How do get the hot air out?

All my home theater stuff is in a garage converted to family room (by previous owner, I would have kept the garage); anyway... having the stuff in the family room is nice because it's far away from the bedrooms and I can listen to music and watch movies late at night without disturbing the house.
All that stuff generates heat and plenty of it. Even when the rest of the house is cool in summer, the family room is hot. The problem, I believe, is poor air circulation between the family room and the rest of the house. The family room and living room share a wall and I was thinking of installing a vent near the ceiling to help the air circulate. The downside is sound leakage into the rest of the house. A window air conditioner would fit but I already have a lot of electronics plugged into one room and I hate to add more, also I hate to buy another air conditioner when the house has central air. Another option would be installing a cold (hot) air return but I'm not sure it would help.
Ideas? Comments? Help!
--
Mac Cool

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I would suggest that there may be two problems.
First, I am going to guess that the insulation and the heat-cooling for that room is insufficient or has been rigged without really doing it right. I suggest that you have a good HVAC man (or woman) do the numbers and calculations to see what is happening and how to resolve it.
It might help if you can provide a air return above the equipment area.
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Joseph Meehan

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I just had a $6000 central heating system installed. All the load calculations were done by supposed experts, and my music room (200 sq ft) gets very warm as soon as I get more than two people in there jamming. The "expert" installers put a one ft square return vent through the door between the music room and the living room, but it is totally inadequate. Only way I can keep it cool is to open the door. I'm considering putting the window a/c back in or adding a second vent in the door. My point is, you recommend getting a good HVAC man (or woman) but how does one know a good or bad HVAC man (or woman) until after the fact? These people were approved by the TVA and Upper Cumberland Electric so I figured they had to know what they were doing but apparently approval means nothing.
Bob

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RobertM wrote:

What we ALL fail to realize is that the HVACgur/gal thinks ONLY in terms of how many people are in the house.
What we fail to tell them is what we intend to do with the space.
If we tell them ahead of time, that we will have equipment that disspates around 5000W of power and we will have 4-10 people in this room at a time, they will size the AC and the routing of the conditioned air appropriately.
In my new house, I will do exactly that. It will be a combo Living/Home Theater room 20x30 ft. I will tell the HVAC contractor that this room will have a BIG heat load, more than 5000W of electrical power dissipation in it, so size the AC appropriately. I may even get vents to the equipment cabinets installed so that the AC only (no heat ever) blows into the back of the equipment racks (2 of them 24 inches wide, 8 feet tall)
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You make incorrect assumptions. I informed them ahead of time of the intended use of the room. I told them I give music lessons and also use it as a jam room with the expectation that there will be 3 to 4 people in the room. So, they added a second supply duct but didn't increase the return vent size. More than enough cold air would enter the room if there were a way for the return air to exit in sufficient volume.
Bob
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Robert Gammon:

Awesome, you're the man. Congratulation.
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Mac Cool

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RobertM wrote:

It is not always easy. Generally it means asking around from friends and neighbors. As noted it also means making sure they understand any non-standard uses you may have planed. Unfortunately it is not always easy to determine.
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Joseph Meehan

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Very typical problem.
Your fooling yourself if you think a vent is going to do much. Low pressure air does not move very well. (return)
Call a licensed pro that can check the system. Adding load, to an existing system can be problematic. IE it will not perform properly. Any thing here would be a WAG.
I know some one who has the same situation. They installed a through the wall unit for when they use the room. Yes they ran a dedicated circuit to the panel for the a/c
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SQLit:

Why have them at all then? We have two returns at the other end of the house, but no returns on this end; and this end (kitchen & family room) is much warmer.

I talked to the guy who installed the system and he said we need more vents coming into the room. (He installed for the previous own who only wanted to pay for one vent) Unfortunately because the room does not have a crawlspace it is apparently rather difficult and expensive to add additional heating/cooling vents to the room and 'expensive' isn't in the budget.

A window unit would be too noisy but someone suggested this: http://www.alpinehomeair.com/viewcategory.cfm/categoryID/97/p/Mini_Split _Air_Conditioning_(and_Heating)_Systems
Also, I'm wondering how much a (quiet) powered fan/vent connecting the room to the house would help.
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Mac Cool

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Mac Cool wrote:

[snip]
The cheapest experiment may turn out to be also the most effective. Get an inexpensive box fan at WalMart, Kmart, Eckerds, Wlagreens, CVS, etc. Park it in front of the air vent to the other room and see how much it affects room temp. Some cardboard and duct tape to seal it to the vent and you MIGHT see a surprising drop.
Mind you, this is JUST an experiment, we don't really yet know if exhausting the room is the true solution.
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