look back.

My Home Theater of the Month- Le Petit Trianon

There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #16 of 86 Old 10-03-2012, 05:57 AM - Thread Starter
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What is the ballpark price for a minisplit that would work for something like my 14' x 24' x 8' space?
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post #17 of 86 Old 10-03-2012, 07:05 AM
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Nick,

I bought mine for around $750. I bought a 1 ton unit. It is plenty for my room (and our rooms are almost identical in size - yours is 2 feet longer). You can spend more for a brand name unit, but I personally couldn't justify the additional cost for something that was going to see seldom use.

Remember you will need someone to pull a vacuum on your line set before you release the refrigerant charge.
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post #18 of 86 Old 06-12-2013, 09:13 PM
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Candidly I have tried just about everything mentioned in above. My equipment is in a separate location. I moved my projector into the soffit with an inline exhaust fan to suck out the hot air. Left the door open. Ran the house AC. Ran a fan (not ideal) to blow cool air in the room, ETC. My view is that as long as you have breathing humans in the room you need something to pull the moisture out and replace it with conditioned air. Which is why people seem pretty happy with their mini splits. Hopefully in the next week or so I will have my new ducted mini-split hooked up. It is odd but my room is always a little warm even though it is in the basement. Let's see if Mr. Slim can do the trick. Personally I like the room to be an ice box when watching a movie. Today it is far from it and feels stuffy. The biggest improvement was putting the projector in the soffit and sucking out the hot air.
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post #19 of 86 Old 06-13-2013, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Keep us posted on how that works. For us it really is fine most of the time in summer when it is just our family of 4, but with more than that, or in winter (where there is no A/C, and thus nothing trying to cool down the room), it gets warm quick.
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post #20 of 86 Old 06-14-2013, 10:36 AM
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I am very interested in this topic. I have been trying to figure out just how I am going to run air as I am building my theater right now. Currently, I have one vent in this area. I was going to run a second and put a return in as well. However, We don't run the main AC all that much. So, this will only help us when that is on. I do plan to vent over my equipment but that wont be pulling much from my room because only the front face of the equipment will be in the room.

I really like the idea of a mini-split and was wondering if I could put it behind my false wall? My screen and everything on that wall would be acoustically transparent. So, the air "should" go right though it, right? This keeps it on the same exterior wall as my AC unit and would keep it out of sight.

Any thoughts on this idea?
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post #21 of 86 Old 06-14-2013, 02:17 PM
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I have one vent and the only time it has gotten warm was when I had four people in the room watching a marathon for about 6 hours.

The vent I rigged up to pull heat out is too loud if I if I leave the fan all the way up and not enough if I turn it down. At some point I'll need to either muffle the noise or add a return. But usually my wife and I need blankets to stay warm even in summer so it's a low priority. My basement is always cold.

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post #22 of 86 Old 06-14-2013, 06:26 PM
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Don't recommend a vent or mini-split behind the AT screen. The minisplit just won't circulate through the screen or masking.
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post #23 of 86 Old 06-15-2013, 02:32 AM
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+1. You don't want your AT screen acting as a filter.


Does a mini split exchange air? (i/e deal with stale air). If not, then it doesn't deal with the issue
of trying to force air into a sealed room.
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post #24 of 86 Old 06-15-2013, 09:32 AM
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I would think the AT screen would also act as a dust filter and become dirty in time.
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post #25 of 86 Old 06-15-2013, 11:25 AM
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I am still gathering all the parts but will start mounting the outside unit today and running the lineset. My room is well insulated and can say the room doesn't get overly hot but becomes warmer and stuffy. Personally when I sit in my theater I want it comfortable and cool (very). I often have 4 people in there and it does get less comfortable as time goes. Solely my opinion but air conditioning is often over looked or not thought of enough (more Kentucky windage) which is what I did and people try to justify as it is good enough or can't tell. Personally I can tell and don't like it. BTW I would have saved a lot of money had I just did it right up front. I would not have liked stroking the check then but would have been cooler. When it comes to comfort watching a movie I am not willing to be hot/stuffy or have the comfort deteriorate as time goes. BTW nothing worse when a movie is over waking out of the room and feeling that the air outside of the room is a lot cooler.

If the ducted mini split does not work I will give up but can say the journey has been interesting.

Just for the fun of it here was my journey

-Heavy insulated room with 2x drywall green glue, gaskets, soffit with very little penetrating the double dry wall as everything was run through soffit to the extent I could. Room is 24x12 with equipment in a separate closet off the bathroom that is entered through the back door. Projector hung from ceiling. Room got hot very quick. I have 8 people watching the superbowl when opened the room. Had to leave door open and was too hot and stuffy. It was uncomfortable. Room had one 6" source right off the main trunk and a 4" in the bathroom attached to the theater--I did not want a lot of holes in the wall : ) I figured since it was in the basement it would stay cooler.

-Quickly added inline Panasonic 110ish CFM fan in equipment closet--equipment closet got cooler--I also have a Class D amp so it doesn't throw off too much heat.

-Added 6" return--still too hot

-Moved projector into soffit--a lot of work--shoots through a hole in the soffit--upgraded inline fan to 240cfm and hooked up both projector and equipment closet--biggest single improvement getting the projector exhausted directly out of room. Actually made the room look much more finished. The fan is all automated and is really nice.

-Got stupid--walking through home depot and saw a portable A/C unit--figured I could put it in a closet next to the theater and push cold air into the room--added another inline fan to blow air from portable ac unit. Added an 8" duct into room and pushed air from portable a/c unit into room. Helped a little for a few minutes but doesn't remove the moisture. BTW I am sure my room is unbalanced from air/in out so I never really used the A/C unit.

I realize this sounds all rigged up and it was but it was/is all automated and took a lot of time and money do what not was right right.

-Here is the final game plan. 1 ton Mitsubishi ducted minisplit. Projector going down to 110" cfm fan. Equipment closet will have a 6" return with louvered door. Theater will have 8" return, 8" supply and a 6" supply. All very short runs. BTW I am very lucky to have a utility closet/storage closet next to my theater. If not I would have been very boxed in. The mini split unit looks pretty good and with all the parts and tools I am in for about $2.5K which includes custom duct. I have a HVAC friend helping. My only concern is that the ducted split does not have enough air flow but I have made straight and short runs so we will see. From the reviews the Mitsubishi seemed like a good option but there was not a lot of options to go look at these things.

Candidly I looked at mini-spits but did not want a head unit in the room. I was helping a friend with getting a minisplit into his office and saw the ducted units so jumped on it. I also looked at buying a York 1.5 ton unit at some point and zoning my house unit but neither seemed like a great option. The york unit would have been very spendy and the form factor would have been tough to fit.

To do it over again I would have brought a HVAC person in when I was building the room (i.e., studded out) and asked what to do or just figuring it out up front. I did bring a handful of HVAC guys in after the room was built but I can't remember any of them really understanding the issue as they think it is just a normal room which it isn't and had a lot of bad recommendations like cutting a hole in the wall and venting the room into the utility close which would defeat all the drywall and green glue etc., etc.

The real issue is me. I don't like getting hot when watching a movie as it makes me feel like I am car sick. BTW I don't mind getting hot and don't use much A/C elsewhere but believe my theater needs to be cool.
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post #26 of 86 Old 06-15-2013, 12:45 PM
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Damn you logic and common sense! You've spoiled my plans again. Oh well It was an idea, a bad idea, but still an idea. rolleyes.gif I still think I going to add a mini-split I'll just have to put it on a different wall.
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post #27 of 86 Old 06-15-2013, 05:42 PM
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There's two issues at work here. You need adequate cooling, AND 2.5-3 air changes per hour.

I would start with a dead vent and then do the mini split if still needed.
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post #28 of 86 Old 06-16-2013, 12:54 PM
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I will be using a Mr. Slim ducted mini-split in my new home theatre, designed by Dennis Erskine and my local HVAC engineer. The room is about 19 x 21 x 9, and the unit will be 12000 BTU/hr (~1 Ton), The equipment closet will have a fan (~100 cfm) venting to the outside, and drawing air from the main theatre room through louvers. Fresh outside makeup air will be taken in on the return side of the mini-split air handler. Using oversize ducts and bar grilles to keep air velocity below 250 FPM.
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post #29 of 86 Old 06-16-2013, 06:23 PM
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LeBon that is the same unit I am using. Good luck with it. How many ducts do you have going in and coming out and what size are they?
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post #30 of 86 Old 06-16-2013, 07:12 PM
 
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Without a return, you are doing nothing with just having the supplies. Also with the extra load on the hvac unit you have, you may find that you will need to put in either a second system, or a mini-split, and turn those supplies into returns, to help get some of that air out of there.

The main problem that caused this, was by doing the home theater, without having a Manual J or Manual D, to consider the extra demand that you were going to place on your pre-existing unit.
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