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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not a contractor, but I bought my first home last May and I'm a little frustrated with the HVAC.

1) Home is in Southern California, so the temperature flux is never REALLY bad.
2) Single Story Ranch Style
3) Original attached garage turned into Family Room and Office.

What frustrates me is when I heat the house, I have to close almost all the vents to get some decent hot air to make it to the family room. But then the thermostat is almost all the way back across the house on a side where I'm not gonna be. I'm also not 100% sure where all my returns are.

The Vents in each room are up near the ceiling, usually near the doors, and are the old school metal ones with the external lever to control airflow into the room. They work ok, but obviously they dont keep ALL the air out of the room.

During the summer I MAY want to keep my office on light AC but NOT the rest of the house (I'm a geek, and have network gear and a server always running in my office)

So if I was to rip out everything (including attic ducting) what would you all reccomend I replace everything with?
Size of Ducts?
Inline Duct Boosters worth it?
Inline Duct Damper/Blockers a good idea? (I'm thinking remote control here)
Multiple Thermostats?

My thought was to get a unit or whatever components would do this, and make the home a little smart. Like when my wife and I arent home, have a certain set of settings running, and then in summer or winter have a set of settings controlling the system when we're home, both in the Family room and then a Sleep mode (Keep the bedroom hot or cool depending on season)

Am I crazy or does some of this exist?

52 Posts
Since you are familier with computers what you need is a system set up you can control through your computer; from home or wherever.

Blocking off vents can build up pressure in your duct system. If there is no way to relieve this extra pressure your system will be damaged and operate inefficiently. If a zoning system is designed a pressure relief bypass duct can be installed to help with this problem.

Duct boosters rarely deliver the desired results and IMO are a waste of time and money.

Don't forget the most important part of the job - keeping out the dirt. Dirt is the enemy of your system and without good air filtering all your work will be in vain. I inspect/tear out failed systems everyday that are packed with mother earth. Without air filter neglect hvac contractors would have no work :)

Your first step is knowing how much heat you need to get rid of (summer) and how much heat you need to gain (winter) to be comfortable. The heat loads are broken down into dry heat (sensible by the thermostat) and wet heat (latent moisture/humidity). You can learn the amount and ratio of these two heat loads by perfoming a heat load calculation on the space. After you know the capacity of the equipment needed you can then start designing an efficient duct system to transfer the heat. I recommend you pay a consultant to do this part but if you want to DIY there are homeowner programs available.

Go here Click on Aprilaire segment #9010 This will help you understand the main zoning concept. If you think this is something for you then we can talk in more detail about how it works.
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