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What Are the Best Tips for Home Theater Cooling?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated May 16, 2024
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The best tips for home theater cooling can depend on the particular setup in question. Equipment that is set on open-backed shelving does not typically require any extra cooling, though closed cabinetry and audio/video (AV) closets often call for special attention. Home theater equipment can be cooled off either actively or passively, depending on how hot it runs. Passive home theater cooling involves drilling ventilation holes in close-backed shelving and cabinetry, or propping open the door to an AV closet. Active home theater cooling can be achieved with fans and other equipment that promote air circulation in and around hot electronics.

There are many different ways to set up a home theater system, and each different installation can call for unique cooling solutions. Electronics tend to create waste heat whenever they are operated, and a fully equipped home theater system can cause substantial increases in the local temperature. The best way to keep home theater equipment cool is to set it on a shelf with an open back, leave space above and below the units, and avoid blocking any air intake or exhaust ports. This will tend to allow natural air flow, and keep the equipment from overheating.

Sometimes it is necessary to install home theater equipment in a closed cabinet or even a remote AV room, for either technical or aesthetic reasons. These types of installations can be perfectly safe for the equipment, though some attention typically must be paid to the concept of home theater cooling. If a cabinet or home theater enclosure lacks ventilation holes, it is often a good idea to create some. This can be accomplished with a variety of different tools, though a hole saw can complete the job quickly and cleanly. Simply drilling ventilation holes can go a long way towards cooling off a hot home theater system by passively creating more natural airflow.

If passive airflow is not sufficient to cool down a home theater system, then active measures can be taken. One way to improve airflow is to install fans, which can be attached to existing slots in some home theater enclosures. Computer case fans are one low power option, though there are a number of different units that can accomplish the same job. Active home theater cooling can be a little more complicated when an AV closet is involved, as it is sometimes necessary to run exhaust ductwork to the exterior of the house. This can be difficult and time consuming work, so it is typically a good idea to consider ventilation before choosing a location for AV closet.

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