Ducting.

I am planning a family room in my basement. I want to provide heat/air conditioning to this new room by tapping into the existing forced air central system. Maybe I'm missing something but the work does not appear to be difficult nor requiring great skill.
Does anyone know of a book which an absolute beginner can use to do some simple ducting work? The book should contain details of tools needed and air flow balancing, etc.
Thanks,
Peter.
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PVR wrote:

thats the problem, the balancing of the air//// most homes that were built had an a/c heat system designed for that house.. it was done with calculations by the a/c heat guy who went to school for this,, now you come along and plan the mess with the even flow of the air to the house... and are looking for a BOOK on doing it???? even with a book, you still have to realize that the ducting was not figured into the original, so you have to take off the added air to make sure the original is correct before you mess up the original air flow.........
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Jim is correct but you should be able to work this out if your heating and AC system has any excess capacity left.
If your furnace is in the basement, the best bet would be to come directly off the plenum (the chamber where the air comes out of the unit, where all the other vents are tied in). This way you won't be upsetting the balance of the existing ducts.. The output from the existing vents will be slightly deminished but you could control this by putting a damper in the new duct so you could turn it off if your need all the heat upstairs.
Last but not least, you need to provide for air return to the air handler.. This is normally from one central return air register in the main part of the house.. If you fail to provide a return from the basement you will be pumping air into the basement and all of it will have to find a way upstairs to reach the return duct. This would carry damp or dusty air from the basement into the main house.. Also, if you ever closed the basement door to the upstairs, the basement would be come pressurized and that would cause the excess warm air to escape through cracks or up the chimney, via the furnace fire box.
If you can't find a book on doing vent ducting, check at HD and see if they have a class scheduled..
Steve
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It's not obvious to me that sucking musty air from the basement into the heating system and distributing it evenly throughout the house is particularly better than driving it out under the cellar door. If that's likely to be a problem, I'd invest in better than average filters for that branch.
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Just curious. So are you saying that a standard single family home is commonly built with a heating system that's not adequate for any future expansion (finishing the lower level)?

to
air
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Yea, but it may not work well. The heating and cooling system for you home is just that, a complete system custom designed for your home. Messing with it can result in some unpleasant results.
You need to get a good professional in, who can do the proper measurements and calculations for total heat load, cooling load and distribution and see if your system might have the excess capacity to handle it. If not they can suggest the best alternative for your specific situation.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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wrote:

I don't have suggested reading. But, I know my neighbor quickly found that cooling his newly finished basement required more cooling tonnage than his existing A/C provided. The heating was adequate. Lots of factors to consider. It might be cheaper to add stand alone heating and/or cooling to the newly finished space. Consider professional evaluation or two--many times they will give one free in hopes for a contract/sale.
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I concur 100%. I have an HVAC guy whose anal retentiveness would make Felix Unger look like a garbage picker, and there's far more involved in a lot of HVAC issues than simply slapping up some duct work after reading a book as the person who started this thread wants to do. In fact, he was just here yesterday explaining to my in-laws how something within the AC system installed in their newly-purchased used home could produce some corrosion problems down the line because of acid-laden moisture produced by a system that really wasn't the best deal the owners could/should have installed in the first place.
It's probably just me, but IMO if shit like HVAC, structural engineering, fine carpentry, golf, and understanding what women really want were obtainable by simply reading a book, everyone and his brother would be out doing it.
AJS
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AJScott wrote:

They are understandable if you have a good book and know how to study. You are confusing understanding with finger dexterity, art, and experience. If people read the damn manuals, they wouldn't have to hire some one to teach them how to use a word processor and they wouldn't suddenly be surprised after 2 years call a repairman when they didn't realize that they had to push on the brake pedal to move the gearshift.
For a simple one story system, not much knowledge is needed and very little thought is put into the design of the distribution system. You just run ducts (all the same size) to every room to an outside wall and usually under a window. If the room is fairly big you run two ducts to the room. Many smaller houses have a single or a two ducts for the return. If you design it yourself the only decision is the size of the distribution tubes (only about 3 size available) which you will make based mostly on economics and do some math to figure out the size of the return(s). We aren't talking about an office building.
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Much interesting stuff in this thread. In the interests of keeping my original post to a reasonable length I had to omit some things. My basement is fully heated and cooled in the original design. There are four registers set into the plenum. By dividing off part of the basement with a wall and then directing say, two of the register outputs into that walled off space (plus returns) I shall not be disturbing overall air flow to the basement or to any other part of the house.
In the past I have found I provide much better heating/cooling to previous houses by deliberately adjusting the registers for winter and summer. In the winter I close off most of the upstairs registers while in the summer I open the upstairs registers and close off most of those downstairs. This may not be good practice but it has worked for me for 30+ years.
As to book learning. I hail from another country where regulations and standards are different (not inferior). In the US I had an extension built on one of my houses. After reading some books I did most of the framing, the electrics, the plumbing, the drywalling, the taping and the painting. I did NOT do the ceilings in drywall nor did I do the mud skim on the drywall. These two items were far too difficult for me requiring skill and experience which I did not possess. At the appropriate stages during the project local building inspectors came to check out my project. There were very few corrections needed.
My whole life has been dependant on reading good books rather than going to schools. Even when you go to schools the instructors will usually tell you to read books or instruct from books. Carefully reading books, manuals and regulations is 90% of the learning process. The remainder is common sense. However, I must observe that must compilations of Regulations (Building Codes) represent the worst English I have ever seen.
And I really would like a recommendation for a good book on ducting.
Peter.

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I designed the heating and cooling system for my house and started out thinking that would be easy. I found it to be one of the most time consuming efforts I've undertaken. Properly addressing the variations caused by solar heating changes throughout the year, wind driven cooling, humidity changes, air infiltration and zoning interactions plus specifying the needed insulation took a long time. I'm happy I spent the time because we have no drafts and uniform heating and cooling throughout while our neighbors constantly complain. The added benefit is that I heat the house and all hot water in a 6,000 sq ft house for less than 900 gallons of oil per year.
If you know how to do this the benefits are tremendous. If you don't it may be daunting. When I started mine (early 90s) I bought a text published by Prentice-Hall (don't recall the author but he was a licensed Professional Engineer) It had so many significant errors in it that I discarded it and started from scratch, so be wary of books that purport to tell you how to do it. Make sure the author knows what he's doing.
RB
PVR wrote:

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