Too Hot for Home Theater?

I don’t know how the weather is where you live, but we’ve been having a heat wave here in Boston. Even if the temperature itself may not seem so bad (generally 80s to 90s), the humidity has made everything gross and sticky. It’s the kind of weather where you don’t want to leave air conditioning for a minute. That’s becoming a real problem for me, because the air conditioning in my apartment doesn’t extend to my home theater room. As much as I’d love to fire up my gear and watch a bunch of movies and TV shows, the thought of it is practically unbearable. Does anyone else have this problem?

You may ask why I don’t just put an AC in the theater room. Two reasons: First, they’re noisy as hell, and would drown out the sound of anything I’d want to watch in this small room. Even more importantly, I don’t have enough juice in here to power an air conditioner and all of my home theater gear at the same time. At a minimum, I need to run my projector, my A/V receiver, my video processor, and my Blu-ray player. (Also, my DVR cable box is on constantly no matter what.) Those are all plugged into the same outlet. Even with a power conditioner (which I do use), adding an air conditioner would certainly trip the circuit breaker, which is already pretty taxed. It just doesn’t seem like an option.

Of course, I’ve got a window fan in here, as well as another fan on the other side of the room to circulate the air. But they’re just blowing the hot, sticky air around. (And they’re also pretty noisy.) When I’ve got everything running, the heat generated by my gear – especially the projector and the receiver – can turn this room into an oven.

Because this is, you know, my job as well as my passion, I’ll force myself to watch something tonight. But until this heat wave snaps, I’m trying to keep my usage to a minimum. And it’s not even August yet! The fall can’t get here fast enough.

In the meantime, this makes me think of movies that do the best job of depicting heat waves like this. My immediate first thought is ‘Do the Right Thing‘. That movie really captures the feeling of intense heat radiating off the concrete and brick in a densely-populated urban setting. I also think of all those characters crammed into a stifling courtroom in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. If you can think of any other good examples, let us know in the comments.


  1. You could do what I did…buy a dehumidifier and run it when you aren’t in the room. It’ll remove the moisture and take the room to a dry heat, which is more bearable than the humidity IMHO. They typically plug into a standard ac wall outlet and will also remove some odors from the room if there are any, plus they are don’t pull nearly as much power as an AC unit.

  2. Nick

    I ran into the same problem when I lived in Pittsburgh. My place didn’t have central air and during the summer it was absolutely miserable to watch movies. We put in a dual ceiling fan with a remote, that helped but it still wasn’t very pleasent. Thank god I live in a place now with central air.

  3. JoeRo

    I do have central air, and I still run into this problem this time of year. I’m in the Chicago area and we’re currently enjoying a break from a week of 90+ degree days. But even central air set at a comfortable 72 degrees my HT room can still get upwards of 76.

  4. I understand your pain. I live in Texas, and am in an older house with window units. I upgraded both about a year ago, the one in the bedroom was upgraded from a 5,000 BTU to a 8000 BTU, and the one in the living room was upgraded from a 25 year old 12000 BTU to a new energy efficient 18000 BTU. My problem is, I crank the thing over to energy saver when I am at work, so I get home, its like 85 in the house, and takes like an hour and a half to cool off. However, before the upgrade, I pretty much did not watch movies from late May to early September.

    As for the noise, yeah, its a little annoying, but I calibrated the system with the A/C running. The nice thing is, the majority of the time, the system drowns out the A/C. As for your circuit load, don’t use a 110 A/C, they suck. Run a 220 line on its own circuit. Actually, may be an issue in an appartment, now that I think of it. πŸ™

    A good system should be able to drown out most modern A/Cs. Another thing to try is to cool down the room before going in to a chilly 68 or even 65, then turn it off when you start your movie and use the fans to blow the air around. Unless you are planing on watching Gone With The Wind, the room should stay barable long enough to watch a movie. Just layer your clothes when you go in, 65 is a bit chilly at first. πŸ™‚

    Good idea on the dehumidifyer. I did not know they made such a thing. Going to shop around and see if I can pick up a couple. I can stand the heat (I live in Texas, parents live in Arizona), its humidity that kills me.

  5. motorheadache

    I just watch movies in my bedroom on my 61″ tv, but I have a blackout screen I pull down to darken the room and stop light from glaring against the screen. However, I have to close the window or the breeze blows the screen forward and lets the light back in.

    If I watch a movie during the daytime during the summer, I usually will just put up with the sunlight or else I would roast and not enjoy the movie.

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