The furnace and putting the guitars in their cases with humidifiers...

Jared Purdy

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Greetings,

At what humidity level, after you start using the furnace again, do you put your electrics and acoustics back in their cases with case humidifiers? We just started using the furnace again, and the hygrometer on the main floor (where the guitars are) reads 50%. It's getting very close.

Cheers. JP
 

bottlenecker

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I saw 38% today, and turned on the whole house humidifier. Yesterday was 45%. When the recording space has trouble staying above 40 at a reasonable humidifier setting, they go back in cases. Probably in late December or January. I've seen recommendations of 45-55, but I've also read the Martin factory is 40-50. So I assume 40-55 is ok. My 30s Gibson seemed to sound a little dead after time with a case humidifier, so I'm going to try to keep it close to 40 without humidifying the case.
 

Obsessed

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Oddly in our wood heated house, the upstairs stays at about 43-45% humidity year round. Downstairs starts to dip to the low 30% in February even with a pot of water on the stove all of the time and that is when I’ll keep any acoustics upstairs.
 

telemnemonics

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My acoustics never go the case humidifier but I run a gallon a day humidifier plus easily that much again with more than 50 potted plants in the three 6x6’ South facing sliders. Never use a hygrometer but it’s pretty obvious when the air feels dry to breathe.
Humidifying the whole house keeps humans more healthy and less likely to catch colds from dry cracked nasal passages etc.
 

Boreas

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Greetings,

At what humidity level, after you start using the furnace again, do you put your electrics and acoustics back in their cases with case humidifiers? We just started using the furnace again, and the hygrometer on the main floor (where the guitars are) reads 50%. It's getting very close.

Cheers. JP

Why wait?

I would simply buy a whole-house or at least a large room humidifier.
 

JL_LI

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My basement is less dry than the rest of the house. I rotate my guitars and keep the ones I’m not playing every day in cases in the basement. I have a new furnace that will not be running as much so the house should be a little less dry this winter. I’ve never had problems with my guitars drying out, even the acoustics. I’ll be curious to see if the truss rod adjustment is more stable. That’s the best humidity indicator I have.
 
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Recce

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For my acoustic probably want to humidify it in the high to mid thirties. It actually sounds best in the low forties of humidification.

My elactrics are blocks of wood and it just affects the necks. Of course they sit in the same humidified room as the acoustic.
 

Jared Purdy

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Why wait?

I would simply buy a whole-house or at least a large room humidifier.

I have two. A Venta which I use on the main floor, and I forget the other make, which is in the basement.

I like the Venta the best as it doesn't require a filter and it's quiet. The other one looks like a pedestal, requires a frequently replaced filter and is supposed to do a large area. There is also one hooked up to the furnace, but I don't find it does a very good job, hence the use of two separate units. Even with all of that going, the humidity frequently drops below 40%.

I generally put things in the cases when the humidity hits 45%.
 

Wallaby

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I start with the case humidifiers when I notice my own dry skin.

My acoustics live in their cases year round anyway. My electrics rotate in and out of theirs, and I don't humidify them. I just pay attention their relief changing and make adjustments if needed when it's their turn on the stand by my couch.
 

Tommy Biggs

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When my desktop weather monitor (not high end) goes below 40% without the humidifier running. Usually just after halloween.

In the winter I run a humidifier that keeps things around 40 when it's running - but I don't run it when I'm out of the house or overnight, and it dips into the mid 30% range and lower in the dead of winter.

I leave my beater acoustic out all the time though, it's 25+ years old. My solid bodies are always out.
 

sloppychops

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This thread got me to finally commit to a good quality humidifier. I have a couple of small ones I bought years ago, but they get all chalky inside from mineral deposits and the fan blades become coated in muck. I just ordered a Venta sized for a 600sf room. I hope it works, because it gets uncomfortably dry in my space.
 

Boreas

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I have two. A Venta which I use on the main floor, and I forget the other make, which is in the basement.

I like the Venta the best as it doesn't require a filter and it's quiet. The other one looks like a pedestal, requires a frequently replaced filter and is supposed to do a large area. There is also one hooked up to the furnace, but I don't find it does a very good job, hence the use of two separate units. Even with all of that going, the humidity frequently drops below 40%.

I generally put things in the cases when the humidity hits 45%.

That's playing it safe - especially if you have wide ranges or sudden drops in humidity.

One question - what are you using as a hygrometer? I also live in the cold north, but don't have that much trouble using a single, large, console-type humidifier. I am wondering if your hygrometer needs to be calibrated. They can be notoriously inaccurate. Do you keep your furnace thermostat pretty high?

I don't bother with the humidity packs inside the cases because the humidity simply doesn't go below 45% where I store my guitars (living room). Two things can damage guitars - one is absolute moisture loss and the other is rapid moisture changes. A guitar kept in a good case would rarely go through rapid changes. I do have a couple vintage acoustics that are vulnerable and have not had a problem. If they were $35k instruments, I would likely add the insurance of a humi-pack.

But beware what you use for a humidity source in a case. If you take a dry guitar and throw in a sopping-wet sponge, it will hydrate significantly and fairly quickly. But the wood does not hydrate evenly, which can lead to cracks/warps. If you let that sponge (and guitar) dry out you are basically running the instrument through extremes which is not good either. Try to change moisture content slowly and not dramatically.
 

Boreas

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This thread got me to finally commit to a good quality humidifier. I have a couple of small ones I bought years ago, but they get all chalky inside from mineral deposits and the fan blades become coated in muck. I just ordered a Venta sized for a 600sf room. I hope it works, because it gets uncomfortably dry in my space.

With my hard water I usually have to change my wicks (not really filters) twice each winter because the more deposits on the wicks, the less efficiency of the unit. I use something like this for my entire downstairs (small house).
 

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Jared Purdy

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This thread got me to finally commit to a good quality humidifier. I have a couple of small ones I bought years ago, but they get all chalky inside from mineral deposits and the fan blades become coated in muck. I just ordered a Venta sized for a 600sf room. I hope it works, because it gets uncomfortably dry in my space.

Check out Venta if you want high quality, low maintenance. Made in Germany. They aren't cheap, but they're ahead of the pack. I have the LW45 for the main floor, where I keep the guitars when the furnace isn't on. It's a semi detached house, open concept, so it's not palatial. Home Depot carries them.
 

telemnemonics

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I have two. A Venta which I use on the main floor, and I forget the other make, which is in the basement.

I like the Venta the best as it doesn't require a filter and it's quiet. The other one looks like a pedestal, requires a frequently replaced filter and is supposed to do a large area. There is also one hooked up to the furnace, but I don't find it does a very good job, hence the use of two separate units. Even with all of that going, the humidity frequently drops below 40%.

I generally put things in the cases when the humidity hits 45%.

Wow, that's a lot of humidifier for a poor performance!
Two stand alones and one hooked to the furnace?
Maybe me wonder if something else it at play?
I've used to quiet ones, electrostatic or whatever the tech is, and stopped because reasons I forgot.
One I think I recall a damp spot near them while the whole area gets less spread?
The filter types do require generally three filters per season but just seem to work year after year, and I turn the fan to low during the day and high at night when my wife prefers a white noise for sleeping.
I've also use the big maybe ten gallon drum types which have a slightly quieter fan and a plastic filter that's like a 3m pad and can be cleaned rather than tossed. Maintenance is a job but that's life AFAIK and I've run every kind of humidifier.
Working in cabinet shops too, one I was the lucky guy who filled the two big drum types, and of course added the dash of bleach to prevent mold growth.

I find it funny as a woodworker trained to care about wood used in tables and cabinets, to read guitar players dismissing the need to maintain proper humidity for solid body guitars!
Seems like one of those barroom idealizations like I'm such a badass I can fall down the stairs without spilling my beer!

As far as the one hooked to your furnace, maybe that needs servicing?
I think forced hot air may be worse that steam or forced hot water for drying house air, and those are usually the units associated with furnace humidifier systems.
Could just be that unit isn't working properly?
The only way you'd know is if the hygrometer says it's still too dry, which you say is the case.
Or maybe the furnace humidifier is just a little smaller capacity than the size of the house which must be a good 1500-2000sf for all the water it seems to eat without getting up to a good number?
 




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