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Nick's Homebrew Bar and Entertainment Area - Page 8

post #211 of 1235
Thread Starter 
Thanks Tim. I live in a small township and they have two inspectors that alternate. Both are part time. When I spoke to them the first time (and for previous projects) they told me that they don't have any modifications to the NEC. I'm not sure if he was confused about the outbuilding rule. I did find reference to that online.

I'm like you - I usually will push until I get an answer that I am confident is correct. Not someone just spewing perceived knowledge. With that said, I have found it is better not to push it with government officials. Years ago I bought a used car and went to register it. The agent at the secretary of state office tried to tell me that there is no way I paid so little for the car and told me she was going to have to charge me more (even though I had a signed receipt - which was the actual amount I paid). I made the mistake of arguing with her rather than speaking with someone more rational. She told me my registration would come in the mail. What I didn't know at the time is that she ended up turning me in to a state investigator claiming that I had stolen the car and was trying to register it. I was sick to my stomach thinking I was going to have to fight this in court. Fortunately, the investigator contacted me, told me she had done this many times before and that my registration was in the mail (at the correct price).

I may go ahead and "politely" clarify that this is not an outbuilding and ask him if it still applies.
post #212 of 1235
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Geordon View Post

That is exactly what I did. I had a piece of smoked 1/4" glass custom cut for the my equipment closet door on the inside of the theater, and use a magnetic catch to draw it tight against the weather stripping. My closet is on the back wall, but I have the advantage of having the actual space framed outside the HT, with an exterior weather-stripped door on the backside for full access to the rear of all the equipment. Makes for very easy maintenance. I don't hear anything from the closet, but then, again, there are no fans on my equipment, now that the HTPC sits in pieces on the floor, being replaced years ago by my HD-DVD and Blu-ray players.

Thanks Geordon. I will have to look into this. There is a great custom glass shop in town that has good pricing. I may even talk to them to see if they can even build a frame for it so that it will seal properly.
post #213 of 1235
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Geordon View Post

That sounds like it might work, if your supply and exhaust can be separated enough that you aren't sucking the warmed exhausted air right back into the closet.

If I did it this way, I was thinking I would pull air into the room from under the riser, but exhaust it from the top of the rack using a fan drawing air back out - maybe even to the outside.
post #214 of 1235
Thread Starter 
By the way Geordon, did you see that we are having a HEMI meet next month? Hopefully you can join us. There is a thread in the "Area Home Theater Meets" forum. You can just follow the link in my signature.

(sorry everyone else for the off topic post).
post #215 of 1235
Thread Starter 
The good, the bad and the ugly...

I will start with the bad. Last night, just as I was about to head down to the basement to do some wiring when my wife told me that the dryer wasn't heating up. Great - another expense to eat away at the theater budget. The good news was that after some testing, it was a bad ignitor. The even better news was that I had a spare (don't ask). Even though it ate up most of my basement work time, I really lucked out.

Now for the ugly. I knew it was coming, but it is finally time to face reality. I need to replace my roof. I am planning to do a complete tear off. This is really going to put a dent in the theater budget .

Back to the good stuff. I have officially begun my electrical rough in. While I have only started the non theater areas, at least I have started. I only have an hour or two at a time during the week, so I didn't want to start anything major like moving a gas pipe. I was trying to work on smaller tasks like installing boxes or running some wire.

My HVAC zoning equipment is also on its way. Most of it was drop shipped from Aprilaire and will be here tomorrow. The rest should arrive early next week.

Now I officially have plenty to keep me busy. Add to that another pinball show this weekend and Easter next weekend and things are going to be hectic.
post #216 of 1235
I will deff. be keeping up with this thread as it's given me some great options to look at when I move into my house next year.
post #217 of 1235
Thread Starter 
Thanks for taking a look southkhaki19. At the pace I am moving, you may have your theater done before me .
post #218 of 1235
Man if I had a dollar for every ignitor I have sitting around in the basement...

Pretty random that you had that Nick, but a great save!
post #219 of 1235
Thread Starter 

Pretty random that you had that Nick, but a great save!

Short version of this long story - My furnace died on Thanksgiving day a few years back. It was below zero outside and we were supposed to be leaving town for 2 days. Nothing was open, so I was forced to call "emergency" HVAC repair. I begged them to just sell me the ignitor. I would even drive to get it and pay their normally inflated prices.

NOPE. Everyone I called required a house call and diagnostics fee - at holiday rates. In the end, it cost me $350 for a $10 ignitor.

I swore I would always have a spare on hand after that day. I ordered it and kept it on a shelf.

Now for the lucky part. While I was looking at my dryer ignitor, I kept thinking "hmmmm, that looks really familiar". Luck would have it that it was the exact same part number and manufacturer of the spare I had for the furnace. What are the chances of that. I installed it and the dryer worked immediately. I went online and ordered another spare that night.
post #220 of 1235
Progress on wiring Nick?
Getting that in and done is a great feeling.

I'm kinda lucky when I did my wiring in Dec-2007/Jan-2008 prices were much lower then for 12ga and 14ga romex.
post #221 of 1235
Thread Starter 
Thanks for checking in Mike. I have been as sick as a dog!! I don't ever remember being this sick. I have been out of commission for a week now with limited computer time (forget about theater time).

With that said, I did make some progress last weekend. I got in all of the HVAC zoning equipment and began to mount the controller and power supply. First I had to mount a wooden panel to the concrete wall to attach them to.

Then I was able to mount the equipment to it. This is behind my furnace, so it is very convenient.

I was also able to install one of the powered dampers in one of the ducts (although it is not wired yet).

I hope to get back to work on the basement again in the next few days. I have quite a few more dampers to install and wire. Plus I need to run wires for a couple more thermostats to control the new zones. Once those items are complete, I can start to focus on the theater again.

About the only other thing that I got done this week is getting my new roof installed. While it was a bit painful in the budget department, I'm glad it is finally over.
post #222 of 1235
Hey Nick hope you're feeling better soon! The HVAC stuff looks very cool!
post #223 of 1235
Thread Starter 
Thanks Ben. I am really excited about the HVAC zoning. I am hoping that I will be able to get 3 or 4 dampers in per night. If I do, I should have the zoning installed in the next couple of weeks. If I had one full day, I could probably knock them all out, but I don't see that happening any time soon. It will be nice to focus on the theater again, but this really needs to get done first.

It looks like your build is really moving along nicely.
post #224 of 1235
Thanks! I'm starting to fall into the same boat though - lots of stuff to do around the house as the weather warms up. And oh yeah, there's always that work thing too
post #225 of 1235
Thread Starter 
As my cold continues to linger, I decided I can sit upstairs feeling awful, or I could go down and work in the basement and feel awful while making some progress.

I finally got down there today and began working again. I now have 10 dampers installed. I have the process pretty well figured out, so I am able to install them quicker now. Hopefully I can get the rest installed a few at a time during the next few evenings.

I also began reworking the wiring in the storage room. There are currently two lights in the storage room, but they are both powered by two separate circuits. I wanted the lights and two outlets in the storage room all on their own circuit, so I began by running a wire from the panel to a switch box in the storage room (the old lights were on pull strings). I also ran wiring for the HVAC zone controller and just need to run a wire to an existing outlet that powers a freezer (it is currently powered by yet another circuit that is mainly upstairs). A couple more wires to rough-in and I will have this room completed.

This electrical work needs to be completed so that I can power my zone controller. Once the zoning is completed, I can start to focus on the theater again.

Overall progress has been slow, but I am continuing to move forward.
post #226 of 1235
Thread Starter 
After the hockey game I decided to go work on the dampers some more. I'm glad I did because I now have 17 done. The last 4 are going to be a bit tricky to get to, but hopefully I can get them done in the next couple of days.

I still need to run a wire for the 2nd floor thermostat and wire the dampers. I'm not looking forward to going into the attic to run the thermostat wire, but at least wiring the dampers shouldn't be too difficult.
post #227 of 1235
A hour here and there adds up, I totally know how you feel.
Btw, 99% of people would never attempt what you (and other diy'ers) accomplish.
post #228 of 1235
Thread Starter 
Someone asked me if I could provide more information on the process of installing the dampers. I thought I would go ahead and post the information in my build thread so that others can see one option for zoning their system. It is important to note a couple of things before reading this information:
  1. I am in no way an expert in HVAC installation or design
  2. I have no formal training in HVAC installation or design
  3. It is simply not possible to cover all aspects of zoning an HVAC system in a build thread. There is way too much information and every system is different. This is simply how I installed my dampers.
  4. You should consult an expert before taking on a project like this. You can do serious damage, or even destroy, your HVAC system if you don't design it properly.
  5. If you have any doubt in your mind about your ability to do this properly, hire an expert.

Now that I have scared most of you away, if you have the proper design, equipment and skills to zone your HVAC system, I highly recommend that you do it. I have learned a lot during the process and I think that my entire home will benefit - not just the theater.

As far as dampers go, there are basically two types:

Your typical electric damper looks like this:

They come in a wide variety of diameters to fit most duct sizes. You can even get them in square and rectangular shapes. These are fit between the outlet on the main trunk and the duct itself. Once an electrical current is supplied to the motor on the damper, it will close, preventing air from flowing through that duct. The issue with these dampers with my project is that it would be very difficult to separate the existing ducts in some areas, shorten it and then install the damper.

The other type of damper that is available is the retrofit damper:

This type of damper is installed by cutting a diamond shaped slot into the side of the duct near the outlet of the trunk and inserting the damper. It is a one piece design and is typically only available for a 6" round duct. Once installed, they operate like the metal dampers.

I selected to purchase normally open dampers. If this unit ever fails, a spring will force the unit into the open position so that the duct is not blocked. This will allow you to continue heating and cooling your house.

On to the actual installation:

1. In addition to basic hand tools, the only "specialty tool" you will need is a good set of tin snips. Not all snips are the same. You typically can buy them in 3 types (a) straight cutting, (b) left cutting and (c) right cutting. If you are going to be doing any metal cutting at all, don't fool around trying to save a few bucks. Just spend the money to buy a set of 3 Wiss snips. They are the best available and are available at the big box stores for $30 per set of 3. You will kick yourself if you buy the cheap Chinese knockoffs.

2. Once you determine where the damper is going to be installed (typically as close to the supply trunk as possible), you simply apply an adhesive pattern so that you know how much material to cut from the duct. Make sure you apply it in the direction of the air flow.

3. To help get started cutting out the sheet metal, I drill a 1/4" hole in the duct so that I can insert the snips and start cutting out material.

4. I then use the left and right cutting snips to cut out the material. Because of the angle of the lines, it is much easier to use the two angled snips rather than the straight snips. Just take your time cutting so that you don't cut too much material. Start by cutting small pieces out so that you can get your snips into the hole at the correct angle. Be extremely careful while cutting the sheet metal. The edges will be razor sharp and can cut you easily. I highly recommend wearing gloves will cutting ducts.

Once you are done, you will have a diamond shaped hole in the duct and the template will be gone.

5. Once the hole is cut, all you need to do is insert the damper and attach it to the duct using some 1/2" sheet metal screws. That's it. The dampers have a thick, rubber gasket material on the back to ensure that they seal tightly to the duct so that no air leaks.

Hopefully this will help some of you better understand the process of installing a retrofit electric damper. Again, I only covered one very small piece of this project, so do your homework before beginning any work. There is a lot more to learn about including zone controllers, bypass dampers, transformers, thermostats along with many other topics.
post #229 of 1235
Thread Starter 
I didn't make as much progress this weekend as I would have liked, but that was mostly because I underestimated how much work was needed. The biggest issue was how much I underestimated how much work wiring the dampers was going to be. It is taking much longer (and much more wire) than I had anticipated. I am about 3/4 of the way through the wiring.

I also pulled the wiring for the second floor thermostat. Working in the attic was just as bad as a remembered . I still need to patch a hole I cut in the wall to help run the wire, but that won't be too bad. Running the wires was a little trickier than i had planned because once the wires were at the basement, one set had to run towards the home automation panel and the other towards the zone controller which is in the opposite direction. I ended up running a 7 conductor wire to the zone controller which will allow me to upgrade to a 2 stage HVAC unit in the future as well as automate my humidifier or a dehumidifier. I then ran a 4 conductor wire to the automation panel to actually control the unit and provide other data (only 3 conductors are used).

Hopefully this week I will be able to button up this part of the project. I am looking forward to getting back to the theater work.
post #230 of 1235
Thread Starter 
I made some progress over the past couple of evenings. I finished wiring up zones 1 and 2 of my HVAC system. This is 18 of the 21 dampers that I have installed. I am not going to wire the last 3 until I determine where I will run the supplies for the theater. Right now, two of the ducts are in the theater, but I plan to pull those out into the general basement and run a new supply at the front of the theater, but this isn't finalized. I know I am going to need to add a couple more ducts to the general basement and 2 to the theater. With that said, right now zones one and two can be controlled and the basement will receive air from both for the time being because they will not close until they are wired.

I also completed the installation of the 2nd floor thermostat. Right now I have this thermostat run to the zone controller, but the 1st floor thermostat is still connected directly to the air handler. I don't want to make the final switch until I have time to do some testing and ensure that everything is working properly.

I did turn everything on and set the temperature on the second floor to a cooler temp so it would kick on and request cool air from the zone controller. Even though it isn't actually hooked up to the air handler yet, it did send a command to the zone controller which in turn closed the dampers for the 1st floor zone. It appears that everything is working exactly as planned. Now I just need time to make the final switch.

The other good news is that the dampers are very quiet. I couldn't hear anything when they closed. I was slightly worried that you would hear the motor turning every time they opened or closed.

While this portion of the project was a bit time consuming, I am starting to get very excited about it. I think that this is going to give me more control over the entire home as well as allowing me to cool the theater in the winter while the other zones are in heat mode.
post #231 of 1235
Thanks for the how to on the dampers. You have me rethinking our homes wild temperature variations.
post #232 of 1235
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by BllDo View Post

Thanks for the how to on the dampers. You have me rethinking our homes wild temperature variations.

Once you get past the initial planning phase, it really does give you the ultimate control. Depending on how your ducts are laid out, your design and installation may be much simpler.
post #233 of 1235
Nick, can you spend quick time briefly detailing what you plan to do to blow off excess CFM when you have many dampers closed.

Did you build a loop branch (i was thinking this could be done in the programing that if zone 1 or 2 is closed, then the loop branch damper MUST be open, and if all zones are open then the loop branch must be closed).

Lets say you have zone 1 and 2 closed and only the 3 trunks (out of 21) for the theater need cool air...where are you dumping the CFMs?
post #234 of 1235
Seeing the Aprilaire logo on the equipment, I am going to guess it was designed to use Controlled Pressure relief. I am half way through zoning my HVAC (the dampers are in but the controller is not wired in yet). When the dampers close, they don't close all the way. There is a "Bypass" position, so the damper is mostly closed, but not quite. As long as the smallest of your zones is 25% of the total system flow (if I remember correctly) this method will work.

System Pressure Relief
With a Zoned Comfort Control System, some form of
pressure relief must be designed into the system to assure
proper operation and reduce the possibility of noise due to
airflow. The method of pressure relief that has been designed
into your system could include use of a bypass damper or the
Aprilaire method of controlled pressure relief. With the
controlled pressure relief method, a predetermined amount of
air is allowed to pass through a closed damper. The amount
of air that is passed by each damper (the bypass) is not
enough to cause a noticeable temperature change in a noncalling
zone, but is enough to relieve the higher system
post #235 of 1235
Thread Starter 
Brian is correct. The dampers are designed so that a slight amount of air can pass by the damper. There are 3 settings which you can set how much air passes. Aprilaire claims that even set with the greatest amount of air getting through that it will not impact the temperature in other zones by more than 1 degree. There is a spreadsheet that I used to calculate air flow by zone based on which damper setting I used. In a typical setup, you will not create enough backpressure to be an issue.

With that said, my basement zone is pretty small and is on the edge of acceptable. My theater zone is going to be very small and would not work. In addition, I chose to use the completely closed setting on the damper so that I am not pumping cold air to other parts of the house when I am cooling the theater in the winter. Because of that I needed a method of releasing the back pressure. Again, using the calculations from the spreadsheet to determine how much air will be needed for just the smallest zone, you subtract this number from the minimum allowable CFM for your HVAC system to determine exactly how much air must be bypassed.

Once you know this, you have two options. (1) excess air can be released into a "dump zone" which is basically a duct that pushes air into an area like a utility or storage room. This duct has no damper and is always open. It must be sized to allow enough air to pass regardless of which zones are running. The issue with this solution is that you are always heating or cooling a room that may not need it. Additionally, you could be pumping cold air into this room in the winter (while cooling the theater) making it and the rooms near it uncomfortable. Or, (2) you can use a bypass damper/valve that automatically opens when too much pressure builds up and dumps excess air back into the cold air return so that it is then circulated back through the system so that it can be re-used. If enough air is flowing to the zones, no air is bypassed. There are two types of bypass valves - mechanical valves that use a weighted arm that is adjusted so that it opens when the right amount of pressure is reached. These are less expensive, but must be manually adjusted to achieve the right balance in the arm so that they aren't open too often, and don't stay closed when pressure builds up. There are also bypasses that use a barometric valve to open them at the exact pressure that is desired. These are much more reliable/accurate, but cost significantly more.

One last precaution that I took with my system is to put a temperature sensor right at the HVAC plenum to determine how hot or cold the air coming out of the air handler is. The reason you should do this is so that if you somehow dump too much air back through the cold air return (all zones are closed) you don't overheat or freeze the coils. The zone controller will shut down the entire system at a desired temperature. I'm still trying to figure out a way I can have my automation system notify me if this happens and/or log it so that I know it happened. I may call Aprilaire to explore this option more. I do know how to read the temps the sensor is reading based on the resistance, but I don't know how I would measure that real time to use it.

Because I haven't finalized the HVAC feed ducts for my theater, I don't know exactly what size bypass I need yet. The way I am getting around this is by not closing the ducts in my basement zone (they are normally open). This ensures that I will never build up too much pressure. The combination of zone 1 plus the basement or zone 2 plus the basement releases more than enough pressure to prevent any issues. When I do install the ducts in my theater, I plan to install a barometric bypass for my system.
post #236 of 1235
Thread Starter 
Now that phase 1 of my HVAC zoning is up and running, it is time to get back to the theater. One of the items that I have brought up before, but still has me stumped is the HVAC supply lines for the theater. Here is a picture of the ducts that are currently in the theater ceiling:

The green ducts run through the ceiling, but supply air to the family room which is above the theater. The red ducts are currently feeding air into the theater area. All 4 of these ducts are insulated flex duct. I was greatly concerned that having the supply lines enter the theater like this would allow a large amount of unwanted sound to enter/exit the theater. I began looking at pulling the two red lines back into the main part of the basement to provide air there and then running two new lines to the front of the theater behind the screen. These lines would then supply air to ducts that would be hidden in a soffit on either side of the basement. After lots of design and review, I really want to figure out how to use the existing ducts, or at least run ducts through the ceiling and directly feed air into the theater without running the ducts through the soffit. There are three main reasons for this:
  1. My ceiling height is pretty low (about 7' 6" finished) and I don't want to lose more space to large soffits.
  2. The joists in the theater are 12" on center (vs 16" on center in the main basement). Because these joists don't align, it would be very difficult to run a duct through the ceiling to behind the screen wall.
  3. The theater ceiling also steps down from the main basement ceiling, so not only do the joist not align side to side, there is only a 2-3" high space top to bottom to push the ducts through where they do align.

With all of that said, is there a way to isolate the ducts between the joists (similar to a dead vent) so that I can avoid feeding them through a soffit? I originally was thinking of making a double drywall and green glue box around the ducts between the joists, but because the space is so tight between the joists, I don't know how I would isolate these boxes from the joists and subfloor above. If I do form dd & gg boxes around them, will it make a significant difference? How much difference is there in this design vs. running the ducts into the room and then through a soffit?

I am open to any and all suggestions. I really don't want to compromise the sound isolation of my theater, but I am not seeing an easy way to solve this problem.
post #237 of 1235
Thread Starter 
I spoke with John at the Soundproofing Company today and he gave me tons of great tips for dealing with my ducts. I now just need to decide which location is best for the registers.

Option 1 would be to keep the two existing ducts in the joists they are already in and extend one and shorten the other. These ducts would then feed a register in the soffit. This would require some custom duct work in the soffits, but I think I may be able to keep them thin enough and leave enough room for wiring in the soffit. The two red lines would be the registers in the soffit. I'm guessing they would be around 4x48.

Option 2 would be to leave the left duct where it is and add another duct closer to the front of the theater. I like this option better because it doesn't require me to run ducts in the soffits, but it would require two parallel ducts across the front of the theater. I'm not sure how that would look. This option also frees up space in the soffits for lights.

As far as the soundproofing goes, John suggested building a backer box similar to those used behind lights. This box would wrap the duct and help reduce noise.
post #238 of 1235
Just wondering if you ever decided which kegerator you were going to go with?

Trying to find a commercial grade under-counter kegerator has been difficult to say the least. I was looking at building in the Beverage Air DD48Y-1-B but I think that is really more kegerator than I need.

Right now I am leaning towards the Glastender KC24-N1-SS3(L) which is only 24" wide but has 3 taps for 3 sixtels and can be mounted under-cabinet as long as you leave airflow on each side.

I plan on ordering from shortorder.com as soon as I talk to my cabinet guy.
post #239 of 1235
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by godsbrother View Post

Just wondering if you ever decided which kegerator you were going to go with?

Trying to find a commercial grade under-counter kegerator has been difficult to say the least. I was looking at building in the Beverage Air DD48Y-1-B but I think that is really more kegerator than I need.

Right now I am leaning towards the Glastender KC24-N1-SS3(L) which is only 24" wide but has 3 taps for 3 sixtels and can be mounted under-cabinet as long as you leave airflow on each side.

I plan on ordering from shortorder.com as soon as I talk to my cabinet guy.

I have been looking for a used Beverage Air in good condition. I am really kicking myself because last week there was an ad for a garage sale that had an all stainless 2 keg cooler with built in sink. I meant to email before the sale and get the price, but I forgot until the morning the sale started. They emailed me back that it sold for their asking price of $300. Because I use 5 gallon kegs, I could fit 5 or six kegs in this cooler. I hope to have 6 beers on tap. I will keep watching until I get closer. If I can't find anything used by then, I will probably pull the trigger on something similar to what you are looking at.

Keep your eye on Craig's List. They pop up in my area about every 2-3 weeks. The problem is that they are often (a) very old, (b) huge or (c) overpriced.
post #240 of 1235
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know where I can purchase a diffuser like the one in this picture. I would prefer one with two slots instead of three, but either will work. I would love to find something online since whenever I call the local HVAC suppliers, they seem to have no idea what I am talking about.

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