Keeping Your Cool — Part 1

fan hvac air conditioning

Sitting here in my home office on the warmest day yet of summer makes me reflect on two things. First, I regret that we have not yet prioritized installing air conditioning in the house. I mean, where I live, you only need it two months of the year, but when you need it, you need it.

The other, as a tangential result of sitting here sweating while I’m trying to work, is pondering the often under-appreciated detail of designing adequate airflow into the client spaces you’re working with, like their cinema and game rooms.

I’ll tell you right now that unless the client works in the HVAC channel, their wish list will be dominated by big screens and bigger sound when they walk into your showroom. Still, a desire for a comfortable ambient temperature in their living and play space isn’t going to be on the list.

Yet, they’re going to need it. I learned that firsthand a long time ago. Working at a HiFi retailer, before I’d even heard of CEDIA or InfoComm, and long before I knew what a professional designer was, we had renovated the back area of the showroom to create three closed listening rooms to showcase upscale AV.

It was a good plan and (mostly) well-executed. I’ll tell you where we went wrong: When you use a room with only one door and no ductwork to showcase a big plasma TV (back when they were still hideously expensive, by the way) and six class-A amplifiers, let’s say the room gets … a little sultry. Uncomfortably so, in fact.

That experience perfectly encapsulated a motto I would later learn and internalize: “Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.”

If the client is coming to you enough in new construction or a renovation, and they’re looking for a serious AV room, being able to introduce the topic of cooling and room design further cements your credentials as an expert.

Nor is it a tough sell. Paint a picture of what it’ll be like on game day with a dozen people in a well-insulated/soundproofed 30-by-30-foot room with no windows, even before you factor in the heat generated by any electronics in the room.

Believe me when I say that just as I regret not opting to spring for air conditioning in my house, so will your clients regret not factoring airflow and cooling into their AV rooms. Fortunately, you’re in a position to exercise your expertise and credibility to do something about it. In the next installment, we’ll dig into that deeper.