Humidity problems - What is your experience?

Share your piano experiences with other adult students

Postby 65-1074818729 » Tue Sep 07, 2004 5:44 pm

It is a well known fact that high humidity and acoustic pianos do not mix well. There are numerous articles that discuss proper care of a piano and there is at least one here at the Piano Education Page. Purchasing and Caring for a Piano or Keyboard

The hazards of high humidity (and humidity changes) are numerous, such as sticking keys, pinblock damage, rusting pins and strings, not to mention being out of tune.

I have a Yamaha upright acoustic piano, and the humidity in my house can vary from 40% to 65% depending on the time of the year, weather conditions etc. As a result, I have contemplated purchasing a humidity stabilizer such as Dampp-Chaser. There is a qualified installer in my area. I do believe that Yamaha supports the use of this equipment, however I have not yet confirmed this. I also understand that there are other brands available.

I realize that there is a lot of information out there on this subject but I have heard stories of people who think they are great and others who think they are useless.

What I am actually looking for is to hear from people who have actually purchased and used these humidity stabilizing devices. Are they worth the expense or should they be ignored?

What was your experience?

??? :)
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Wed Sep 08, 2004 10:45 am

Dear A-flat:

Some years ago I joined the Piano Technicians Guild and got their RTT rating, since I've always tuned my own pianos and have worked professionally on many others, especially here at the University. I have used and installed a number of Dampp Chaser systems, and they do work very well. The major problem by far is that people forget to keep the water reservoir refilled, with the result that the heating element can come on and bake a soundboard dry during low humidity because it has no water to evaporate; then customers say it's useless.

The unit consists of a heating element, a water reservoir and a sensor which automatically switches back and forth from humidifying to drying mode, depending on the room conditions. There is also a warning light that alerts you to a low water level.

My advice is, first, to be sure that you have a qualified technician who knows how to install the system and just where to place the components for maximum effectiveness; second, take the trouble to use distilled or purified water for filling the reservoir--this will prevent buildup of residue on the pads. If you have a filter on your kitchen sink, that water would do fine.

Dr. Bill.
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Sat Sep 11, 2004 12:54 pm

Just the input I was looking for. Thank-you Dr. Bill.

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Re: Humidity problems - What is your experience?

Postby renehasekamp » Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:50 am

I can add the following to this (very) old thread. In the summer the humidity can rise to 75% in my house (ground floor). Therefore I have a humidity controller to keep it at about 60%.
In the winter, however humidity goes down to about 40-45% (dependent on the outside temperature and heating). So in the winter I have a humidifier, to keep the humidity at 50-55%.
So I have two devices and through the year the humidity in the room where my grand stands is between 50 and 60%.
I believe this is necessary. A good humudity is also good for your physical welfare.
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Re: Humidity problems - What is your experience?

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Wed May 06, 2015 8:58 am

You probably have one of the best controlled environments for your piano that I've ever encountered! :) I wish my own piano were that "happy". I live in the American Southwest desert, where the humidity is often below 10% outside. During the summer, when we have evaporative cooling on, the humidity in the house gets over 70%. During the monsoon season in late summer, we can get even higher than that outside and inside. It's very difficult to control humidity under those conditions. My piano still works but I need to have it tuned twice a year, after the changeover to heating or cooling.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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