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Humidifying during the furnace "season"...

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Jared Purdy, Nov 22, 2020 at 9:06 AM.

  1. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

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    Last spring I bought two humidifiers for my house. The main thrust was for health benefits, but I also wanted to see how they would affect my guitars. Up to that point, I was keeping the guitars in their respective cases, with a case humidifier when not in use. When spring rolled around and the furnace was turned off, the guitars came out of their cases, and were placed on stands where they currently remain.

    Fast forward to this fall, and I've had the humidifiers on now for a little over a month. The temperature out side hasn't been crazy cold yet, so the humidifiers are managing to keep the relative humidity on the main floor at about 45%, and in the family room at about the same. As a result, I've been able to leave both of my electric guitars and my acoustic on their stands.

    At what humidity drop would you put the guitars back in their cases?
     
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  2. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    You might consider a smaller room to maintain humidity just for your guitars. In the dead of winter, 40% feels absolutely wet and tropical in a normal living area. Too clammy for comfort. You'll also risk condensation or frost on your windows.

    For electrics, not such a big deal, but for acoustics 32% is my minimum. That scares a lot of people but I've been doing it for decades and have some high end stuff that prove to me it is a reasonable limit. In fact, I have never gone over 40%.

    I don't think putting guitars back in their cases is a guaranteed hedge against dryness either. You can drop in a sponge, but there is no circulation is a tight fitting case. I know it is a method that also works, but just not one that I have felt necessary. YMMV.

    I have a room that is isolated from HVAC with a steel exterior weather-striped door. I use a small electric heater with pickle jars full of water sitting on top. Been working fine. When I need a boost, a damp towel thrown over a stool adds all I ever need in Minneapolis. Take a shower, let the towel dry in your guitar room.
     
  3. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

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    A small room for keeping them in is a bit of an inconvenience for me as that would constitute using one of the two spare bedrooms, neither of which is a desirable place to play the guitar. I'm fortunate in being able to leave one of the electrics with an amp and my acoustic on the main floor, which is a very nice place to play, and the other electric with an amp in the family room in the basement, also a fairly nice place to play. I'll have to keep an eye on the humidity and the condensation in the house. I believe I bought both of them in March this year and the furnace was still in full swing. I don't recall there being any condensation.
     
  4. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    My first house was built in the 40's with single pane glass. Absolute condensation with high humidity. Your area will demand better windows and may not be an issue with a relatively new home. Still, there's the clamminess. It's a personal thing. Maybe build a sealed closet, or back into the cases they go.
     
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  5. t-ray

    t-ray Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    I have been somewhat careless in the past about humidity, especially when I was renting an apartment in NYC. Hard to keep humidity in winter with leaky windows. But I never really had any issues with my guitars - several of which I keep out on stands - even my nice Taylor. Now full time in Vermont, I got a decent humidifier that keeps me between 40% and 50%, which I think is OK.
     
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  6. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    I am a little bit wary of this part of your reply. Glass jars, water, and an electric heater don't sound like the safest combination!
     
  7. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's and oil-filled heater. I'm the only occupant. Fuses and circuit breakers are there for a reason. But yeah, I get ya.
     
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  8. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    Definitely OK. I read the Gibson factory is at 45%. To be fair, we're wondering about the minimum end of the scale.
     
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  9. g-Paul

    g-Paul Tele-Holic

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    I'm in Toronto too - we have some big swings in humidity, so I keep all my acoustics in their cases with humidipaks year-round. I worry less about the electrics, but I don't have anything hollow-body or fancy - just solid-body bolt-on necks. I usually have a couple sitting out where I can grab them.
     
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  10. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

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    My house is over 100 years, but it has had a lot of renovations, including double glass casement windows throughout. It's got a new, high efficiency furnace with a built in humidifier, but I think the humidifier, which came from the old furnace, is not living up to its task. I have the dial set to max, which I think is 40%. Last winter before I got the humidifiers, the hygrometers that I have scattered around the house read 25%!!! It's about 0C today, snow is falling, furnace is on, hygrometer in the main floor reads 49% and the one in the family room (close to where the furnace is) reads 43%. No condensation on the windows, no clammy feeling.
     
  11. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I always keep my guitars in cases; it's safer that way.

    I always keep humidifiers in my acoustic guitar cases; it's safer that way.
     
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  12. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    The last that I knew , CF Martin maintains 38% .
     
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  13. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

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    In the early years of an acoustic I want it to dry a bit, that's why older guitars sound so good. So i wouldn't worry too much if your guitar is less than say 10 years old (no exact science here). I leave them hanging on the wall regardless of the weather. I'm not a fan of the case humidifiers as my Alvarez, which I babied for years, keeping it in the case with a well monitored humidifier, as it aged it went flat sounding, less resonant over time. Could be just the nature of the wood but over humidifying can be an issue as well.
     
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  14. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Wood heat only for our house. Upstairs in the studio it doesn't get below 35%. Downstairs can get down to 30% mid winter. When the cold dry stuff happens in January/February, any acoustics downstairs go back up and my best acoustic in a case. My MIM tele is the only one that had an issue with fret sprout, but it came that way. My acoustics don't seem bothered, but I am always checking the tops and bottoms throughout the winters. The wife's basses and guitars are the same. I suspect I am pushing the limits, but seems to work.
     
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  15. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

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    It became a bit of a concern for me last year when I noticed the frets on my 2011 Custom Shop Strat protruding. I use to leave it out all the time, but that was before I got the two floor humidifiers. I put it in the case with two home made case humidifiers, left it there for two weeks. When I took it out gain, problem solved. I've been conscientious about that since.
     
  16. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    1 or 2 Steam (not cool mist) humidifiers in the house - depending on time of year.

    two of these
    5DB796F6-8109-49BD-8092-7E2606ED82E4.jpeg
    in each acoustic’s sound hole - I wedge one between the B and E strings and One between the E and A strings. covers most of the sound hole.


    Electrics ? Nope. Don’t do anything.

    sometimes if the telecaster seems like it needs a drink of water I’ll toss it out in the backyard in the snow for a couple days. It’s usually still in tune when I bring it back in the house…
     
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  17. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Holic

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    Just my way of looking at it, but if you have valuable acoustic guitars, the safest option is to keep them in their cases, with humidifiers.
     
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  18. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

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    When the acoustic is in the case, I use an Oasis in the sound hole, and one in the headstock pocket of the case. They work well. However, I've never left a hygrometer in the case to measure RH.
     
  19. fjblair

    fjblair Tele-Meister

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    I don't worry about electrics at all. I pat attention to acoustics but it's really only the new ones that I am concerned about. Old guitars just don't move as much ime. I don't normally have to humidify anything.
     
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  20. raysachs

    raysachs Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I don't worry about my electrics with low humidity. I've never had anything worse than fret sprout happen and that's pretty easily remedied the first time it happens. I don't like to expose my acoustic to humidity below about 43-44% for prolonged periods. I used to keep it in it's case with humidipaks when I wasn't playing it in those periods of really dry indoor air. But since I only have one nice acoustic to worry about, I broke down last Spring and got a wall cabinet that I stick humidipaks in the bottom of and it keeps the air inside it between 48-52 pretty much always unless it's just crazy humid and then I have t throw some desiccants in to keep the humidity down. Most folks recommend guitars be kept between 45-55% and that's about right, but a few percent below 40-45% is probably OK. I like 'em on the dryer side - as they approach 60%, any wooden acoustic I've had starts getting that sock-drawer sound. Here's my cabinet - it's right where I used to have a wall hook for it and right by my playing area...

    [​IMG]unnamed-1 by Ray, on Flickr

    -Ray
     
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