High BTU theater - AC return vent mod
My theater is about 24’ x 24’ x and a multi angular ceiling height of about 15’ near the front screen wall. Near the peak at 15’ there is a very large supply and return which are about 16” x 16” plus. They are about 5’ or 6’ apart (which is less than ideal). I have all my theater equipment in the theater (many McIntosh amps, an MX160 etc...). The bulk of the equipment is under the main supply and return, which is a good thing. The rack puts out moderate heat, but not near as much as the 5000es. I can’t relocate any of the equipment outside the theater, nor is a hush box feasible for the projector.
The issue is, the 5000es is in the back of the room and far away from the supply/return. The ceiling height near the projector slopes down to about 8’. The 5000es puts out a fair amount of heat even in low mode and quite a bit more in high (over 80 on the laser). On warm to hot days the 5000 strains the AC system a bit due to its high BTUs and location. The theater has its own AC zone with motorized dampers. The total house system is 5 tons with 4 motorized zones. 2 speed condenser with variable speed air handler.
My options are to put in a Mitsubishi mini split to assist in cooling at some point in the future. However, even if I did a mini split, part of the issue in the theater is the heat from the 5000 has nowhere to go as it is not near any returns. My thoughts are... to put a Y at the main return, and a reduction collar at the main return so internally it’s half the size that it used to be (reduced to approx 10”). Then branch off the same main return at the Y creating a second 10” return as close to the projector as we can reach (about 18’ away). I’m sure you would recommend the return ceiling vent be located as close to the front of the projector as possible. Perhaps a foot or two in front of the 5000, as the ceiling slopes up in front of the projector and heat rises. Vent can’t be in back of it, as it is not reachable... ceiling starts to pinch there. The main and only supply stays put in its original location.
Is this a logical path? Without the giant return at the ceiling peak (now reduced in size by 50%, and a second return down low, will that make things worse in the room, especially when the projector is not On? Heat rises, which favors the high up (peak return), but capturing the heat as it leaves the projector may help excessive heat dispersion into the room. In theory I would think this mod is the better way to go. Correct?
My HVAC guy is top notch, but a bit torn as to how effective this HVAC mod it will be. He has minimal experience with high BTU theaters, especially with a fairly large BTU projector in the rear of a room.
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Last edited by G-Rex; 09-12-2019 at 05:30 AM.