Home Theater Maintenance

Home TheaterVibration, corrosion, heat and dust can alter the behavior of your home theater.  The following are items to consider monitoring at least once a year to minimize the impacts of these things on your system performance.

Audio Equipment

Speaker Wire Connections

Speaker wire connections can work loose over time.  Each connection on the speaker and amplifier should be checked to be sure it is still tight.

Bi-Wire Jumpers

Bi-wire jumpers on the back of a speaker can corrode and work loose.  They should be removed and cleaned periodically.  Pink noise is a good way to check for problems with this.

Speaker Driver Screws

The screws that hold the drivers (woofer, tweeter) in the cabinet can work loose.  Loose drivers can create distortion (buzzing sounds) from the driver vibrating against the cabinet.  Frequency sweeps are a good way to check for problems with this.

Analog Knobs And Switches

Knobs and switches on subwoofers and amplifiers can corrode over time.  Moving the knob or switch back and forth a few times can help keep this corrosion to a minimum.  Playing a test tone through the subwoofer while moving these knobs can demonstrate problems with these knobs and switches.

Failed Components

Many elements (tweeters, crossovers, amplifiers…) of speakers and subwoofers can fail from use.  Play wide band pink noise through each channel to make sure each speaker and subwoofer is still operating properly.  Manufacturers frequently can repair these failures pretty easily.

Video Equipment

Projection Screen

Projector screens can accumulate dust and dirt over time.  Refer to the manufacturers recommendations for cleaning the screen material of any accumulation that may have occurred.

Projector Air Filter

Many projectors have air filters on them that require replacement or cleaning.  Dirty filters are a very common cause of projector degradation.  These should be checked or inspected starting at 200 hours and monitored for cleaning based on the level of accumulation observed at 200 hours of use. 

Projector Focus

Projector focus can shift over time and should be examined.  Check how sharp the pixels or text appears on the screen.

Projector Alignment

Projector alignment can shift over time and should be examined.  Check the framing of the image on the screen.

Projector Mount

Projector mounts can work loose over time.  Check the tightness of the mounting screws.

Projector Lens

Your projector lens should be cleaned with a lens brush when substantial dust is present.  Lens cleaning fluid is necessary when the lens develops a film over it.  Cleaning your lens improperly or using lens fluids too frequently can reduce it’s performance.  Refer to the projector manufacturers recommendations anytime a fluid or cloth is used.

Projector Panel Alignment

The panels in three panel projectors can shift over time.  Check the alignment of these panels to be sure they are still aligned properly.

Anamorphic Lens

Check the lens mounting for alignment, tightness and cleanliness.

Display Color

Display color can shift over time as the components wear with use.  Correcting the white balance, gamma or color gamut may be required as the product wears.  

W. Jeff Meier

ISF and THX Certified Home Theater Consultant

2 Comments
Sarah Packer

My husband and I are building our dream house and we’re planning on a home theater, so I wanted some maintenance tips. I didn’t know pink noise was a good way to check your bi-wire jumpers since they can work loose after some time. I’ll have to keep that in mind and I’ll ask the manufacturer we buy from for our speakers for more tips, thanks to this post!

Taylor Bishop

Thanks for explaining how to maintain a home theater. You mentioned it could be good to play a test tone while moving some knobs. This also seems like a good way to find the right settings.

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