New whole house humidifier

Posted by: malkin

New whole house humidifier - 12/06/12 08:33 PM

How much time do you reckon it will take my piano to get used to the new humidity in our house?

Upright, already has a Dampp Chaser, and was ready for a date with the tuner even before we had the humidifier installed earlier this week. We're located in dry dry dry year 'round Utah.
Posted by: jim ialeggio

Re: New whole house humidifier - 12/06/12 08:55 PM

Is the humidifier going to be running year round in a closed, conditioned space all the time, or does it just come on with the heat?

I ask, because it takes a while for all the hydroscopic materials in the house to either lose or gain water as the house system comes to equilibrium. If the humidifier only comes on with the heating season, the objects in the house will probably take longer to reach equilibrium, and the swing will probably be more aggressive than if the humidifier were running all the time.

SInce you don't know how effective the humidifier system is going be yet, answer the question emprically, by putting a hygrometer in the piano's space. Check it a couple of times during the morning and day. When it stops changing aggressively, you've reached equilibrium. Then you are good to go.

Jim Ialeggio
Posted by: malkin

Re: New whole house humidifier - 12/06/12 10:19 PM

The humidifier is not connected to the heat, it has its own gizmo ---otherwise in summer, it wouldn't run at all, and we'd still be dry as bone.

I wish we could make it feel like Hawaii in here, but I guess that just isn't going to happen. At least not in winter anyway. The HVAC guys told us to watch for condensation in the windows to know when we'd 'gone too far' but there's none so far, and we're set for 45%.

Hygrometer in the piano space is a good idea. Thanks!

Previously our routine has been to add water to the DC about every 2 weeks; that will probably change, right?
Posted by: Emmery

Re: New whole house humidifier - 12/06/12 10:51 PM

It also depends on the piano somewhat. Was discussing this with a colleague a few weeks back. Most pianos I run into take about 2 weeks minimum to respond to a consistant humidity change. Sometimes it takes up to a month. I presume this may be from differences in the sealants/finishes used on the wood and the wood itself. Very old pianos from the turn of the last century can take much longer. The grain structure and density of old growth wood can be highly resistant to changes and can take over a year to be fully effected. My colleague found this delayed reaction on an 18th century piano he cares for which had its DC unit turned off for a long time and it took well over a year for it to restabilize when it was turned back on.
Posted by: malkin

Re: New whole house humidifier - 12/06/12 11:24 PM

The piano is a new-ish (about 3 yo) Vogel, so probably nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary in that department.

The sound seems a little different to me already, but maybe my hearing is better because my head is not so plugged up.
Posted by: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: New whole house humidifier - 12/07/12 07:54 AM

2-4 weeks is typical.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: New whole house humidifier - 12/07/12 10:07 AM

I would suggest more than one hygrometer while you are going through the stabilization period. The electronic ones are not very expensive and available at any good hardware store or home improvement center. Use one in the piano, and the other to check the other rooms in the house. As was mentioned, the furnishings and carpets will take awhile to settle in and come to equilibrium. That could be weeks or even months.

There is no need to consider the refill rate of the D-C as being important at all. It might decrease the frequency of refill, but it really it is not conclusive. The big value of the whole house system is that you, your funiture, your decor, your plants, and even your house will be much happier with the controled environment.
Posted by: Cy Shuster, RPT

Re: New whole house humidifier - 12/07/12 11:15 AM

Dampp-Chaser's tests have shown that typical pianos go through 90% of their changes in three weeks, after a change of environment. Since you've already had a system installed in the piano, you shouldn't notice much difference at all in it with the whole-house system. But it's certainly better for your piano overall (such as the exterior veneer and the bench), as well as to avoid those painful fingertip cracks.

--Cy--
Posted by: Dave B

Re: New whole house humidifier - 12/07/12 05:52 PM

I think its best to tune at around two weeks after it's moved. If the tuning is drifting, it's best to reduce the effect asap. And when there is little or no movement, your still ok.

There are rare situations that the humidity difference is so drastic that the piano will require a follow-up tuning in a few weeks. At this point, with due diligence, closely monitor humidity and check DC systems.

I am assuming that the piano tuning was stable and regularly maintained before the move. For the new and the off pitch out of tune for years pianos, I feel it is best to have the piano tuned to pitch before it begins acclimating to an environment.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: New whole house humidifier - 12/07/12 06:34 PM

Um, Dave B - The piano was not moved. This thread is about the addition of a humidifier system for the entire house, now being used in conjunction with an existing D-C unit.
Posted by: Jonathan Alford

Re: New whole house humidifier - 12/08/12 09:10 AM

What type of humidifier did you install?
Posted by: malkin

Re: New whole house humidifier - 12/08/12 10:25 AM

Originally Posted By: Jonathan Alford
What type of humidifier did you install?


I certainly didn't install it! I didn't even research it or choose it; I only lobbied intensely for it. We needed a new heater anyway. I believe the furnace and the humidifier are both Lennox.

Thanks for the input everyone!