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#2173122 - 10/28/13 10:31 AM Even with Damp-Chaser my piano's humidity is high
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 635
Loc: NY and NC
I have a Damp-Chaser system in my piano (installed before I bought the piano) and I keep an electronic humidity/temp device on the piano to keep track of daily average temperature and humidity. For quite some time the humidity has stayed in the 60%s even though the dehumidifier bar is plugged in. In fact, it seems like I am filling up the water reservoir about every two or three weeks. I would think the opposite would be occurring. Does my 7 foot Mason-Hamlin need two heating bars? Is the system not working correctly? Do I have the humidity device in the wrong place? (It is sitting on the top of the shelf next to the music stand.) Maybe someone can explain how all this works so that I will be sure I am doing everything correctly? I was under the impression that I should try to keep the piano at about 40-45% humidity. The piano is in a closed bedroom with blinds closed except when I am playing. House is heated/air conditioned by a heat pump and room temp does not vary much from 70-73 degrees.
_________________________
2004 Mason-Hamlin polished ebony BB.
Working on jazz standards and Chopin nocturnes, preludes, and mazurkas (the easier ones.)

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#2173126 - 10/28/13 10:38 AM Re: Even with Damp-Chaser my piano's humidity is high [Re: Chopinlover49]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7456
Loc: France
if the room is at 60% HR most of the time your piano is not at risk. (this value was considered good for pianos for a long time , probably due to the common use of hair hygrometers that tend to be optimistic on the humid side)


that 45% prescription is an "optimal" level and on the dry side in my opinion.

the moisture should be controlled where the DC is, I mean under the soundboard, install it on a rib not too far from the DC.

the DC humidistat is under the ribs as well.

the heater rod must be warm if the room moisture is 60% and the humidifier should not ask to be refilled , only rarely (natural evaportaion of the water)



Edited by Olek (10/28/13 10:40 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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#2173128 - 10/28/13 10:40 AM Re: Even with Damp-Chaser my piano's humidity is high [Re: Chopinlover49]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7281
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi CL49,

It could very well be where you have your hygrometer placed. Try a little experiment. Place the hygrometer inside the piano, on the plate, and close up the piano completely. Leave it overnight and check it in the morning for a more accurate reading.

On a 7' piano, usually two warming bars are used, so that might be the problem. The other possibility is that your hygrometer is out of whack.

Do some further investigating before you take drastic action.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2173130 - 10/28/13 10:47 AM Re: Even with Damp-Chaser my piano's humidity is high [Re: Chopinlover49]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1990
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I am not sure what the item you call "humidity device" on the shelf is exactly. If it is the humidifier part of the Damp Chaser system it is in the wrong place. Are you heating the room now? If your room is always around the 60% RH that will work fine for the piano. It is the swings in humidity that help wear the wood of a piano out-so a higher but stable RH is not damaging. 70% RH or above would make the touch heavier, slower and the tone deader.

I often put two 50W dehumidifier rods in a 7'. But we don't usually need the humidifier part here in Washington state.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2173142 - 10/28/13 11:08 AM Re: Even with Damp-Chaser my piano's humidity is high [Re: Chopinlover49]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 635
Loc: NY and NC
The Damp-Chaser is totally under the piano as it is supposed to be. I meant that I purchased a device to keep track of the temp and humidity. This is the device sitting on the top of the piano. It gives the current temp and humidity as well as the 24 hour average. I have put my hand on the heating bar and it does not really feel warm to me. Since the humidifier is using water, it seems to me like it is working in reverse? Is there a switch on the Damp-Chaser to turn on or something? The piano is holding its tuning quite well, so I am not having any problems, but want to protect the piano's soundboard and other parts, of course, so I just want to be sure I haven't got a problem with the unit. I will have a tech coming soon and will have him check it, but thought you might be able to answer the questions for now. The room is heated right now and the temp really does not vary from season to season.
_________________________
2004 Mason-Hamlin polished ebony BB.
Working on jazz standards and Chopin nocturnes, preludes, and mazurkas (the easier ones.)

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#2173145 - 10/28/13 11:21 AM Re: Even with Damp-Chaser my piano's humidity is high [Re: Chopinlover49]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1690
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Where you've placed your hygrometer is measuring more room RH, and less piano. Marty is correct. The DC system creates ideal RH in the piano. It is automatic. Humidistat controls everything. Tech needs to check/service the system at least twice per year.


Edited by bkw58 (10/28/13 11:22 AM)
Edit Reason: clarity
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician

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#2173146 - 10/28/13 11:24 AM Re: Even with Damp-Chaser my piano's humidity is high [Re: Chopinlover49]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7456
Loc: France
the Dc cannot regulate moisture at the place you are measuring, it acts under the soundboard, where it is installed.

So if the heater rod is not warm it is not dehumidifying

and if itis the small heater rod on the top of the humidifier part where there is a tank <with water) that is hot that mean it is humidifying.

As there is no switch to stop the system if the hygrostat is defective I believe it cannot go on reverse, but it can stay stuck in one position

If you have yet 42-45% moisture at last Under the soundboard and the system is constantly humidifying, the humidistat is wrong (it happened to me)

It is better to unplug it and wait for the system to be checked, if your tech is used to DC installations.

Then what you want to check is the humidity level under the soundboard, not in the room. As you seem to have an adequate hygrometer that should not be too dificult.


Edited by Olek (10/28/13 11:25 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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#2173151 - 10/28/13 11:44 AM Re: Even with Damp-Chaser my piano's humidity is high [Re: bkw58]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7456
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Where you've placed your hygrometer is measuring more room RH, and less piano. Marty is correct. The DC system creates ideal RH in the piano.


Under the piano would be more accurate, it would be perfect if the 45%was guaranteed in the cavity, but I suspect it happens under the soundboard, for the most, and of course the top of the panel may finally benefit of that.

I'd be curious to see higrometry numbers measured at the same moment under the soundboard and in the piano.

Iwould be the first to witness that the system is efficient to maintain a not too large fluctuating hygrometry level under the soundboard, assuming an undercover is installed, as it have been verified by a customer and we see that tuning fluctuations are minimal.

But this may be in not too extreme conditions, and with a system having ebough power for the size of the piano.

if on a large grand one need a double tank and 3-4 heating rods, that will be easier and more efficient to use an humùidifier in the room, and a deshumidifier too if that problem is also to be treated.

I dod not want to scare potential customers, or have people avoiding installing DC if they have a moderately small instrument.

Bob, what I state, due to experience, is that the customer must know how the system works and be able to control its good function himself.

The one that was constently humidifying in a customers place (in summer) asked the tank to be filled every week.

Hopefully they realize that something was wrong as the piano went badly out of tune and keys begin to be slow, etc probably after 3-5 weeks.

Waiting 6 months for the tech to do some DC maintenance would have caused huge damage in that case (this could happen as the piano was played only during school holidays)

A similar risk exists if the DC get stuck in "drying always" position, if it does during winter for instance.
Now the heating rods are not so strong to create soundboard cracks very soon, but I guess it can happen in time.





Edited by Olek (10/28/13 11:49 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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#2173184 - 10/28/13 12:45 PM Re: Even with Damp-Chaser my piano's humidity is high [Re: Olek]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1690
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Olek
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Where you've placed your hygrometer is measuring more room RH, and less piano. Marty is correct. The DC system creates ideal RH in the piano.


Under the piano would be more accurate, it would be perfect if the 45%was guaranteed in the cavity, but I suspect it happens under the soundboard, for the most, and of course the top of the panel may finally benefit of that.

I'd be curious to see higrometry numbers measured at the same moment under the soundboard and in the piano.

Iwould be the first to witness that the system is efficient to maintain a not too large fluctuating hygrometry level under the soundboard, assuming an undercover is installed, as it have been verified by a customer and we see that tuning fluctuations are minimal.

But this may be in not too extreme conditions, and with a system having ebough power for the size of the piano.

if on a large grand one need a double tank and 3-4 heating rods, that will be easier and more efficient to use an humùidifier in the room, and a deshumidifier too if that problem is also to be treated.

I dod not want to scare potential customers, or have people avoiding installing DC if they have a moderately small instrument.

Bob, what I state, due to experience, is that the customer must know how the system works and be able to control its good function himself.

The one that was constently humidifying in a customers place (in summer) asked the tank to be filled every week.

Hopefully they realize that something was wrong as the piano went badly out of tune and keys begin to be slow, etc probably after 3-5 weeks.

Waiting 6 months for the tech to do some DC maintenance would have caused huge damage in that case (this could happen as the piano was played only during school holidays)

A similar risk exists if the DC get stuck in "drying always" position, if it does during winter for instance.
Now the heating rods are not so strong to create soundboard cracks very soon, but I guess it can happen in time.



Thanks, Isaac. Yes, there are variables, one of which is the recommended system for grands - a portion of which operates outside of the soundboard under the keybed. So, I'm not sure precisely where in-piano one should place the hygrometer to get an average RH reading for the entire instrument. Like you, I'd like to see readings both above and below soundboard, though I think we all recognize that while the initial RH created by the DCS is largely below the board (depending upon the system size/extra rod placement beneath keybed), the board itself is not a sealed environment.

As to the frequency with which the system is serviced: I agree - it's problematic. As I recall, DC recommends twice a year. What if a problem ensues between service calls? Again, I agree. The more the pianist knows about how the system works the more likely a problem will be caught and addressed sooner rather than later. But even that is no panacea.

DC has come a long way since the early days. There is always room for improvement. A comprehensive monitoring system would be a big plus. Our CH&A has auto shut down with a serious problem. It wouldn't hurt to have something akin this.

Moreover, I do not know how DC installation certification is achieved today. Years ago, when I received mine, it was by virtue of installing a large number of systems. (Meaningless, really.) Perhaps some improvement has already been effect here.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician

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#2173291 - 10/28/13 04:48 PM Re: Even with Damp-Chaser my piano's humidity is high [Re: Chopinlover49]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1308
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Chopinlover49
I have a Damp-Chaser system in my piano (installed before I bought the piano) and I keep an electronic humidity/temp device on the piano to keep track of daily average temperature and humidity. For quite some time the humidity has stayed in the 60%s even though the dehumidifier bar is plugged in. In fact, it seems like I am filling up the water reservoir about every two or three weeks. I would think the opposite would be occurring. Does my 7 foot Mason-Hamlin need two heating bars? Is the system not working correctly? Do I have the humidity device in the wrong place? (It is sitting on the top of the shelf next to the music stand.) Maybe someone can explain how all this works so that I will be sure I am doing everything correctly? I was under the impression that I should try to keep the piano at about 40-45% humidity. The piano is in a closed bedroom with blinds closed except when I am playing. House is heated/air conditioned by a heat pump and room temp does not vary much from 70-73 degrees.


Two possible problems come to mind that should at least be ruled out:

1) the humidifier and dehumidifer portions of the system are plugged in to the wrong outlets on the humidistat. (Don't laugh, I did that once.)

2) Your device isn't reliable. Short way to determine is simply if you didn't spend $85-$130, the readings don't mean very much. You need a device like HVAC installers use. Saving money on a humidity reading device is simply paying less money for something that doesn't really work. Having the reading stay the same for days on end is a bad sign . . .

Maybe neither of these conditions prevails, but it is important to rule them out.

The other comments have been on target.
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2173298 - 10/28/13 05:12 PM Re: Even with Damp-Chaser my piano's humidity is high [Re: kpembrook]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7456
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: kpembrook

1) the humidifier and dehumidifer portions of the system are plugged in to the wrong outlets on the humidistat. (Don't laugh, I did that once.)

2) Your device isn't reliable. Short way to determine is simply if you didn't spend $85-$130, the readings don't mean very much. You need a device like HVAC installers use. Saving money on a humidity reading device is simply paying less money for something that doesn't really work. Having the reading stay the same for days on end is a bad sign . . .

Maybe neither of these conditions prevails, but it is important to rule them out.

The other comments have been on target.


I do not see how you did invert the outputs, as the plugs are inverted it is not possible to mount the humidifier on the deshumidifier output .

may be only since a certain year.

you do not need the highest price hygrometer, just to see at 5-% +- even the 30 USD models are OK and it is very easy to verify an hygrometer. in a sealed bag with a glass of water saturated with kitchen salt , at 20c° the reading is 73% if memory serves, after one hour to be sure

other salts can be used and give another result (verify the 73% I am not sure of the number)

The sites about meteorology as a hobby gives good tips about hygrometers, how to choose one etc.

now the ones that log/collect data are a little more costly (about 80 USD there are yet some)



Edited by Olek (10/28/13 05:23 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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#2173437 - 10/28/13 09:47 PM Re: Even with Damp-Chaser my piano's humidity is high [Re: Chopinlover49]
BenP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/12
Posts: 166
Loc: South Jersey
Chopinlover:

As to your concern about the humidifier tank running out of water - that is normal, even in a humid climate. The system cycles constantly once it achieves the target RH inside the piano. Most fluctuations at that point are within +/- 5% RH change and are simply the result of the system constantly correcting in one direction or the other.

I'd be willing to bet that if you put even your inexpensive hygrometer underneath the piano (near the Dampp-Chaser humidistat) that it would read closer to the 45% target RH.

If you still have concerns, you should by all means contact the technician that installed the system. As several have already pointed out, mistakes do happen. And less common but still possible is a faulty DC component. But your description does not immediately sound like an installation or component error necessarily. The fact that the piano has stayed well in tune is a good sign.

EDIT: a 7' grand should always have at least two heating bars, as far as I'm aware according to Dampp-Chaser's guidelines. If yours does not, it may be worth asking your technician about that.


Edited by BenP (10/28/13 09:50 PM)
_________________________
Ben Patterson
Part-time Piano Tech
Rural South Jersey

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#2173598 - 10/29/13 08:33 AM Re: Even with Damp-Chaser my piano's humidity is high [Re: Chopinlover49]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 635
Loc: NY and NC
Thanks to all of you for your help. I can't contact the technician who installed the system as I bought the piano used in Philadelphia and have no idea who did the work, but it may be that I am worrying about nothing. I will ask some of these questions to the tech who is coming out soon, but since the piano is doing well, I probably have no big problems. I guess I just need some instructions from someone who understands the systems better than I do.
_________________________
2004 Mason-Hamlin polished ebony BB.
Working on jazz standards and Chopin nocturnes, preludes, and mazurkas (the easier ones.)

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