Hi there,

First post here! I hope to get some advice from all the experts here to help me make my mind up on what I should do with my HVAC

So we live in this 1950s era house, 1750 sq ft, single level. The furnace is 10yr old and seems to be working ok. It's a Carrier WeatherMaster 8000. No cooling. Ductwork is obviously leaking (black discoloration of insulation) and only one return. Moderate (ish) SF Bay Area climate but we do get quite a few weeks >85F in the summer and a couple of weeks where the nights drop <40F.

So what's wrong..sounds fine doesn't it!?!

Well I need to put in some form of cooling / ventilation for a home theater room. That's the main thing prompting me to do something. The room is going to be air sealed for sound isolation and so the existing supply is not going to be enough. Plus there is no return...and anyway there is no cooling in the house! Room is 12x17x8, will be used by 4 people max for say 3 hr at a time. There will be equipment in the room and a projector. Both of which throw off quite a bit of heat. This particular room has very good access, from the back it borders on an attic space, there is also a small attic above and below is the garage, so running new ductwork is not an issue. The kicker is that I need a very low noise HVAC for the theater. <30dBA is the target.

I've called 4-5 local HVAC contractors, and they have been over to my home. The proposals range from 'install a minisplit'...though none of them have a good response when I say 'what about ventilation'? Through to 'get a top of the range modulating furnace, new HVAC, zoned dampers, ductwork, etc' (basically new everything). Seeing as we are going to be in this house for a while I like the idea of spending money in a way that's going to give something useful beyond the theater. If the theater costs $5k for a separate system and a new system for the whole house (with cooling, quiet furnace, new ductwork etc) is $15k then I'm leaning towards the more expensive option.

I do want to be sure, however, that whatever system that is installed is going to be quiet enough for the theater. That is priority 1.

If you guys and gals were in my situation what would you do? And how would you choose a HVAC contractor?