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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Yakima, Wa
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    21

    Upgrading whole house system for Home Theatre zone

    I recently purchased a 30 year old home. it is 2600 sq ft upstairs and 2600 sq ft in a daylight basement. I am in the process of updating it and adding a home theatre in the daylight basement. The theatre room will be enclosed with seating for probably eight to ten people. As a result it is going to need some guts to cool all those bodies. The mechanical room is roughly in the center of the house. The mechanical room is unifished so the ducts are exposed. The new HT is adjacent to the mechnical room. So, I got some proposals on how to achieve this from two local HVAC companies.

    The existing system is a 120,000 BTU furnace that I guess is only 60% efficient and a 4 ton AC unit. The thermostat is located upstairs.

    The first proposal was for a carrier infinity system. They proposed a new infinity ICS 100,000 BTU furnace and then an infinity 16 5 ton heat pump. Then to seperate the house into three zones; north of the furnace, south of the furnace and lastly, the HT.

    The second proposal was for a Coleman Echelon 100,000 BTU furnace and a Echelon 5T 5 ton heat pump. Then Arzel zoning with upstairs, downstairs and the HT. On the proposal it said it would have a variable speed blower and the HP would be dual compressor stages at 3 and 5 tons.

    I like the idea a lot better of seperate up and downstairs zones versus north and south. But then again, it is more money.

    Any input from the experts out there? I don't know a whole lot about HVAC systems and they aren't things you can go and test drive.

    Thanks-

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,328
    The Infinity zoning system is a better zoning system.

    Ask them to give a quote zoning it in the same configuration as the Coleman system.

    I don't think your going to need to go up to a 5 ton unit. With a 3 zone system.
    A load calc should be done.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Yakima, Wa
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    21
    From what I remember, the Carrier system couldn't really be set up to seperate the upstairs from the downstairs. The Arzel zoning was going to utilize pneumatic dampers at the individual registers. Guess I should have added that tidbit, eh?

    And as far as the five ton unit, the Coleman dealer said it was sized because of the heating part. An individual AC unit was sized and it was a four ton unit.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    68,328
    Shouldn't size a heat pump to the heating load. If you intend to use it for cooling.

    Call more contractors.
    Doesn't sound like you've had the right ones out yet.

    An 2 stage 5 ton HP. When in first stage, will have a cooling capacity closer to 4 ton, then to 3 ton. And generally won't be able to remove enough moisture on the lower/milder outside temp days.

    The compressor in first stage may be rated at 70%, but due to the outdoor and indoor coils being so big, they are much closer to 80%.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    11,808
    get an inverter minisplit with a fan coil for the theatre
    The way we build has a greater impact on our comfort, energy consumption and IAQ than any HVAC system we install.

    http://www.ductstrap.com/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Yakima, Wa
    Posts
    21
    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    An 2 stage 5 ton HP. When in first stage, will have a cooling capacity closer to 4 ton, then to 3 ton. And generally won't be able to remove enough moisture on the lower/milder outside temp days.
    I don't have to worry about that. Instead the problem here is things being too dry. I live in the desert.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Yakima, Wa
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    21
    Quote Originally Posted by Carnak View Post
    get an inverter minisplit with a fan coil for the theatre
    I've thought about that as well. But the existing furnace is 60% efficient and the fan sounds like the undercarriage of a caterpillar. I don't really want the sound of a construction site in the room adjacent to my HT.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Yakima, Wa
    Posts
    21
    I was talking to my brother who recently just built a house. His is more in the 4000 sq ft range including the daylight basement. He has two units; a two ton and a three ton. So I'm not sure that the five ton is going to be that far off. I have 14ft valted ceilings upstairs. Honestly, the four ton unit for just AC had me a bit nervous as being a bit undersized.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    DC Metro Area (MD)
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    3,371
    Basements don't usually add much to the cooling load. Hopefully you can get a load calc done on the home. With a 5 ton unit, it's about 20-25% more cooling on low stage than a 4 ton would deliver. With zoning, could be too much when just one zone is calling. I'm right near DC in Maryland, and my home is about 2600 sqft. (two stories) along with a 700 sqft. conditioned basement. 3.5/4 tons is the correct size for my house. And it gets hot, humid here. I've been maintaining 71 with no issues this summer. Just to give you another situation.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Lancaster PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm1504 View Post
    I was talking to my brother who recently just built a house. His is more in the 4000 sq ft range including the daylight basement. He has two units; a two ton and a three ton. So I'm not sure that the five ton is going to be that far off. I have 14ft valted ceilings upstairs. Honestly, the four ton unit for just AC had me a bit nervous as being a bit undersized.
    Nothing says he isn't oversized and setting his thermostat lower to feel comfortable.
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Yakima, Wa
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    21
    Quote Originally Posted by RyanHughes View Post
    Basements don't usually add much to the cooling load. Hopefully you can get a load calc done on the home. With a 5 ton unit, it's about 20-25% more cooling on low stage than a 4 ton would deliver. With zoning, could be too much when just one zone is calling. I'm right near DC in Maryland, and my home is about 2600 sqft. (two stories) along with a 700 sqft. conditioned basement. 3.5/4 tons is the correct size for my house. And it gets hot, humid here. I've been maintaining 71 with no issues this summer. Just to give you another situation.

    The house I know and have spent the past several summers in is two stories with 2100 ft^2 with 2.5 tons. It does ok on the 90 degree days as long as I shut one room off upstairs that accounts for 250 ft^2. When we get into July and August when we have 95+ for a week straight it doesn't seem to cut the mustard and the temperature creeps up day by day.

    I suppose that combined with the fact that it is a daylight basement with gigantic windows doesn't make me fret about being oversized. I like it cool; especially when it is time to sleep...maybe 68-70.

    But what about the Arzel zoning stuff? What can anyone tell me about it? What are the potential cons of hicups with that set up? What questions should I ask? I guess at this moment, The Arzel/Coleman stuff is where I'm leaning. I like the idea of segregating off upstairs and downstairs (and potentially other zones) more than just north and south. It just seems more logical.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Lancaster PA
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    If the contractor knows what he is doing.
    There are no con's of zoning.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    128
    I have an arzel system + 2 stage HP in my home and love it. As far as basement HT goes.. Basements require very little cooling, more dehumidifying and heating. Like you said, probably not a problem with humidity where you are. I would focus on ventilating and heating. 10 people in a room for 2.5 hours = CO2. If you are set on replacing the system you have (sounds like you are), you have a lot of options. Least expensive would be keep the existing ductwork upstairs, 1 zone and then add a second zone (or slave zone) for the HT.

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