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Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Mikeylefty, Sep 12, 2021.
"I put a humidifier and a dehumidifier in the same room and let them fight it out."
-- Steven Wright
I find that I have to run a humidifier in the shop for the majority of the year.
The central A/C drops the humidity down around 20% and the forced hot air heat
in the winter can get the humidity down to near 15%. I only get to shut them off
about 10 weeks a year in the spring and fall. I had a unit installed right in the duct work.
I do monitor the shop's relative humidity though. Relative humidity? Wasn't there a
WVA joke about that?
I dont think you can buy either of those things in the UK . Only time I've ever rented one was when the house flooded.
Seriously? I would think dehumidifiers would be extremely popular in that climate.
I'll respectfully disagree, based on my experience.
I have an acoustic nylon that belonged to my mother, and is about 60 yo. Never saw a case. Always sat in my living room, in a stand, going through all changes of weather in Rio de Janeiro, a city in the coast w/ high humidity as pointed. My steel strings also never had a problem. All my other guitars hang from the wall (3) or are in simple gigbags where they don't remain for long (3). I rotate my playing guitars a lot.
In 30+ years of playing and working on them, I've never had an issue w/ high humidity. Now, TEMPERATURE fluctuations will indeed give you trouble, or humidity fluctuations too broad (like going from 80 to 30% and back).
Constant humidity in the 70~90% range never gave me trouble. Bridges never came off, necks had no issues w/ relief, frets, anything... nothing came undone or unglued in decades and dozens of guitars I've had over the years. I DO have to tune the guitars often, but thats really a given w/ guitars, isn't it? I notice my guitars w/ finished necks hold tuning better; the finish is actually waterproof, so there no exchange in humidity w/ the environment.
I know some people are finicky about humidity, and many luthiers consider it a problem, but, IMHO, it's never been. At least to me and my guitars. I have (and had) way more electrics than acoustics, but all of them were fine. Maybe if you have some really high end acoustic, and you want to preserve it very well, then ok. But my acoustic, as I said, has passed one generation, is about 60yo, never was stored, and plays like a dream. All my friends love to play it.
But, by all means, do as you see fit w/ your instruments. More power to you. My 2c are given, take it or leave it on floor. No hard feelings.
I grew up in Virginia. Swampy in the Summer, dried out in the Winter (mostly due to the heater, though). Most of that time, my guitars were in different basements... Always the wettest part of the house in the Summers. So, I had to run a dehumidifier, just to keep most things from growing mold. It was always a battle to keep the humidity under 55%. In the Winter, when the heater dried the house out, we'd run humidifiers as well.
Of course, when i was young, I didn't worry about it. left my guitars out all the time.... They held up fine back then. But, I also didn't have a couple of nice acoustics to worry about. It used to be all junkers for the most part. LOL
I've moved to Southern California now. I'm close to the edge of the desert. So, I am building a cabinet to help keep my guitars stable. I'll be running a humidifier with an RH controller. For the most part, my electrics are fine, but I worry about a couple of my acoustics. I don't want them to get too dry these days.
Big swings are where real damage happens, though. 75% in the Summer and 15% in the Winter is how cracks, warps, twists, humps, sharp fret edges, etc all happen. Stable temps and humdities keep wood (more) stable, too.
Perfect example of this. I just got back from visiting my parents on the east coast. It’s wet there, always high humidity. As soon as I got off the plane my shin felt wet. Every person I went to visit their house felt wet. All my dads guitars to me were unplayable.
He says he constantly has to adjust the truss rod on his 2 basses. They have a dehumidifier. I set it up and it ran for hours, filled the tank daily type deal. The next day I walking into my parents place and it felt comfortable, not damp and wet. That’s the whole point of A/C or humidifier/dehumidifiers. Just makes dry/damp places a lot more comfortable.
Hey no hard feelings!! You may very well be in the perfect climate. All I can say for me moving to the east coast to dry desert like Alberta there’s a huge difference in humidity. It is no joke and WILL effect wooden instruments of all kinds.
If we don't run the air conditioning in the summer months, my acoustic guitar definitely gets...tubby sounding and difficult to play. No doubt about it. (Northeast corridor USA). Too much humidity. Run the air, and things dry out a little bit, the guitar sounds and plays better. My experience.
Even my newest electric guitar gets a little temperamental (action gets a little higher).
After a few years of seasonal changes, my other guitars don't seem to be bothered either way with humidity fluctuations.
I will say that too dry concerns me more than too humid.
Totally agree, but that's due to CHANGES rather than humidity itself. If humidity is relatively constant, high humidity is not a problem.
Of course you need to expose the guitar to the air, play it, let sun shine on it, let fresh air into the room etc. That's why mine hang from the wall and are rotated w/the ones in gigbags. If you keep them in a dark, damp, 99% humidity basement, inside a case, it will creat problems, mostly mold. That's pretty obvious.
I'm not saying it is OK to store your guitars in such environment. Just that high humidity is not a problem per se. If it were, all guitars in tropical/coastal cities like Rio would be trash in short time, and that's not the case according to my 45 years of living here, and talking to many local luthiers. Heck, some friends have Fenders from the 90's and 80's that have never been serviced, and are perfect. Play like butter. If high humidity destroys guitars, logic would dictate that such thing wouldn't be possible here.
As for the climate here, far from perfect. It sucks. We have a summer that lasts 4~5 months and temps like the hottest corner of hell. Even then, no problems related to temperature, either in guitars, furniture, wooden houses, etc. Only problem is mold, in non ventilated/no sunshine areas. From my expericne, sometimes I think we babysit our guitars too much. But then again, if that makes you happy and serene, more power to you.
Abolutely. Air conditioning from time to time certainly helps. And low humidity is NO DOUBT a bigger concern than high humidity.
There are times that a sump pump would be more handy...
Dehumidifiers work well when it's humid or damp. We just have wet or very wet.
Hmmm... when I was in the Northeast, that went along with humid.
Send me an airline ticket. I need to come over there and check this out for myself. I don't need a five-star hotel... a four-star is fine.
clearwater florida area, we get high humidity 11 months of the year.
i have gauges in most rooms to monitor and the constant a/c removes humidity so my super sealed but only sorta ok insulated place stays at 45 - 55% humidity normally.
during dry spells in winter my 2 acoustics become more alive.
the real danger is fast changes in humidity or extended times at one end of the spectrum.
during our 1 month of winter and lowered humidity levels inside i will leave the bath door open when i shower to add some moisture to the house cuz i'm crazy like that.
my old house used to struggle to reach 30% even in summer, this house has been more like 50% during summer. The basement is 65% at 68 degrees. A dehumidifier would both lower the RH and bring up the temperature which would make it more comfortable to me as I don't like being cold. My guitars have been down there for just over 2 weeks now and I've already had to tweak truss rods.
I'm not even sure if we're going to need a humidifier in the upstairs but we'll see. It'll be my first winter with forced hot air, which I had heard was second only to a wood stove for being dry AF.
Forced air will definitely dry out your guitars, sinuses, tear ducts, lips, skin, furniture, etc.
Oh, and the static electricity.... it's like your fingertips are lightning rods.
Maybe the desert is dryer.... maybe.
I pull moisture out the air all humid summer long, only to put it back all dry winter. Canada can be a pain, lol....
Yup, same here.
My brother's in St. Albert. Now THAT is cold, LOL