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Discussion Starter #1
I'm aware of some potential problems or damage caused to an acoustic from dryer temperatures (lack of humidity) but are there potential problems or issues caused by too much humidity?

Also, if using a soundhole device (such as a Kyser humidifier system), could this cause issues with the electronics (PU or preamp)? Should you remove the batterie when using the device?

How do you deal with the dryness caused by heating over the winters months?

Thanks!
Martin
 

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Humidity

Optimal humidity is 35% - 45%. If your home's humidity can be maintained at that level (most cannot), you don't really need to humidify your guitar. If not, use a device. If you want to know the humidity, go to The Source (formerly Radio Shack) and buy a small electronic hydrometer.

You can't damage the guitar's electronics or battery by humidifying.

Jeff
 

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You can overuse a humidification device, e.g. dampit or similar. With over-humidification, you can see the guitar top around and particularly behind the bridge start to lift up, and this is also noticeable as a rise in the action. Some Martin's are particularly prone to this (as I found out!). One key is to be sure the dampit, if that's what you're using, is well wrung (not soaking).

Also, related to this topic, our house has a bypass humidifier on the furnace, but it won't achieve much more than 32% relative humidity in the winter months. Anybody else notice something similar?

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Jeff - I checked The Source online and they only have an analog wall-clock style (time-temperature-hydrometer). When you say an electronic one, I think of portable which would be better in order to walk around the house and get a reading of different areas (upstairs and downstairs sort of thing). Am I on the right path? I checked other online stores like wallymart, crappy tires, rona etc and they don't seem to carry them. They might have them in store but not online perhaps? And ideas where I could get one of those?

Brian - that's very good to know. The only issue that I thought possible with over-humidifying might have been that it saturates the wood, altering the sound (not so vibrant, reducing sustain, projection etc).

Thanks guys so far.

Edit: oh and while on that topic, what's the difference with portable humidifiers between one that produces cool air and one that produces warm air? What's better? If you have an upstairs and downstairs, better to have one on each floor or only one let's say upstairs in the hallway close to the staircase?
 

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...i plan to invest in a humidifier at some point. thanks for the tip on hydrometers at the source - i'll be checking that out.

-dh
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Got an update on this if you're interested. The first thing is that a hydrometer generally speaking seems to have a different purpose (making wine, ...). What I found out there that is for home use is called a hygrometer.

I found a very cool humidifier by Bionaire (model# BCM4530) which comes with a "remote control / hygometer". The way it works is that you set up the actual humidifier at one end of your space and you place the remote/hygrometer at the other end of the room (around where you keep your guitars for instance).

It will tell you right on the remote/hygrometer what the humidity level is in that area. You can set it up so that you want let's say 45% humidity and the remote/hygrometer will communicate wirelessly with the humidifier in order to start or stop automatically at the humidity level that you have it set up on the remote/hygrometer.

Crappy Tires (here in Ontario) have it on special right now at $79.99 (reg $99.99). It's a great unit, not too big, invisible mist...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you Lolligagger. That’s great. I’ve been searching home comfort sites for tips and recommendations about this topic but I hadn’t thought to look at guitar maker sites to get this type of info. I’ve been keeping an eye on the hygrometer and temperatures inside of my house all weekend and I’m surprised at what I’ve seen so far, especially how quick and sometimes extreme the difference of humidity can get around the house.

According to the chart on the Larrivee site, the relative humidity for a comfortable home temperature (72F or 22C) should be between 42% and 55%. Today, with the heating system off, the temperature in my house is about 18C (about 59F) and the hygrometer reads about 60% humidity !!! :eek:

I did a few calculations:
If 72F/22C = 42% to 55%
Then 65F/20C = 38% to 50%
Then 59F/18C = 34% to 45%

So according to this, the humidity level in my house right now at this time of the year is way too high! It should be between 34% and 45% but it hovers around the 60% mark. I had the heat on in the evening Friday and Saturday and it didn’t change the humidity levels that much. The funny (and surprising) thing is that when I open the patio door long enough to have a cigarette and blow the smoke outside, the humidity rapidly drops to 40% - 42%.

When we prepared dinner last night, the heat and steam from the pots on the stove made the humidity climb to well in the 70% (I read 78% at a certain point). And the humidity remained in the 70% until I opened some of the windows which eventually dropped in the 50% range. I think what I’m trying to say here is that unless you live in a house/apartment that has a central climate control, that you not only need a humidifier but you also need a dehumidifier. My house is about 1200s/f on two levels and when I came out of my shower (upstairs), it also made the humidity level climb up to 72% on the lower floor. As the days get colder and colder, the humidity level overall will probably drop but levels change all throughout the day in a house and that’s what can be pretty bad for musical instruments.

I installed a programable thermostat last year and I used to let the temperature drop overnight (to save money) but now, I’m reviewing all of this because I think that I need to keep a constant temperature day and night so that I can regulate the relative humidity around it. I’m looking at getting a dehumidifier too. I might set up the temperature at 20C (almost 66F) constant day and night in which case I’ll set up the humidifier to keep it at 38% and the dehumidifier to remove any humidity above 50% from the daily peaks like cooking, showering etc... You have to experiment and it’s a bit of a pain but it’s well worth it. It’s surprising what you find when you start looking into it. Hope this helps anyone here. Let us know about your experience.
 

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Great info, guys. To stir the pot a bit more . . .

Ambient humidity (i.e. that in the rooms where guitars are stored) is more relevant when you keep guitars out of their cases, or are used for extended periods before they go back into the case.

There is also the question of correct humidity levels in the cases. In my situation, I put guitars back in their cases when not in use, so I'm also concerned about maintaining reasonable humidity levels in the cases.

I have a Planet Waves hygrometer that I cycle between guitar cases to monitor the humidity the guitars are seeing when stored. However, I've been told that these digital hygrometers can vary quite a bit in their calibration.

The Twelfth Fret in Toronto sells calibrated analog hygrometers, and I plan to get one of these and see how far off the Planet Waves and the Oregon Scientific in our living room are (they read 5-6 % difference between them!).

Anybody have any experience with the calibrated hygrometers?

Brian
 
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