HVAC experts! I want a cool, dry basement home theater / jam room!
August 1, 2011 7:57 PM   Subscribe

HVAC experts! I want a cool, dry basement home theater / jam room!

Short question: Can I install Central Air for JUST my finished basement (3220 sq ft), and would it remove enough moisture from the air?

Secondary question: Are there stand-alone central dehumidifier units? My house has hot water heat.

Long explanation: The finished half of my basement is exceptionally damp without dehumidification. I am currently running a 70 pint Frigidaire which does the trick but pumps out a lot of heat, so much that it's not at all comfortable down there.

Said finished basement is wood paneled and drop ceiling-ed, and I will be ripping that out in favor of drywall in the near future, which would be a great opportunity to run ductwork. If there's ductwork, I'm also going to need to find a way to run heat through it in winter... I'm willing to put some money and sweat into this.

Suggestions? Thanks!!
posted by bradn to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
I just added ac to a house with hot water (baseboard and radiant floor heat). I added a compressor outside and an air handling unit in the mechanical room (ductwork had been installed with the construction of the house). My AC does a great job of removing humidity (of which there has been a lot of this summer in Michigan).

So, the answer is, if you are willing to run the ductwork, what you're proposing is possible.
posted by tomswift at 8:34 PM on August 1, 2011

Best answer: You could also use one of those mitsubishi ductless systems. They work wonders. I have used them in computer rooms. The unit sits on the wall with 2 or 3 lines running to the condenser outside.

This would prob be better then using a duct system just for that room.
posted by majortom1981 at 4:46 AM on August 2, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks to you both. majortom, this is the perfect solution.

Here's a link for those interested. www.mitsubishicomfort.com There are systems with heating capability (auto switching!) available as well. You can use multiple indoor zones with 1 outdoor unit. This may be ideal for me since my basement is two rooms separated by french doors.
posted by bradn at 6:03 AM on August 2, 2011

Seconding the ductless recommendation. Many companies make these, though, so shop around.
posted by reegmo at 7:29 AM on August 2, 2011

But why is it damp in the first place? Sure, an HVAC system can go a long way toward making it more livable and the ductless ones are great. But if you have a water problem you still need to get that addressed. Otherwise you'll waste a lot more energy trying to dehumidify it. Get the foundation walls checked for moisture problems.

As for heat, since you already have hot water heat it would probably be a lot more efficient to use that system than to use a ductless setup for it. Those tend to be rather expensive at making heat (but this varies based on climates). Adding another zone onto your existing system seems like a better idea.
posted by wkearney99 at 8:31 PM on August 2, 2011

So this will knock down the moisture when there is a cooling load. If it is still wet in the winter you are going to need a dedicated dehumidifier or something with reheat. I doubt the two rooms separated by french doors with really be in different modes of heating/cooling, so i wouldn't let that up sell you to the higher end unit. Mitsubishi is the industry leader. Next in line is Daikin.
posted by ihadapony at 8:34 PM on August 2, 2011

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