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#2053699 - 03/24/13 09:04 PM Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Hey -

I have radiator heat in my house, and I'm planning to buy a grand piano soon. I'm thinking of installing some type of climate control system for the entire first floor of my house, or perhaps for a portion of it (perhaps with the kitchen sealed off). Does anyone have any suggestions?

I definitely want to install some type of floor-wide (or multiple room) air conditioning unit for the summer months (for my own comfort, among other reasons), and I also want to be able to keep the humidity level stable year round, without having to deal with filling / cleaning a humidifier / dehumidifier on a regular basis. I know that they make humidity control systems for forced-air heating systems, but I'm not sure that we want to install a forced-air system for the entire house.

Perhaps something similar to this?

http://www.friedrich.com/products/residential/window/breeze

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks!


Edited by pianokeys135 (03/25/13 02:19 AM)
Edit Reason: New title / minor changes
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pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2053747 - 03/24/13 11:28 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems [Re: pianokeys135]
Blues beater Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/13
Posts: 133
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
Originally Posted By: pianokeys135
Hey -

I have radiator heat in my house, and I'm planning to buy a grand piano soon. I'm thinking of installing some type of climate control system for the entire first floor of my house, or perhaps for a portion of it with the kitchen sealed off. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I definitely want to install some type of floor-wide air conditioning unit for the summer months, and I also want to be able to keep the humidity level stable year round, without having to deal with filling / cleaning a humidifier / dehumidifier on a regular basis. I know that they make humidity control systems for forced-air heating systems, but I'm not sure that we want to install a forced-air system for the entire house.

Perhaps something similar to this?

http://www.friedrich.com/products/residential/window/breeze

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks!


Unless I am missing something, I don't see where this AC unit will do anything at all to control humidity. Why don't you get a DamppChaser installed in your piano? You shouldn't have to fill it that often. The experts will correct me if I am wrong, but humidity swings will do far more hurt to your piano than temperature swings.
_________________________
Don, playing the blues in Austin, Texas on a 48" family heirloom Steinway upright, 100 year old 54" Weber upright, and unknown make turn of the century 54" upright -- says "Whittier NY" on the plate

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#2053752 - 03/25/13 12:13 AM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Thanks for your response.

I don't think this AC unit will add humidity in the winter or in the drier months, although I believe using an AC does help to lower the humidity level in the summer when it's more humid (I'm not sure about this so please chime in if anyone has info. about this). I was just thinking of something like this AC unit that also has humidity control, or perhaps adding humidity control into a unit like this, like how you can add humidity control into a whole-house forced air system.

I have a Dampp Chaser in my upright now, and it doesn't seem to be working all that well. The humidity level lately has been between approx. 32% and 34% inside the piano according to my hygrometer, which doesn't seem high enough and doesn't seem to be any different than the humidity level in the room that the piano is in. Plus, with a grand, I would think that whole room humidity control would be better than just a Dampp Chaser anyway.

I need to add an AC unit for the whole floor anyway, so I'm trying to find a way to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.
_________________________
pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2053754 - 03/25/13 12:17 AM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems [Re: pianokeys135]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2093
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Friedrich makes some good stuff.
An air conditioner will pull water out of the air. But not like a dehumidifier.
Then you have to worry about adding humidity when needed.

Gee...They make some awfully efficient heat/air conditioning systems these days. Might be worth the savings in utility bills?
That's a good way to include the humidity control also.
I say it's at least worth looking into. Especially when you consider the cost of the separate units.

I can't say I know how efficient your radiator heat is?

Don't let anyone talk to you about a Heat Pump. It's just an air conditioner that works backwards for the heat. Won't work below 45 degrees for heat.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2053777 - 03/25/13 02:14 AM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems [Re: rnaple]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Thanks rnaple.

Quote:
They make some awfully efficient heat/air conditioning systems these days.


Do you have any suggestions as to which systems might be good? I'm planning to research this, but if you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.

Maybe there is something like a forced air heat / cooling system that I can use just for the first floor, or a section of it, and then I can add a humidity control unit to that? Not really sure if something like that exists or not.
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pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2053841 - 03/25/13 07:41 AM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems [Re: pianokeys135]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 631
Loc: shirley, MA
A couple of things:

1-In the North East a Damppchaser needs an undercover (or back cover in your upright). Do you have an undercover installed?

The effectiveness of the unit depends on there being an undisturbed layer of air right up against the soundboard. This layer of air is called a barrier layer, and it is only molecules thick. When this barrier layer is exposed to air movement, the efficiency of the barrier layer plummets, and you lose much of the benefits the damppchaser humidifier/dehumidifier has to offer.

2-The humidistat you are using to confirm the RH conditions in the piano needs to be reading right at the humidistat, and the humidistat needs to be right up close to the soundboard. The entire back area of the piano is not being conditioned, only the barrier layer at the soundboard.

3-Whole house balanced RH is fiendishly difficult and expensive to achieve. I've had clients try to do it without an HVAC engineer...we ended up installing a Dampchaser anyway because the ambient conditions were not stable by a long shot. Its really quite difficult to pull off, unless the room is absolutely isolated from the rest of the house. Your descriptions of partial conditioning may make things a little more comfortable for you, but chances are great that they will not be stable in the way the piano would like to see them.

A backcover would be by far the cheapest way to achieve piano-centric RH control for your piano.

Jim Ialeggio



Edited by jim ialeggio (03/25/13 01:31 PM)
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2053968 - 03/25/13 11:51 AM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems [Re: jim ialeggio]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Thanks for the input Jim. No, I have not been putting the sensor for my independent hygrometer right up against the soundboard on the inside of the piano. I guess I should try that and see what kind of a reading I get.

The damp chaser humidistat unit is hanging from the dehumidification bar - I would have to check exactly how far that is from the soundboard, but I would guess not more than a few inches from the soundboard.

I do not have a back cover for my upright - I didn't even know that they existed. Can someone send me a link so that I can see how they work?

I don't know much about Dampp Chasers for grands, but if I was going to get one I suppose I would probably get the undercover as well for maximum effect.

I'm not looking for the cheapest way to achieve some success. I really want to be able to create the best conditions possible for the new grand I'm planing to buy, whether that is whole room humification or whole room humidification plus a dampp chaser. I need to air condition the whole floor anyway for comfort reasons.

The entire space that I'm thinking of humidity controlling (at the moment) would be an approx. 13'x16' room connected by a double door archway (no actual doors) leading to a dining room that is about 12' x 10'. I would be sealing all of the doors leading out of those two rooms. The only problematic part of this two-room area is that there is a stairway leading up to the second floor that would be difficult to seal. We are considering, though, putting a sealed door at the top of it.

Does anyone have a recommendation for an HVAC engineer in the greater NYC area? I don't even know who to speak with to discuss having something like this installed or what the costs and considerations are. Maybe an appliance store that sells air conditioners?

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated!
_________________________
pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2054048 - 03/25/13 02:23 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems [Re: pianokeys135]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7437
Loc: Rochester MN
PK135,

The moderater in the Piano Forum, Rickster, is an HVAC instructor at a community college and is very helpful when these sorts of questions arise in the forum. You issue is unique as you are addressing a number of givens. You might send him a PM.
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Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2054062 - 03/25/13 02:45 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Thanks Marty. I'll try to send Rickster a PM.
_________________________
pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2054068 - 03/25/13 03:00 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3200
Loc: Virginia, USA
These split systems are good units but they will not control humidity. They do reduce it somewhat, but they control temperature.

Getting good control in a residential setting is not simple. There isn't an easy answer here.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2054109 - 03/25/13 04:37 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
I don't think that a back cover on an upright is nearly as effective as an undercover on a grand. In other words, I don't think it makes a large enough difference in an upright to worry about, as opposed to a grand.
As Jim has stated, measuring rH is fraught with error margin. One good way to get a real handle on the picture is to use (buy, borrow or steal) a temperature/humidity data logger. I have two that I use, they both came from eBay. They will graph the levels and fluctuations of temperature and rH over any selected time span. I don't know of any other way to monitor what is going on without simply getting a snapshot of highly variable levels, which is really of limited use.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2054118 - 03/25/13 04:53 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Thanks Supply. Maybe I should get a few Digital Thermometers / Hygrometers with data logging capabilities for monitoring purposes. Any suggestions on good brands / models?

I do check my hygrometer regularly to see what the fluctuations are, and it seems to be pretty consistent lately in the 32-35% range. I'm sure it will get much higher in the summer, but for now it seems to be pretty consistent.
_________________________
pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2054194 - 03/25/13 07:26 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7437
Loc: Rochester MN
A decent recording hygrometer will set you back about 25 bucks at a good hardware or big box store. They are accurate to about +/- 2 degrees. Good enough for what you are after. One word of caution - they're only accurate for about a couple of years as the sensors can get less sensitive due to indoor polutants.

I keep one in my grand and the other just out in the room. My Dampp Chaser system keeps the piano very stable. When not playing, I keep my piano closed. I don't have an undercover or string cover.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2054221 - 03/25/13 08:21 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7544
Loc: France
I have discovered that low heat floor heating was excellent for pianos.

At last the few I have seen in that environment
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It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2054224 - 03/25/13 08:24 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: Supply]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7544
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Supply
I don't think that a back cover on an upright is nearly as effective as an undercover on a grand. In other words, I don't think it makes a large enough difference in an upright to worry about, as opposed to a grand.
As Jim has stated, measuring rH is fraught with error margin. One good way to get a real handle on the picture is to use (buy, borrow or steal) a temperature/humidity data logger. I have two that I use, they both came from eBay. They will graph the levels and fluctuations of temperature and rH over any selected time span. I don't know of any other way to monitor what is going on without simply getting a snapshot of highly variable levels, which is really of limited use.


Most old verticals had a silk "satinette" back cover, and I believe it made at last an humidity barrier. Better than nothing anyway. May be modern varnishes are less pourous...
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2054238 - 03/25/13 08:53 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Thanks Olek -

I assume when you say "low heat floor heating" you are talking about those hot water heaters that run along the wall right above the floor?

Quote:
Most old verticals had a silk "satinette" back cover, and I believe it made at last an humidity barrier.


Hrm...maybe I can just put some plastic sheeting or something on the back of the upright...maybe that would help.

Thanks for the info on the Hygrometers Marty - Maybe it's time for me to get some new ones - mine are about 3 years old. They still seem to be accurate to one another and with the hygrometer that my tech brought over the other day, though, so maybe they are still ok.
_________________________
pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2054279 - 03/25/13 10:06 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7437
Loc: Rochester MN
They could very well be OK. The things that gum them up are cigarette smoke and cooking oil vapors. The grease from cooking is the worst.
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Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2054298 - 03/25/13 10:41 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2071
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I haven't tried it-but maybe dipping the sensing element in degreaser might restore a greasy hygrometer. Check with the manufacturer to be sure first.
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In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2055069 - 03/27/13 12:16 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Thanks for the input everyone. I guess the next step is to start calling around to heating / cooling contractors or appliance stores.
_________________________
pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2055161 - 03/27/13 03:14 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3200
Loc: Virginia, USA
At work we've used Omron Hobo with no problems. I'm sure there are other brands just as good. I'll ask the controls tech next time I see him.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2055227 - 03/27/13 05:22 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: pianokeys135
...I do check my hygrometer regularly to see what the fluctuations are, and it seems to be pretty consistent lately in the 32-35% range. I'm sure it will get much higher in the summer, but for now it seems to be pretty consistent.
In my experience, consistent hygrometer readings are often indicative of a faulty hygrometer. In just about every instance that I have done data logging, the rH fluctuates on a basic daily cycle, interrupted by "humidity events" which create a spike or a dip on the graph. A flat line reading means that your equipment is probably shot.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2055252 - 03/27/13 06:03 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7544
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: pianokeys135
Thanks Olek -

I assume when you say "low heat floor heating" you are talking about those hot water heaters that run along the wall right above the floor?

Quote:
Most old verticals had a silk "satinette" back cover, and I believe it made at last an humidity barrier.


Hrm...maybe I can just put some plastic sheeting or something on the back of the upright...maybe that would help.

.


Hello
No I believe the pipes go all around the place, within the floor but the heat is very low , so no problems with blood, and no too high dfampness as with the older systems (that desagregeates pianos )

I have no idea of their name in English, they are thers since 10 years to the most.

"Satinette" is a thin fabrics (silk or artificial silk) , the soundboard is allowed to breath, I would not use a plastic sheet


Edited by Olek (03/27/13 06:04 PM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2055264 - 03/27/13 06:40 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: Olek]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Quote:
In my experience, consistent hygrometer readings are often indicative of a faulty hygrometer.


Ok - It looks like I should probably invest in a few high-quality hygrometers with data logging.

Olek -

Re: low floor heating - I think I know what you are talking about - the kind of heating system where the heat actually comes up (radiates) through the floor. I've heard of that I think.

Also, thanks for the tip on the material for behind the upright - I didn't think about whether or not it should be able to breathe. Why is breathability important?
_________________________
pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2055908 - 03/28/13 10:24 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
OK. Nobody seems to like my idea. frown

What about just getting a good AC unit for summer, and then a powerful indoor humidifier with a built-in hygrometer that I can connect to a water line for winter? Preferably one that is easy to clean? Do those exist? I just don't relish the idea of filling a humidifier every day and cleaning it twice a week for the next 20 years....Isn't there anyone else out there like me who wants to make this process easier?
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pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2055913 - 03/28/13 10:32 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21528
Loc: Oakland
I think you should talk to an HVAC dealer about your situation.
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#2055919 - 03/28/13 10:44 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
pianokeys135 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Greater NYC Area
Wow - yes that seems reasonable BDB. I just put HVAC into a google maps search and got a number of results. Apparently, sometimes they are called "plumbing and heating" companies.
_________________________
pianokeys135
amateur piano player

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#2056058 - 03/29/13 07:14 AM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7544
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: pianokeys135
Quote:
In my experience, consistent hygrometer readings are often indicative of a faulty hygrometer.


Ok - It looks like I should probably invest in a few high-quality hygrometers with data logging.

Olek -

Re: low floor heating - I think I know what you are talking about - the kind of heating system where the heat actually comes up (radiates) through the floor. I've heard of that I think.

Also, thanks for the tip on the material for behind the upright - I didn't think about whether or not it should be able to breathe. Why is breathability important?


I am unsure, but probably to avoid condensation : mold on the wood.

Those heated floor date from the 70 I guess and the first ones destroy really fast the pianos because of extra dry low part of the room (bad for the health too)

So when I have noticed those real "low heat" floors that are installed today, I was expecting damage, and in fact I find very stable instruments... the heat is not perceived it is the room temperature I guess, no more.

standard hygrometers (not the cheapest ones )once verified (it is relatively easy with some saturated salt baths) are accurate enough for our use , in my opinion.
Jurgen probably sell some of them




Edited by Olek (03/29/13 07:25 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2056142 - 03/29/13 10:35 AM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: Olek]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2543
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: Olek

Hello
No I believe the pipes go all around the place, within the floor but the heat is very low , so no problems with blood, and no too high dfampness as with the older systems (that desagregeates pianos )

I have no idea of their name in English, they are thers since 10 years to the most.


Radiant heat.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2056347 - 03/29/13 04:34 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7544
Loc: France
Thank you , yes I heard that term used also...

Really surprising as the conditions stay good all year long (my only source of information is the piano, as you can imagine)

I heard that it can be coupled with some equipment deep in the ground, that catch some heat from under to help reduce the heating bill.

I have seen one all the pipes within a floor , before the material is poured in. I hope the pipes are well resisting to time, and something is done to avoid calcium deposits. I guess so.

The original systems where synonyms of premature death for pianos (and vein trouble for humans) glue joints fall apart, mostly , tuning lowering half step systematically, etc...
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2056351 - 03/29/13 04:39 PM Re: Temperature / Humidity Control Systems for Part of a House [Re: pianokeys135]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7437
Loc: Rochester MN
Heat Pump
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Marty in Minnesota

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

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Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
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