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#2058857 - 04/03/13 06:18 PM Are piano humidifiers worth it?  
Joined: Mar 2013
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ElleC Offline
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ElleC  Offline
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NJ, USA
I just purchased a brand new yamaha u1 and I want to do everything I can to take care of it properly. This is my first time owning an acoustic piano so I would like your opinion on humidifiers. I was reading up on dampp chaser? What's your opinion on this? And is it even worth getting a humidifier if I only have an upright?

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#2058865 - 04/03/13 06:25 PM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: ElleC]  
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shaolin95 Offline
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I had a humidifier with my previous '77 Hamilton upright and with my current piano too. If you have a humidity under 40 all I have read is that you can help your piano life and tuning by having one..plus your own health will be improved so is a win win situation.
I have evaporative humidifiers made by Essick and like them very much.


*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

*Young Chang Y150 (Del F design) (gone)
#2058870 - 04/03/13 06:35 PM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: ElleC]  
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pianoloverus Offline
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While there is some debate on using a whole room humidifier/dehumidifier vs. damp chaser(with probable positives and negatives for each set up), I don't think there is much debate that controlling the humidity is good for the piano health and for the piano's tuning stability.

#2058883 - 04/03/13 07:28 PM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: ElleC]  
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Originally Posted by ElleC
I just purchased a brand new yamaha u1 and I want to do everything I can to take care of it properly. This is my first time owning an acoustic piano so I would like your opinion on humidifiers. I was reading up on dampp chaser? What's your opinion on this? And is it even worth getting a humidifier if I only have an upright?


The U1 is a nice and rather expensive piano, so it's good that you want to take care of it! I've heard even some dealerships bash Dampp-Chaser; they say "But it only humidifies the underside of the soundboard". It's silly. I wholeheartedly endorse Dampp-Chaser products. They are silent, low maintenance, and significantly increase tuning longevity. While they are expensive up front, you will save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in tuning expenses over the life of the piano by installing one.

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#2058895 - 04/03/13 08:21 PM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: ElleC]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Minnesota Marty  Offline

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I am also a proponent of the D-C systems and have them in all of my pianos. However, the best situation is regulation of the RH throughout the home environment, and not just rely on the D-C. People, furnishings, and pianos, all do best in a RH controled environment. The HVAC takes care of the gross environment and the D-C assists with the mini-climate affecting the piano.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2058897 - 04/03/13 08:31 PM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: ElleC]  
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JohnSprung Offline
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Start by spending about $ 20 - 30 for a digital hygrometer, and watch for a while to see how the humidity varies where you are. They usually have a minimum and maximum memory. 40 - 45% is ideal. The wider your variation, the more you need to control humidity. If, for instance, you find that your range is 40 - 90, you only need the de-humidification part of it, which will save you a lot. Also, watch how well your piano stays in tune. My tuner talked me out of getting one, since my Knabe seems to handle the variation without going sour.


-- J.S.

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#2058904 - 04/03/13 08:50 PM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: ElleC]  
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terminaldegree Offline
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I agree with much of what has been said - monitor your humidity indoors; if it fluctuates more than (roughly) 30% annually, it's going make a noticeable difference in tuning stability. Extremely low (<30%), extremely high (>70%), and higher annual fluctuations can damage and prematurely age the piano. At that point, you should consider the cost, convenience, benefits, and maintenance required of in-house vs. in-piano humidity control.

In my current home, an in-wall a/c in summer and a console humidifier in winter can maintain an annual RH of 35-65% here in the brutal upper Midwest. (Without this, it would be in the range of 20-70%). In order to even things out for the piano even more than the 30% annual swing, I have a Dampp Chaser on my piano and keep it completely closed when not in use. It seems to help, as the technician who works on my piano spends most of his time doing fine-tuning instead of pitch raises.

Almost any humidity control solution requires some maintenance on the part of the home/piano owner. I have friends who don't bother to refill their DC tanks when it calls for water, never change the pads when they're crusty and ineffective, and unplug the units and forget to plug 'em back in. For users like this, their $300-500 would have been better spent hiring a technician to tune more frequently...


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
#2058905 - 04/03/13 08:53 PM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: ElleC]  
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kpembrook Offline
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Michigan
Good responses already.

I have had the opportunity to observe their use/non-use for decades. They definitely work.

When I was a Baldwin dealer back in the '70s-'80s, I wouldn't sell a new piano without one. I knew it was good for the customer and it was also good for me -- because I was going to be the one servicing the instrument. If a customer wanted to save money and get the piano without the system, I wouldn't do it -- even if it meant I lost the sale. (I must have been doing something right, though, because I received a national sales award for being top-producing dealership in my size category).

Of course, I didn't make a sale every time. People would buy from the "big city" an hour away. What this presented me with was a direct A/B comparison of the same models of the same age in the same climate in generally the same kinds of houses because whatever the source, I was the one that wound up servicing the instrument. There was a clear difference between those with and without the systems.

Since then, the systems have been improved and in my experience the results are even better.


Keith Akins, RPT
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#2059175 - 04/04/13 09:52 AM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: ElleC]  
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backto_study_piano Offline
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I've had a couple of U1s (one in my Church and one in the school where I worked), and despite it being in a city with quite great variations in humidity (more often very high), they just kept on going with no problems caused by either extreme. They were both 1980s purchases, and made in Japan.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-15)).
#2059367 - 04/04/13 03:17 PM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: ElleC]  
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ElleC Offline
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NJ, USA
thanks for all the responses. looks like we have a mixed bag of opinions. i guess I'll try to use a digital hygrometer first to see how much the humidity fluctuates in the room i'm placing my piano in. and maybe invest on a dampp-chaser later.

backtostudy....good to know that the U1 holds up well! supposedly, this particular U1 i'm getting is also manufactured in japan.


Adult beginner since January 2013. My only regret is that I didn't learn sooner.
#2059536 - 04/05/13 12:52 AM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: ElleC]  
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pianokeys135 Offline
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Greater NYC Area
I can tell you one thing - adding water to a room humidifier every day is a real pain! (not to mention the weekly cleaning of the unit) I'm trying to find a way to link it to my water line...still no luck! (I have radiator heat, not a forced air system) Trying to control the room humidity and temp. is perhaps not the most practical solution, but that's what I'm hoping to be able to do when I get my next piano...


pianokeys135
amateur piano player
#2059539 - 04/05/13 12:55 AM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: ElleC]  
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shaolin95 Offline
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get a bigger unit that is evaporative and use water additives and you minimize the work wink

If you get a warm mist one then those need to be cleaned a lot but that is why I prefer the evaporative type like Essick MA1201

Last edited by shaolin95; 04/05/13 09:14 AM.

*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

*Young Chang Y150 (Del F design) (gone)
#2059691 - 04/05/13 09:07 AM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: pianokeys135]  
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pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted by pianokeys135
I can tell you one thing - adding water to a room humidifier every day is a real pain! (not to mention the weekly cleaning of the unit) I'm trying to find a way to link it to my water line...still no luck! (I have radiator heat, not a forced air system) Trying to control the room humidity and temp. is perhaps not the most practical solution, but that's what I'm hoping to be able to do when I get my next piano...
It takes about a minute to add water, and I only have to clean my unit once a year.

#2059693 - 04/05/13 09:09 AM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: ElleC]  
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pianokeys135 Offline
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pianoloverus - what kind of humidifier unit do you have?

I've heard that it can actually be bad for your health to not clean a humidifier enough because of mold or bacteria or fungus or something.


pianokeys135
amateur piano player
#2059698 - 04/05/13 09:19 AM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: ElleC]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Minnesota Marty  Offline

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Joined: May 2012
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Rochester MN
General information about room humidifiers:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/humidifiers/HQ00076

The second page has detailed information about cleaning.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2059704 - 04/05/13 09:23 AM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: pianokeys135]  
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pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted by pianokeys135
pianoloverus - what kind of humidifier unit do you have?

I've heard that it can actually be bad for your health to not clean a humidifier enough because of mold or bacteria or fungus or something.
I have one of these:
http://www.bizrate.com/humidifiers/4110724030.html

MY guess is that very few people really clean their humidifiers frequently. I don't know about negative health consequences but personally I have not experienced any.

#2059707 - 04/05/13 09:29 AM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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shaolin95 Offline
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shaolin95  Offline
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by pianokeys135
pianoloverus - what kind of humidifier unit do you have?

I've heard that it can actually be bad for your health to not clean a humidifier enough because of mold or bacteria or fungus or something.
I have one of these:
http://www.bizrate.com/humidifiers/4110724030.html

MY guess is that very few people really clean their humidifiers frequently. I don't know about negative health consequences but personally I have not experienced any.


Awesome, we have the very same one! smile
I have the smaller 0800 model for my bedroom.
That one is great because it is not warm mist so it does not create all that carp build up like the other units. Also, I add two additives to keep it even cleaner. Cleaning that one is fast too if you feel like but its a great unit IMHO.


*Young Chang Y185 6'-1"

*Baldwin Hamilton Studio '67 (gone)

*Young Chang Y150 (Del F design) (gone)
#2059775 - 04/05/13 11:24 AM Re: Are piano humidifiers worth it? [Re: ElleC]  
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Pianolance Offline
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Nashville, TN
In my experience they make a major difference in tuning stability in an environment that is not piano friendly. On the other hand, I don't have one on my home piano and it seems to hold its tuning pretty well. My home isn't as extreme as far as temp and humidity changes as the churches where I play pianos. Churches typically don't have consistent temperature control when the sanctuary isn't full of people. Very bad for pianos.


Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.

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