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
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
A window unit would be too noisy but someone suggested this:
Also, I'm wondering how much a (quiet) powered fan/vent connecting the
room to the house would help.
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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