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Hi all. I'm new here. Been lurking for about a month and finally decided to make an account today. My wife and I are buying our first home in the next year and my one and only caveat is that there is enough room for me to build a dedicated HT. I have found a lot of stickied threads documenting builds with a lot of tips on the construction aspect. I feel like I have a good handle on that stuff, but know very little about HVAC and Electrical requirements and builds. Does anyone know of any threads on here or books they can recommend to give me a better idea of both the theory behind and the building of HVAC and electrical for home theaters?

Thanks in Advance!
 

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What is it exactly that you want to know? You have to be more specific I suppose. Are you worried about exccesive heat and amperage from your equipment? Or just how to run everything. Are you wanting to retrofit a room to a HT or add on to the house? If you're just retrofitting a room than the current AC system may already have the right tonnage, and you could install a zoning panel with dampers to have more control over which areas get cool/heat. As far as electrical I wouldn't think you would need to do anything special. There are HVAC threads on other sites that may help you out too. I do commercial/industrial HVAC service. I'd love to help you out but need more information.
 

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I guess the problem is that I really don't know anything at all about it. Is their a book or website you would suggest as a basic primer for HVAC? I also don't really understand how you maintain any sort of soundproofing when you have a big HVAC duct connected to your theater.
 

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If you use metal ductwork it will carry sound through it, but not with the plastic tubing ducts. Hvac is pretty simple really, just base the amount of vents you install in each room by the square footage of each room and the system will stay pretty balanced. If you're theater is to be sealed off you'll want to install a supply and a return in there.

In many states it is not legal to install your own hvac so you will likely get resistance from home improvement forums, but search around a little bit whenever you have a specific question and you'll get your answers. I installed mine in a 2400 sq/ft home and had never done that type of work before and my system works great.

Also don't point the vents at your sitting area, it's uncomfortable. Better to point them toward a wall so the air disperses from there.
 

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Well you would need EPA certification to do anything mechanically (refrigeration) but as far as duct work I don't see a legal issue. If your electrically sound than it wouldn't be too difficult if you can follow a schematic but I'm assuming not. You are probably better off having a technician do any HVAC if absolutely needed.
 

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You will notice most people here use romex for electrical. It looks like you in the Chicagoland area based on your location like me. We can't use romex here so you'll probably need to use rigid metal conduit. I was going to do mine, but I'm going to use an electrician instead since I have no idea where to start learning electrical work with rigid metal conduit.
 

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Rigid metal conduit sucks. I did one run of that to where my system was. I used that because it acts like a shield. I also used hospital type outlets with isolated grounds. Putting in the metal conduit for that one project was tough. Romex is far easier.

There are a bunch of good electrical books. "How to wire a house" is a good one. I also got an annotated copy of the NEC (national electrical code), but there's a lot in there that's not relevant.
 

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I wrote a bunch of blog articles about power. http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/category/blog/power/


This is the overview article: http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/201348power-and-grounding-for-audio-and-home-theater-systems/


Generally speaking highest performance is a single dedicated line for AV home run to the main panel. Put a surge protector on the main panel. Then put an isolation transformer in the rack and hook up ALL your AV gear to it. That includes projectors, subs and anything else distributed around the room. Most HTs can run off a 20A circuit and a 20A isolation transformer. If you really need more isolation transformers are available up to 290A!
 

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There are lots of books/ information out there for HVAC/ electrical wiring to see whats involved...But... If you are unsure of yourself in the least bit to DIY , hire someone that is not only licensed but insured to do this work. There are too many electrical jockeys out there with pipe and reels of wire strapped to the roof of their cars ( beware) . Find someone with a good track record/ references that is not a fly by night company. NEC is a good starting point but you will have to deal with local codes if you are taking out a permit for your theater. There are even a handful of IBEW guys on this forum , including myself, that can steer you in the right direction. Again, just be careful of doing " electrical from a book". You may have to answer questions from your insurance company down the road if something goes south. Hope this helps.
 

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There are lots of books/ information out there for HVAC/ electrical wiring to see whats involved...But... If you are unsure of yourself in the least bit to DIY , hire someone that is not only licensed but insured to do this work. There are too many electrical jockeys out there with pipe and reels of wire strapped to the roof of their cars ( beware) . Find someone with a good track record/ references that is not a fly by night company. NEC is a good starting point but you will have to deal with local codes if you are taking out a permit for your theater. There are even a handful of IBEW guys on this forum , including myself, that can steer you in the right direction. Again, just be careful of doing " electrical from a book". You may have to answer questions from your insurance company down the road if something goes south. Hope this helps.
Not if you get your work inspected.

And I'm hesitant to say that if you follow a book, you'll be in trouble. Most of the books are updated to the latest codes (which of course are a moving target). This is the book I liked, though I have several:

Wiring a House

Of course, local codes might override what's in this book, but if you follow the book and get your work inspected, I don't see where you can go wrong.

I wired a lot of my previous house and got everything inspected. Now, I have a master's in electrical engineering, so to me, wiring is pretty easy.
 

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If you are doing the wiring yourself, purchase some decent wire / cable strippers. There is a " feel " to doing common house wiring/ stripping cable. Knicking copper/ or wire insulation wrongly is a danger that can't be best described out of a "book". It takes physical practice to get comfortable with it. Try practising on some scrap pieces before committing to your finished plugs/ switches.
 

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If you are doing the wiring yourself, purchase some decent wire / cable strippers. There is a " feel " to doing common house wiring/ stripping cable. Knicking copper/ or wire insulation wrongly is a danger that can't be best described out of a "book". It takes physical practice to get comfortable with it. Try practising on some scrap pieces before committing to your finished plugs/ switches.
This is the kind of resistance I was talking about. People in the trade are very against the DIY'er for obvious reasons. It's not rocket science tho, you can do it! Just beleive in your self!
 

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This is the kind of resistance I was talking about. People in the trade are very against the DIY'er for obvious reasons. It's not rocket science tho, you can do it! Just beleive in your self!
Drunkpenguin....You are twisting my comments . I never implied any resistance towards anyone DIY'ing. I'm simply stating that electrical wiring is more involved than other portions of a theater build. I'm only offering mild guidance/ advice. I speak from 28 years of licensed experience. :cool:
 

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I know you're intentions are good, but as a DIY'er who built his own house I know how contractors tend to look down on us. There is a widespread general feeling that we should not be capable of these things and to leave it up to the pros. What the average person doesn't realize is that once you get into it construction is pretty simple and straight forward. I had many people trying to steer me away from it all, but 10 years later my house is worth 3 times what it cost me to build it.

Electrical is not that involved, it's scary at first, but can be learned in just a few minutes on youtube. In most cases you have 3 wires to figure out so as I said it's not rocket science. My only point is many of the people with such knowledge do not like to hand it out for free, especially in a home improvement forum.
 

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" Electrical is not that involved, it's scary at first, but can be learned in just a few minutes on youtube" ? Is the most foolish statement I have ever seen. " In most cases you have 3 wires to figure out" - Second most foolish statement. It's inexperienced people " learning electrical off Youtube" that have their houses burned down to the ground. It's about safety / proper installation and circuit loading. This is why I chime in on certain posts. I am not out to claw back electrical work from anyone so do not paint me with the same brush. Lets BOTH move on and enjoy this website please.
 

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Can't we all just get along?

On the one hand I don't think there's really any knack to stripping wire (just get a nice set of Klein strippers) and on the other hand I think there's a lot more to know than just what a book or electrical theory will teach you. If you work with a good (and patient) inspector you should be fine.

In either case I think we are all just trying to help.

My bit of help would be to look at saferproducts.gov if you buy a book on electrical. Surprise surprise, they have recalls on them because they include wrong information.

Tim
 

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Ok Let's break this down a bit..

wire 1 - hot
wire 2 - neutral
wire 3 - ground
We can talk about 220 I guess, that complicates it by adding 1 more wire

All the wires are colored so it's pretty hard to get them wrong. There's a few other thing such as sizing the proper wire size to the proper breaker, when you should use 15 amp, vs 20, vs 30, etc. But every outlet is wired the same, every switch is wired the same. You want safety? That's what inspectors are for. If the guy does it wrong his inspector will point that out to him before it goes live.

My point is this, when someone considering DIY reads posts like yours it scares them away and they over pay by thousands to have someone else do it. And you know what? There's a lot of very bad contractors out their and IMO nobody does a better job or takes more pride in a house than the guy that owns it. That's all.

Now I'm done and we can move on.
 

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Ok Let's break this down a bit..
I think it is more about understanding what you are undertaking. You've made an assumption about the performance of the inspector.

Ideally the inspector will find any issues and instruct you on how to correct them. Legally they are required to fail you and provide the code section (the number, not the text).

As a BO I inspected many houses after the 3rd party electrical inspector had passed the electrical. I also failed many of them for not meeting the minimum requirements of the code. So do not assume every electrical inspector is going to catch every error. Assume that you are responsible for your work, because you are.

So what happens if something gores wrong. It's called indemnification. You will be on your own and there is no court that will ever order a municipality to pay for your loss (sans a windshield inspection). The chances of something going wrong.. Very slim. The chances your insurance co won't pay out... Also very slim.

There is also a lot to the code that I may or may not agree with, but is code nonetheless. How many conductors can you fit in a pancake box? Do you need to pigtail the grounded conductors? Do you need an grounded conductor at a light switch? Is the box suitable for mounting a luminaire? Do you need to derate the wires going through the top plate? Does your AFCI breaker need a white test button, or a green one? and on and on..

Just to be clear, I am all for a homeowner undertaking his own project. As a BO I have helped many do just that.

I do have a problem with oversimplification.

Tim
 

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Ok then, let's say I'm wrong and you 2 guys are correct and nobody should take on a job they are not certified for. In this world there should be no back yard mechanics, there should be no home cookin, and there should be no buddies helping buddies put new roofs on their homes.

If this is all true why have forums?

There are pro theater installers out there, shouldn't we be calling them? Why does AVS exist if not to share knowledge? Why create a sub-forum called "Theater Design & Construction"? Kinda misleading isn't it?
 
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