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Basement Home Theater Ventilation

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone;

I would like some advice on your experiences with ventilation in a basement home theater. My current plan is a small room (11'x12'). I originally planned to add one supply and one return through the house HVAC system with dead vents to preserve sound proofing. After playing around with my projector today, however, I realized how hot the air coming out of it was. It felt like a heat register for the room. So now I am thinking that I should skip the HVAC and just add a fan to circulate the home theater air with the rest of the basement when it gets warm. My concern is that the room will be very cold in the winter, however, because I live in upstate New York. What have your experiences been with basement home theater ventilation. If you tapped into HVAC does the room get too hot? If you added a separate fan does it not heat up in the winter?

As always thank you in advance for your help!
post #2 of 40
You want hvac plus fresh air in/out - powered both is good or just the out/pull

Every room needs cooling - even in the middle of winter
post #3 of 40
Thread Starter 
Ok. So run a supply and return from the HVAC but put a fan on the return so that it can be independently controlled? Is that what you are suggesting?
post #4 of 40
We zoned the system when we did the basement. Basement is zone 3, Theater is on its own zone #4. A little bigger than yours 17 x 19 roughly, but ended up spec'ing to four 6" runs off two main trunks.
post #5 of 40
If you have supplies and returns for the area outside the theater you certainly can hook up some quiet fans with dead vents to exchange the air. That solution does offer a little more sound isolation than tapping off the main supply/return trunks for the house.

As an observation, it is pretty rare to read complaints about a theater room being too cold. Once you get a couple of people in the room and turn on the projector a well insulated, air-tight, sound isolated space is going to get toasty in no time. Also, the air will get nasty if there isn't a fresh air source.

On the other hand rooms that are too warm are quite common so be sure you don't underestimate the cooling needs.

Now having said that the best solution is a dedicated HVAC unit with an outside fresh air exchange, Second best would be a zoned system with a thermostat in the theater controlling that zone, In both cases the system should be capable of providing cooling in the middle of winter, you will need it.
post #6 of 40
aaustin, you have mail...
post #7 of 40
I am also in Upstate NY, (Rochester), and I have a basement home theater with no HVAC running to it. I'm not saying it's ideal, but it's not bad. My basement is a completely finished walkout, and does have HVAC runs in the other parts, although I don't have them on most of the time.

The basement maintains 60-65* all year, and I leave the door open when the theater is not in use to circulate some air. With a bunch of people and the projector going it's bearable in the winter. I did actually put a space heater in there last winter to warm it up before use, but even when everything is running, it's not hot by any means.

Summer time is fine, as it's a welcome retreat to go down there and "chill out" for a while in the 60* temps.

If I were to rebuild from scratch, I would add HVAC.
post #8 of 40
Thread Starter 
Thanks ADDupstate. Nice to see another rochester person on here Also thanks for the info Ted. I will definitely be using those building techniques.

So I guess I'm still confused on how to approach this. If I only do hvac to the room I'm concerned that it will get too hot (though ADDupstate doesn't seem to have this problem). But if I don't do hvac then it will be to cold in the winter. Is there any way I could run a supply and return from the hvac to the theater but put an inline fan into the return to come on for the theater when I need it? Would this be a concern since I would be adding fans into the hvac system? Or should I just skip the separate fan, run the hvac to the room, and be done with it?
post #9 of 40
Most instances the need is to cool a theater. The room is sealed up tight as a mayonnaise jar, insulated like crazy and will heat up fast.

In the winter, the HVAC isn't providing cool air, only warmed air, so where to get cool air? If you have a zoned system, you can have fresh winter air from the outside piped in.

You could also look at not having the theater tied in to the main HVAC and install a mini-split.

Lastly, you could simply exchange the theater air for the cooler air that is in the rest of the basement. That's what I did, and that's whenthe first Dead Vents were built.
post #10 of 40
Thread Starter 
Thanks Ted. I like the idea of exchanging the air with the rest of the basement and not doing hvac in the theater. Have you had trouble with the theater being too cold in the winter? Does it take a while to warm up because you need to wait for the hot components to heat the room? I say this because at my old house, where the theater was not in a separate insulated and soundproofed room but rather just part of the large basement, it was always cold in the winter.
post #11 of 40
I've been in the theater since 1999, and have never had augmented heat. I had intentions to install a small baseboard heater, but never felt the need.
post #12 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaustin View Post

Thanks Ted. I like the idea of exchanging the air with the rest of the basement and not doing hvac in the theater. Have you had trouble with the theater being too cold in the winter? Does it take a while to warm up because you need to wait for the hot components to heat the room? I say this because at my old house, where the theater was not in a separate insulated and soundproofed room but rather just part of the large basement, it was always cold in the winter.

If you do the soundproofing right, Ted is correct, the room will always be warm. If it gets too warm in winter you will either need a dead vent which cycles air out of an adjacent zone in the basement, or have it connect to another zone and run the fan to circulate the air. In places where you actually have "winter", you shouldn't run an A/C unit in the winter (other than the fan or heat) because ice/snow conditions can damage the outdoor portion of the unit if it is running.
post #13 of 40
They actually make/modify AC units specifically to run in winter weather. They include some form of heating elements in the outside compressor so that it isn't damaged. Seems rather silly when all you really need to do is open a window and circulate that air into the theater.
post #14 of 40
With Ted's help I put in one dead vent supply and one return exchanging with the basement. I live in Michigan and the basement stays at around 65-67 degrees. My room is well sealed. It warms up once the door is closed within 30 minutes and stays around 72 with the vents running. I have a feeling that with more than 2 of us in there, it could still get a little toasty. For this reason, I had a minisplit installed as well, but haven't really felt the need to use it, even in the summer, with only a couple people in the theater.
post #15 of 40
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the great advice guys! Does anyone have a recommendation for a fan to use? I like the ones that Ted references in his diagrams but they are a little pricey. Has anyone ever used a bathroom fan outside the theater with flex pipe attached to it? Also do you have the fans on a temperature control?
post #16 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted White View Post

I've been in the theater since 1999

Jeez Ted, you really need to get out more
post #17 of 40
Hahahaha!!!!!
post #18 of 40
Aaustin, you can look around at other similar fans. Panasonic comes to mind.
post #19 of 40
Depending on location you might want to consider a Fantech inline fan. One source is HVACquick.com

Not a lot of the in-line fans have their noise rating published, this one from Panasonic does

http://www.bathroomfanexperts.com/pr...product=111092

The farther you can keep the fan from the theater the quieter it will be.
post #20 of 40
Thread Starter 
Awesome! Thank you very much.

What kind of cfm rating should I be looking for? The room is small (11'x12').
post #21 of 40
Your room is about 1100 cu ft, I think the goal is 10 exchanges per hour so you need something that will do 183 cu ft minute. Keep in mind that the fans aren't 100% efficient and I don't know what to factor in for that issue.
post #22 of 40
Thread Starter 
Would something like this work:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0007N...dir_mdp_mobile

I know that the 500cfm rating is max airflow so it will not have that much. But if I truly only need about 180cfm for my room (actually a little less since the ceilings are only 7ft) would this work? I could locate it a maximum of about 12 feet from the theater with flex duct for sound deadening purposes. Then in the theater it would run through a soffit for about 6ft. Thoughts and opinions?

Edit: upon further investigation the specs say 210 cfm "free air movement" and max 500 cfm assisted.
post #23 of 40
Maybe, not sure of how loud it is, You may want to wrap some of the tin with dynamat to keep it from vibrating.

post #24 of 40
Man, I just wouldn't rely on that fan to be permanently buried in my soffit and expect it to move any air or last long
post #25 of 40
Thread Starter 
I would locate it outside the theater in the unfinished space so that I can access it. I guess its worth a look. I'll pick one up at home depot this weekend and test the airflow and noise.
post #26 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted White View Post

Man, I just wouldn't rely on that fan to be permanently buried in my soffit and expect it to move any air or last long

Actually electrical code requires fans to be accessible not buried in a soffit. It should be considered the same as a junction box which can't be hidden away.
post #27 of 40
This is not a good idea. Sorry to be so absolute, and I'm not looking to ruffle feathers, but the fan pictured isn't going to move much air and cannot be counted on to last.
post #28 of 40
+1 Agree, At $31 I would consider it an experimental project while you wait for the full $200 funding to become available.

For a chuckle you should check out the Ebay listings for inline fans. They are predominated with ads for fans for Hydroponic applications some with carbon filters. One vendor promises to ship it to you in "discrete" packaging. Some use the phrase grow lights. I didn't realize that setting up grow houses was that big of a volume business to warrant target marketing.
post #29 of 40
Actually those sites tend to have some pretty heavy duty fans and good prices. I'm with Big in that you should not avoid those sites simply because of their theme. The fans are good and the prices seem sharp
post #30 of 40
Thread Starter 
No worries Ted . You have much more experience than me and I appreciate the advice. I will do some more searching and look at the eBay fans before reporting back here.
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