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#1989128 - 11/20/12 09:48 PM Dampp Chaser
lori822 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/03/09
Posts: 53
Loc: B.C., Canada
I purchased a Kawaii Grand RX2 3 years ago. I live on Vancouver Island in Canada, and am in a 10-storey apartment condo building two blocks from the Strait of Georgia. My piano gets sticky keys about every 3-4 months. My piano tuner has suggested I think about having a Dampp Chaser installed. I know nothing about these, except what I've read on the website selling them. Has anyone got experience with them? Are they worth while? Or should I try buying a humidifier and dehumidifier? I rather have been apprehensive about having a unit installed under my Grand. Will the humidity be too concentrated in one area of the underside of the piano? Will the screws in the piano alter the tone or sound? Please, some advice or some shared experience?? Your input is appreciated.

Top
(ads 568) Hailun Pianos

 

#1989140 - 11/20/12 10:04 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: lori822]
musica71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 424
Loc: Bend, Or.
I have had several on different pianos. The apparatus has censors, the heat bar only goes on when the humidity reaches a certain level. I am not sure you need the humidifier,ask your technician. In Seattle I just had the heat bar as it is so humid. Now I am in a much drier climate and have the whole kit. Installation does NOT damage your piano but be sure you get a technician that is familiar with the Dampp Chaser so it is installed properly.
_________________________
Musica 71

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#1989156 - 11/20/12 10:45 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: musica71]
lori822 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/03/09
Posts: 53
Loc: B.C., Canada
Thanks, Musica. You're probably right, I probably won't need the humidifier. The weather is very similar to Seattle's.

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#1989299 - 11/21/12 09:16 AM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: lori822]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Originally Posted By: lori822
I purchased a Kawaii Grand RX2 3 years ago. I live on Vancouver Island in Canada, and am in a 10-storey apartment condo building two blocks from the Strait of Georgia. My piano gets sticky keys about every 3-4 months. My piano tuner has suggested I think about having a Dampp Chaser installed. I know nothing about these, except what I've read on the website selling them. Has anyone got experience with them? Are they worth while? Or should I try buying a humidifier and dehumidifier? I rather have been apprehensive about having a unit installed under my Grand. Will the humidity be too concentrated in one area of the underside of the piano? Will the screws in the piano alter the tone or sound? Please, some advice or some shared experience?? Your input is appreciated.


My technician and I just installed the full Dampp-Chaser system on my Steinway Model O. I live in southwest Ohio. My wife and I prefer not to air-condition much in the summer. Despite running a humidifier in the winter time, our indoor relative humidity probably varies from 25% on a cold winter day when we forgot to refill the humidifier to 95% on a rainy summer day. With the Dampp-Chaser system, these excursions should be reduced to around 40%-60% in the piano itself, which should keep the instrument more stable and may well save the soundboard.

The installation doesn't harm the instrument in any way if it's done right. It involves driving screws into the frame only.

Andy


Edited by AndyJ (11/21/12 09:16 AM)

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#1989313 - 11/21/12 09:54 AM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: lori822]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi lori822,

Though I am a supporter of the use of the D-C systems to increase stability in pianos, having them installed on all three of my pianos, there is another consideration in your situation. Your Kawai RX has a composite action. The Kawai piano actions are known for being unaffected by humidity changes. "Sticky keys" generally are not a problem due to changes in RH with Kawai pianos. Is your piano tuner also a piano technician? It may be time for a full action regulation for your piano.

That being said, a D-C system would be most beneficial in maintaining tuning stability across the seasons. You mentioned living in a condo and it would be important to consider the type of HVAC system you have in your environment. That would be the starting point in determining the need for a full or partial D-C system.

I hope that there is some response from piano technicians in your area to offer additional insight. You might also pose the question in the 'tuner/technician' forum.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

Top
#1989322 - 11/21/12 10:17 AM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: Minnesota Marty]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 568
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Your Kawai RX has a composite action. The Kawai piano actions are known for being unaffected by humidity changes.


That was my initial thought. Did you buy your piano new? What year is it? Kawai started using the carbon fiber action in 2002, I believe.


Edited by DanS (11/21/12 10:17 AM)
_________________________
"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#1989359 - 11/21/12 11:39 AM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: DanS]
Robert 45 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 1316
Loc: Auckland New Zealand
Of course, without seeing the piano we can only speculate about the cause of the "sticking" keys. The keys themselves and the key bed are wood and are vulnerable to the effects of different levels of humidity.

The Kawai synthetic action components are indeed almost completely impervious to changing humidity rates.

Regards,

Robert.

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#1989567 - 11/21/12 07:36 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: Minnesota Marty]
lori822 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/03/09
Posts: 53
Loc: B.C., Canada
Thank you, Marty. You've touched on an area no one else has, with respect to the Kawai RX models. My tuner is a tech, so I will discuss this with him. Also, our condo building has just had a new HVAC system installed, so I'll try to get more details about it.

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#1989569 - 11/21/12 07:39 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: DanS]
lori822 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/03/09
Posts: 53
Loc: B.C., Canada
To Dan S: Yes,I bought my piano new, however, it had been in the store in Vancouver for a while. The piano is a 2004 model, so it should include that carbon fibre action. Thanks for the additional input.

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#1989741 - 11/22/12 11:31 AM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: lori822]
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
I had a damp chaser on my Kawai in San Diego and I felt it really helped the stability of the pitch of the strings. My pianos are now in Colorado but when they make their way back to San Diego I will probably use the damp chaser again or maybe a life-saver system. It's dry in Colorado.

rada

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#1989789 - 11/22/12 01:19 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: lori822]
Cmajor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/11
Posts: 229
Loc: USA
Lori822,

This topic has been addressed many times in the piano forum. I responded to your posting regarding this issue on the Beginners'Forum but will repost here for those visiting this forum.

None of the major piano manufacturers actually recommend a Dampp Chaser, except as a last resort in extreme situations where general remedies are either unavailable or insufficient. However, there will always be those who insist that it is the way to go, especially those who make a living selling and installing these after market products.

A humidity level that does not fluctuate wildly and stays within the 45% to 55% range is considered optimal for a piano. It is also optimal for human comfort, longevity of furniture, and the prevention of mold. A good, well maintained, and properly designed central heating and cooling system should be sufficient for most applications. (Too big is worse than too small, as far as moisture removal is concerned).

Below is the response I received from Steinway & Sons regarding the use of Dampp Chasers in their pianos. As a mechanical engineer, I completely agree with their position on the subject.


Steinway & Sons does not recommend nor endorse Dampp-Chaser products installed in the piano but as a last resort suggestion where environmental climate-control measures are impossible or not feasible to implement. Not that the Dampp-Chaser doesn't work; it is usually very effective for its intended purpose, but things can go wrong. If not properly installed or maintained it can damage the piano and void the warranty. Another disadvantage is that the Dampp-Chaser targets the soundboard only; that is, it controls the moisture content of the soundboard and thereby imparts tuning stability, but it does not affect or remedy the effects of humidity on the piano in its entirety.

Steinway & Sons recommends environmental humidity control such as room dehumidifiers and room humidifiers or environmental climate-control systems because they affect a piano in its entirety and thereby safeguard it from the effects of excessive humidity swings.

We have always advised environmental climate control where necessary for the maintenance of Steinway pianos. The use of room humidifiers or dehumidifiers and other environmental climate-control measures are sometimes necessary in order to provide a suitable environment for the piano. The use of a hygrometer in the vicinity of the piano is recommended in order to monitor humidity changes. Drastic swings or even gradual fluctuations of relative humidity in excess of 30 points on the hygrometric scale are excessive enough to affect the piano and would indicate the need for protective measures to be taken in the piano's overall environment in order to protect and preserve the piano and its various components such as the soundboard, action, wrestplank, and the finish.

The Dampp-Chaser system, installed inside the piano, is designed to help maintain a consistent moisture content in the soundboard only and thereby to improve tuning stability. The Dampp-Chaser however is not intended for nor is it effective in protecting other components such as the finish, action, and wrestplank of a grand piano kept in an environment of unsuitable humidity conditions.

The installation of a Dampp-Chaser system in a Steinway piano will not, in itself, void the manufacturer’s warranty; however, if any functional or structural damage to the piano should occur because of the unit’s improper installation, operation, or service, then the piano’s warranty would indeed be voided.

Environmental humidity control, rather than a system installed in the piano, is also best for people, pets, and furniture.

STEINWAY & SONS

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#1989804 - 11/22/12 01:52 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: AndyJ]
Cmajor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/11
Posts: 229
Loc: USA
Andy J,

At the risk of sounding like a smart a-- you may well be left with only a soundboard. I am a mechanical engineer and can tell you with certainty that if you allow the humidity level in your home to reach 95% with wild swings in levels you are damaging your furniture and structural elements as well as the entire rest of your piano. You may well have mold growing inside your walls and high humidity levels encourage higher insect populations including termites. Mold may go dormant in the winter but will resume growth in the spring and summer. Most of the damage is slow to appear but once it does, you can be in for a financial nightmare. All that will be left undamaged on your piano is the soundboard as it is only the soundboard that is protected by a Dampp Chaser type system. (see the Steinway statement)

Conversely, a RH of 25% is BAD for everything, including the piano and you. Since proper humidity levels are so important to the structural integrity of your home and furnishings, including your Steinway, I suggest you inquire about having an auto fill system installed on a properly sized humidification system so you don't have to remember to fill the humidifier.

Not running your A/C in the summer is hazardous to all of your biggest investments, including your home itself. Many people who don't like air conditioning have improperly sized or maintained systems. A well designed system that is properly sized will not be very obtrusive and will keep comfort levels pretty constant providing the envelope of the home is in good shape. You should not be chilly or too warm with a good system that is designed and set correctly. You should not have high velocity air hitting you directly either.

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#1989946 - 11/23/12 12:31 AM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: Cmajor]
lori822 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/03/09
Posts: 53
Loc: B.C., Canada
C Major,

Thanks so much for your comments and opinions, as well as the letter from Steinway & Sons. I appreciate you sharing this with me and others reading this post. I've certainly had some excellent feedback on my questions, and will carefully consider all points of view before making a firm decision.

What a great forum this is!

Lori

Top
#1989997 - 11/23/12 07:37 AM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: lori822]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Originally Posted By: Cmajor
Lori822,

This topic has been addressed many times in the piano forum. I responded to your posting regarding this issue on the Beginners'Forum but will repost here for those visiting this forum.

None of the major piano manufacturers actually recommend a Dampp Chaser, except as a last resort in extreme situations where general remedies are either unavailable or insufficient. However, there will always be those who insist that it is the way to go, especially those who make a living selling and installing these after market products.

A humidity level that does not fluctuate wildly and stays within the 45% to 55% range is considered optimal for a piano. It is also optimal for human comfort, longevity of furniture, and the prevention of mold. A good, well maintained, and properly designed central heating and cooling system should be sufficient for most applications. (Too big is worse than too small, as far as moisture removal is concerned).

Below is the response I received from Steinway & Sons regarding the use of Dampp Chasers in their pianos. As a mechanical engineer, I completely agree with their position on the subject.


Steinway & Sons does not recommend nor endorse Dampp-Chaser products installed in the piano but as a last resort suggestion where environmental climate-control measures are impossible or not feasible to implement. Not that the Dampp-Chaser doesn't work; it is usually very effective for its intended purpose, but things can go wrong. If not properly installed or maintained it can damage the piano and void the warranty. Another disadvantage is that the Dampp-Chaser targets the soundboard only; that is, it controls the moisture content of the soundboard and thereby imparts tuning stability, but it does not affect or remedy the effects of humidity on the piano in its entirety.

Steinway & Sons recommends environmental humidity control such as room dehumidifiers and room humidifiers or environmental climate-control systems because they affect a piano in its entirety and thereby safeguard it from the effects of excessive humidity swings.

We have always advised environmental climate control where necessary for the maintenance of Steinway pianos. The use of room humidifiers or dehumidifiers and other environmental climate-control measures are sometimes necessary in order to provide a suitable environment for the piano. The use of a hygrometer in the vicinity of the piano is recommended in order to monitor humidity changes. Drastic swings or even gradual fluctuations of relative humidity in excess of 30 points on the hygrometric scale are excessive enough to affect the piano and would indicate the need for protective measures to be taken in the piano's overall environment in order to protect and preserve the piano and its various components such as the soundboard, action, wrestplank, and the finish.

The Dampp-Chaser system, installed inside the piano, is designed to help maintain a consistent moisture content in the soundboard only and thereby to improve tuning stability. The Dampp-Chaser however is not intended for nor is it effective in protecting other components such as the finish, action, and wrestplank of a grand piano kept in an environment of unsuitable humidity conditions.

The installation of a Dampp-Chaser system in a Steinway piano will not, in itself, void the manufacturer’s warranty; however, if any functional or structural damage to the piano should occur because of the unit’s improper installation, operation, or service, then the piano’s warranty would indeed be voided.

Environmental humidity control, rather than a system installed in the piano, is also best for people, pets, and furniture.

STEINWAY & SONS



Just to clarify some misinformation above, the majority of pianomakers actually do recommend the Dampp-Chaser system, including Bechstein, Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Fazioli, Kawai, Mason & Hamlin, Hailun, Petrof, Sauter, Schimmel, Seiler, Steingraeber, and Yamaha. The Dampp-Chaser is also recommended by the two biggest piano technology schools - North Bennet Street and University of Western Ontario; Andre Bolduc who makes soundboards and pinblocks, Ciresa soundboards of Italy, and Kluge keyboards.

As recently as a few years ago, Steinway also endorsed the DC system - they even had a quote in the DC literature - but they've since flip-flopped on their position. Why they did so is a mystery to me, and very unfortunate. Technicians who work in the Northeast know that indoor RH can fluctuate from 15-70% year round; that's why the Dampp-Chaser is often the only means of protecting the instrument and stabilizing the tuning. I've got a couple of Steinway owners in the clientele who are freaked out about the DC and opposed to installing one (because of Steinway's current position) but they should be more freaked out about the fact that the piano fluctuates from +30 cents in the summer to -30 cents in the winter. Not good for the soundboard and glue joints, not to mention the complete lack of tuning stability this causes.

It is almost impossible to maintain an indoor RH% between 40-50% year-round in NYC and the Northeast, even with extremely expensive whole-house humidifiers. Out of the 1,000 or so clients homes and apartments I've been in, maybe 10 were able to achieve 40% RH in the winter. Most of the time, the indoor RH in the winter in NYC is around 15-20%. That is extremely low and will absolutely take its toll on the soundboard and action parts of any piano.

Indeed there are some areas of the U.S. and other parts of the world where the DC may not be necessary, so piano owners should discuss this with their technician. Your tech can take RH readings using an accurate hygrometer, consider the placement of the piano within the house, and determine if the DC makes sense for your piano.

For those who wish to take accurate readings, I recommend the General DTH-700 hygrometer, about $35. and extremely accurate, within + or - 5%. I have many clients who purchased this tool and realized that their previous hygrometer was off by huge percentages, often fooling them into thinking all was well.

Yes, I do make a small profit on the sale and installation of Dampp-Chaser systems (and I am a certified DC installer) but the reason I recommend them is to stabilize and protect the piano. And I've had one on my own grand piano since 1995.
_________________________
Keyboardist & Composer, Piano Technician
www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#1990036 - 11/23/12 11:34 AM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: James Carney]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
James,

Thanks for the reassuring words. While I agree that a steady indoor relative humidity would be nice, my wife and I prefer to keep the windows open most of the summer like our parents did before air conditioning. We're very aware of the risks of mold, etc., and also cognizant of our own comfort. In our climate, very high RH numbers only occur during storms or long steamy spells; we air condition during the latter. We try to keep the humidity up in the winter time but sometimes travel or just forget to refill the unit. An upcoming HVAC upgrade will take care of the latter problem but we don't feel morally justified in burning Kentucky and West Virginia mountaintop-removal coal for our summertime comfort nor even the purported comfort of the Steinway.

Andy

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#1990063 - 11/23/12 12:48 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: lori822]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
AndyJ,

You have directed your reply to James (Carney), but was it actually intended for the comments of Cmajor in reply to your posting?
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

Top
#1990155 - 11/23/12 09:10 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: Cmajor]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Originally Posted By: Cmajor


None of the major piano manufacturers actually recommend a Dampp Chaser, except as a last resort in extreme situations where general remedies are either unavailable or insufficient.


Environmental control is the best, when possible or affordable. The Piano Life Saver System is exactly designed for the cases where the environment is hazardous to the piano, so it's a more positive statement than as written above. You may as well say that fire extinguishers are not recommended, unless something is on fire.

http://www.pianolifesaver.com/english/recommendations.php

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
www.shusterpiano.com
www.facebook.com/shusterpiano
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Registered Piano Technician
Dampp-Chaser Certified Installer
PianoDisc Certified Service Technician

Top
#1990341 - 11/24/12 01:52 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: James Carney]
Cmajor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/11
Posts: 229
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: James Carney
Originally Posted By: Cmajor
Lori822,

This topic has been addressed many times in the piano forum. I responded to your posting regarding this issue on the Beginners'Forum but will repost here for those visiting this forum.

None of the major piano manufacturers actually recommend a Dampp Chaser, except as a last resort in extreme situations where general remedies are either unavailable or insufficient. However, there will always be those who insist that it is the way to go, especially those who make a living selling and installing these after market products.

A humidity level that does not fluctuate wildly and stays within the 45% to 55% range is considered optimal for a piano. It is also optimal for human comfort, longevity of furniture, and the prevention of mold. A good, well maintained, and properly designed central heating and cooling system should be sufficient for most applications. (Too big is worse than too small, as far as moisture removal is concerned).

Below is the response I received from Steinway & Sons regarding the use of Dampp Chasers in their pianos. As a mechanical engineer, I completely agree with their position on the subject.


Steinway & Sons does not recommend nor endorse Dampp-Chaser products installed in the piano but as a last resort suggestion where environmental climate-control measures are impossible or not feasible to implement. Not that the Dampp-Chaser doesn't work; it is usually very effective for its intended purpose, but things can go wrong. If not properly installed or maintained it can damage the piano and void the warranty. Another disadvantage is that the Dampp-Chaser targets the soundboard only; that is, it controls the moisture content of the soundboard and thereby imparts tuning stability, but it does not affect or remedy the effects of humidity on the piano in its entirety.

Steinway & Sons recommends environmental humidity control such as room dehumidifiers and room humidifiers or environmental climate-control systems because they affect a piano in its entirety and thereby safeguard it from the effects of excessive humidity swings.

We have always advised environmental climate control where necessary for the maintenance of Steinway pianos. The use of room humidifiers or dehumidifiers and other environmental climate-control measures are sometimes necessary in order to provide a suitable environment for the piano. The use of a hygrometer in the vicinity of the piano is recommended in order to monitor humidity changes. Drastic swings or even gradual fluctuations of relative humidity in excess of 30 points on the hygrometric scale are excessive enough to affect the piano and would indicate the need for protective measures to be taken in the piano's overall environment in order to protect and preserve the piano and its various components such as the soundboard, action, wrestplank, and the finish.

The Dampp-Chaser system, installed inside the piano, is designed to help maintain a consistent moisture content in the soundboard only and thereby to improve tuning stability. The Dampp-Chaser however is not intended for nor is it effective in protecting other components such as the finish, action, and wrestplank of a grand piano kept in an environment of unsuitable humidity conditions.

The installation of a Dampp-Chaser system in a Steinway piano will not, in itself, void the manufacturer’s warranty; however, if any functional or structural damage to the piano should occur because of the unit’s improper installation, operation, or service, then the piano’s warranty would indeed be voided.

Environmental humidity control, rather than a system installed in the piano, is also best for people, pets, and furniture.

STEINWAY & SONS



Just to clarify some misinformation above, the majority of pianomakers actually do recommend the Dampp-Chaser system, including Bechstein, Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Fazioli, Kawai, Mason & Hamlin, Hailun, Petrof, Sauter, Schimmel, Seiler, Steingraeber, and Yamaha. The Dampp-Chaser is also recommended by the two biggest piano technology schools - North Bennet Street and University of Western Ontario; Andre Bolduc who makes soundboards and pinblocks, Ciresa soundboards of Italy, and Kluge keyboards.

As recently as a few years ago, Steinway also endorsed the DC system - they even had a quote in the DC literature - but they've since flip-flopped on their position. Why they did so is a mystery to me, and very unfortunate. Technicians who work in the Northeast know that indoor RH can fluctuate from 15-70% year round; that's why the Dampp-Chaser is often the only means of protecting the instrument and stabilizing the tuning. I've got a couple of Steinway owners in the clientele who are freaked out about the DC and opposed to installing one (because of Steinway's current position) but they should be more freaked out about the fact that the piano fluctuates from +30 cents in the summer to -30 cents in the winter. Not good for the soundboard and glue joints, not to mention the complete lack of tuning stability this causes.

It is almost impossible to maintain an indoor RH% between 40-50% year-round in NYC and the Northeast, even with extremely expensive whole-house humidifiers. Out of the 1,000 or so clients homes and apartments I've been in, maybe 10 were able to achieve 40% RH in the winter. Most of the time, the indoor RH in the winter in NYC is around 15-20%. That is extremely low and will absolutely take its toll on the soundboard and action parts of any piano.

Indeed there are some areas of the U.S. and other parts of the world where the DC may not be necessary, so piano owners should discuss this with their technician. Your tech can take RH readings using an accurate hygrometer, consider the placement of the piano within the house, and determine if the DC makes sense for your piano.

For those who wish to take accurate readings, I recommend the General DTH-700 hygrometer, about $35. and extremely accurate, within + or - 5%. I have many clients who purchased this tool and realized that their previous hygrometer was off by huge percentages, often fooling them into thinking all was well.

Yes, I do make a small profit on the sale and installation of Dampp-Chaser systems (and I am a certified DC installer) but the reason I recommend them is to stabilize and protect the piano. And I've had one on my own grand piano since 1995.


James,

I'm afraid I have to disagree with the majority of your statements. I provided no misinformation in my post but you have provided skewed information the omits several key elements.

#1- I wrote to six of the major manufacturers and all of them recommended addressing the entire room area rather that just the soundboard or just the piano. The soundboard only solutions were to be used in extreme circumstances where normal and practical solutions are not possible. All six indicated that a RH level of about 50% was optimal and recommended a stable environment... no surprise there. At no point did any of the six say anything like, "yes, by all means, install a DamppChaser in your piano". They were all careful to indicate a DC was a consideration in cases where "environmental conditions cannot be corrected by "normal" means or some type of redundancy is desired." All said that any improper installation or maintenance of any after market device installed on their piano could void their warranty.
So, it appears that your statement is sort of correct but you left out the caveats. Bottom line, a DC should be the last resort in an unusual situation.

#2- The reasons why Steinway no longer recommends piano only solutions are clearly stated in their statement so I am puzzled as to why their position is so confusing to you. They note that a DC protects only the soundboard and not the entire instrument. An area solution is necessary for complete protection. There are may parts of a piano that need proper RH, not just the soundboard.

#3- As a mechanical engineer with over 40 years experience in the design of HVAC systems for a multitude of applications, commercial and residential, in almost every state in the union and a dozen foreign countries, I challenge your statement that it is "almost impossible" to maintain a fairly constant RH at a desired level year around. In fact, that statement is completely without merit as it refutes accepted engineering principles and the whole purpose of installing such systems is to maintain a stable, comfortable, and healthful environment. If that is not happening, something is wrong. To achieve this very attainable goal, the building envelope must be in good shape, the system properly designed, and the system must be set and maintained properly. Do you think a major piano manufacturer like Steinway would tolerate wildly fluctuating RH in their manufacturing facilities and showrooms? Of course not.

Yes, RH can fluctuate by 80% or more in many areas of the US but that is why you need a central air conditions system... to keep that fluctuation from happening. The term "air conditioning" btw, refers to the total conditioning of air to make it comfortable and healthy. It includes heating, filtration, air movement, cooling, and the removal or addition of moisture as necessary. All these elements must be present for an effective system.

You are also incorrect in stating the area solutions are not effective. If they are properly sized and maintained, and maintained they are very effective. They are used in hundreds of thousand of applications all over the world and protect investments worth millions, if not billions, of dollars. Often, homeowners fail to empty the drain pans on humidifiers without external drains and the system shuts down to prevent flooding. That is just one example of operator error. Many buy improperly sized units for the what they are trying to accomplish.

There are no areas in the US that I know of, that would be able to do without some type of indoor climate control but, providing one has a suitable HVAC system with appropriate humidity control for all seasons, there are none that would absolutely "require" a DC. You can verify that fact by contacting ASHRAE. Of course, if you keep your windows wide open in the summer and keep your thermostat set at 80 all bets are off, even with a DC, as the rest of your piano (aside from the soundboard), and the rest of your home and furnishings, will suffer great damage over time.

#4- People who fail to maintain their HVAC systems and/or extra devices will also usually fail to maintain a piano only device as well. Most of the time, the fault lies with the operator, not the equipment (providing that it was properly designed and installed). If their home has a RH of 25% in the winter they should be calling their HVAC tech, not a piano tech. Conversely, the same holds true for RH levels above 55% in the summer.

#5- Yes, all techs, and many dealers, do make a profit selling these after market devices so there is a strong motive for them to "heartily" recommend them. That being said, to market them as protection for the whole piano is misleading. The device is designed to protect the soundboard and not the entire piano. Only an area solution can accomplish protection for the entire instrument, as clearly stated in Steinway's letter I posted.

My conclusions, as a mechanical engineer, are that while a DC, on it's own, is most likely not harmful (if installed and maintained properly) they are limited in their scope of work. In a properly maintained area environment, they can serve as redundant protection but for the soundboard only. Since they do not provide protection for the entire piano or other items or occupants of the space, one would be better advised to invest in making sure the entire environment is healthy for all the things, people, and critters. I do NOT have a DC on my grand, but do insure that the entire environment is stable and compatible with the recommended levels of RH. Longevity for my entire piano, the entire contents of my home, and the structural integrity of walls, joists, etc. is much more likely as a result.

No matter how much you may love your piano, it lives in your home, you don't live in it... protect your home and you protect your piano... the entire piano.

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#1990356 - 11/24/12 02:55 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: lori822]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
While it is surely possible to get a healthy environment for the piano using HVAC in new construction with perfect insulation, building envelope etc with a well designed and properly functioning and monitored system, the reality in schools, hospitals, senior's and civic facilities is that the pianos there suffer more from humidity swings, especially dryness, than in "old fashioned" homes.
_________________________
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#1990391 - 11/24/12 04:24 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: lori822]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
One begins to wonder about someone who is so adamantly opposed to a simple device which has proven itself to be successful in countless applications.

This tirade is most unbecoming and even borderline manic.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1990403 - 11/24/12 05:01 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: Cmajor]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Cmajor
No matter how much you may love your piano, it lives in your home, you don't live in it... protect your home and you protect your piano... the entire piano.


Or, then again:

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/the-piano-house

The architect specified that D-C should provide the HVAC.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1991446 - 11/27/12 11:31 AM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: Supply]
Cmajor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/11
Posts: 229
Loc: USA
What data do you have to substantiate your statement? Please elaborate a bit.

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#1991458 - 11/27/12 11:55 AM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: Cmajor]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Cmajor
What data do you have to substantiate your statement? Please elaborate a bit.


About your manners or about your mania?

"We hold these truths to be self-evident."
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1991466 - 11/27/12 12:08 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Cmajor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/11
Posts: 229
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
One begins to wonder about someone who is so adamantly opposed to a simple device which has proven itself to be successful in countless applications.

This tirade is most unbecoming and even borderline manic.


It is no nothings like you Marty, who help to foster myths, and misinformation. You don't appear to be an "expert" on anything except being contrary at every opportunity. It is you, my friend, who appear to have the manic disorder.

I am, and always will be, a consumer advocate. Whether it be for commercial consumers or private consumers, misleading marketing methods should be brought to light. It is often the things left out that are the most misleading.

Please present to forum readers any independent data you have to backup your comments. Manufacturer websites and endorsements by those who have a "horse in the race" is skewed data and cannot be considered. As any employer will quickly tell you, they see nothing but great stuff on a resume.

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#1991470 - 11/27/12 12:18 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Cmajor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/03/11
Posts: 229
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: Cmajor
No matter how much you may love your piano, it lives in your home, you don't live in it... protect your home and you protect your piano... the entire piano.


Or, then again:

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/the-piano-house

The architect specified that D-C should provide the HVAC.


A DC should provide the HVAC??? From what orifice did you pull that idea out of?

Marty, you are living in another dimension where delusion is fact. Perhaps the string theory has some merit. Your comments bring to mind an old saying... "better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt".

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#1991473 - 11/27/12 12:27 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: Cmajor]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Cmajor

It is no nothings like you Marty, who help to foster myths, and misinformation.


I don't understand your use of a double negative. Please explain.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1991577 - 11/27/12 04:04 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: Cmajor]
Ken Knapp Offline



Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2278
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Cmajor
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: Cmajor
No matter how much you may love your piano, it lives in your home, you don't live in it... protect your home and you protect your piano... the entire piano.


Or, then again:

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/the-piano-house

The architect specified that D-C should provide the HVAC.


A DC should provide the HVAC??? From what orifice did you pull that idea out of?

Marty, you are living in another dimension where delusion is fact. Perhaps the string theory has some merit. Your comments bring to mind an old saying... "better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt".



Let me guess, you didn't look at the link, right? Go look at it then apologize to Marty...



Edited by Ken Knapp (11/27/12 04:05 PM)
_________________________
Ken

Piano Organ Depot
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#1991660 - 11/27/12 07:19 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: lori822]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I have installed hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Damp Chaser systems over the years. Perhaps thousands, I have never counted them. If properly installed and properly maintained by the owner, they work extremely well.

At my college we have Dampp Chaser systems installed on all of our Steinways and many other pianos. In fact on our Steinway D,s, we have two Dampp Chaser systems installed on each Piano! They work exceptionally well! A piano with one of these properly installed, and the key is properly installed, AND maintained, will be a piano that holds its tune and pitch better than one without.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1992149 - 11/28/12 08:59 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: lori822]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 641
I have been following this thread from the beginning. I was a little worried because of the anti-damp chaser posts since I have one in the piano I purchased recently. I have not had a technician come in yet for the first tuning/voicing and I am waiting to fill the water because I know the pads need changing, etc. I am feeling better about having it and look forward to getting my system up and running. Thanks for the information from all the posters.

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#1992154 - 11/28/12 09:12 PM Re: Dampp Chaser [Re: lori822]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Chopinlover49,

Caring for a D-C is very easy and when your tech does the service, ask him to show you how it is done. The only thing to learn is the fitting of new pads for the humidifyer and the cleaning of the element.

My suggestion is to only use distilled water and the water treatment fluid from D-C. To find the best prices on the supplies, try a google. I happen to use http://howardpianoindustries.com/
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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