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Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system #2077749
05/05/13 03:58 PM
05/05/13 03:58 PM
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dynamobt Offline OP
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My piano does not have the humitity system installed in it. We decided to go the "whole house" route and put in a system hat ties into our heating unit. The advantage of that is that it is pretty much maintenance free. But, we have discovered some unexpected problems. When I keep the whole house unit set high enough to make the piano happy, we have encounted problems with our wood ceiling. Moisture gets behind the wood through the seams between the boards. When the temperature outside is hugely contasted with inside, we get condensation freezing on the underside of the roof. Then the sun hits the roof, melts the condensation and we get drips. So, this is hardly ideal. To compensate, we have the whole house unit set to a lower humidity to prevent condensation. But of course, now it's not effective for the piano!!!

So, I am considering getting a humidty system for the piano. You can see it's a 7' BB M & H. I was told initially by my piano technician that because of the size of my piano, it would need two separate systems to keep uniform humidity in the piano. Is this true?

Other question: does the system need distilled water in it? We are on a well and even with a water softening system, our water is still "hard" meaning it contains minerals.

Is the system mantained by the piano technician so that all I would need to do is fill it with water?

What is the going rate for installing a Dampp-Chaser unit in this size piano?

Thanks for reading if you have gotten through all my ramblings!


1918 Mason & Hamlin BB
1906 Mason & Hamlin Es
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Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2077778
05/05/13 05:03 PM
05/05/13 05:03 PM
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So, I am considering getting a humidty system for the piano. You can see it's a 7' BB M & H. I was told initially by my piano technician that because of the size of my piano, it would need two separate systems to keep uniform humidity in the piano. Is this true?

Yes.

Other question: does the system need distilled water in it? We are on a well and even with a water softening system, our water is still "hard" meaning it contains minerals.

Distilled water is better because it will leave less residue in the tank - the additive helps with this, though.


Is the system mantained by the piano technician so that all I would need to do is fill it with water?

Someone has to change pads - either you or your tech would do that.


What is the going rate for installing a Dampp-Chaser unit in this size piano?

Can't help on that one = Prices vary so I'd call around. I would not recommend taking the lowest price....you get what you pay for..




Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2077782
05/05/13 05:08 PM
05/05/13 05:08 PM
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Loren D Offline
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You do NOT need two separate systems for the piano. You need ONE system that has a dual humidifier.


DiGiorgi Piano Service
http://www.digiorgipiano.com
Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2077787
05/05/13 05:14 PM
05/05/13 05:14 PM
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RestorerPhil Offline
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To fill out the reply you already have...

You could use a Dampp Chaser "Piano Life Saver system", specified with the dual-tank humidifier and a dual-rod dehumidifier with a "Smart Bar." As a package, installed, you should expect the range of $700 - $800.

If you have a technician you are happy with, ask them about it.


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Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2077797
05/05/13 05:35 PM
05/05/13 05:35 PM
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dynamobt Offline OP
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Thanks for the replies. I went to the Dampp-Chaser website after posting. Many of my questions were answered. I also looked on their dealer locator list. The RPT who did a lot of the finish work on the rebuild of my piano is listed as a STAR installer as is my current piano technician. Between them, I should get any remaining questions answered.

I figure that even after spending money on the whole house unit, we are going to need to go with an "in piano" system after the troubles we had this winter with condensation. Making the piano happy will be easier than trying to vent the roof even further. And even doing that, I think we will have problems wiht condensation. There's just too much of a temperature difference in the winter for the whole house unit to be effective for the piano.


1918 Mason & Hamlin BB
1906 Mason & Hamlin Es
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Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: Loren D] #2077853
05/05/13 07:31 PM
05/05/13 07:31 PM
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Bob Offline
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Originally Posted by Loren D
You do NOT need two separate systems for the piano. You need ONE system that has a dual humidifier.


I'm pretty sure that's what he meant, Loren. When selling it, some would say a double system, or dual system, neither one meaning two HD units.




Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2077857
05/05/13 07:36 PM
05/05/13 07:36 PM
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Loren D Offline
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I just wanted to be sure, because the OP, not being a tech, phrased it as "two separate systems." Just for the sake of clarity. smile


DiGiorgi Piano Service
http://www.digiorgipiano.com
Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2077858
05/05/13 07:37 PM
05/05/13 07:37 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
Minnesota Marty Offline

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dynamobt,

As you can tell, there are so many factors which come into play and it all focuses on the structure and insulation of any given house and the permeability of the 'envelope.'

I am a believer in both humidity control for the entire structure and using a D-C system. I'm what some would call 'hygrometer happy!'

I always use distilled water and the D-C treatment. When I was using tap water, the pads needed to be changed about four times a year. Now they are changed yearly and the humidifier element doesn't gunk up at all.

The M&H-BB is a tremendous instrument. It deserves your care.



Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2077863
05/05/13 07:43 PM
05/05/13 07:43 PM
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Dave B Offline
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Check with Damp-Chaser about which is the proper system to order for your piano and your situation. I think the "BB" only has room for one water tank and the Heater rods come in different sizes and watts ratings. Their recommendations might be on their web site.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2077867
05/05/13 08:00 PM
05/05/13 08:00 PM
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dynamobt Offline OP
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I'm pretty convinced the Dampp Chaser system is a necessity. We've struggled with the whole house system and our cold winter weather. My piano tech says I do more than most people to keep the humidity stable for my piano. And so far, no issues with the piano. But, I feel like "so far" isn't good enough. This is the piano of my dreams. I never thought I would have an instrument of such beautiful quality and sound. It is everything I could hope for in a piano. I really was lucky to find it. Lucky to have read Larry Fine's book so I had an idea of what I was looking at. I need to take the best care of it that I can.


1918 Mason & Hamlin BB
1906 Mason & Hamlin Es
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[Linked Image]
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Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2077893
05/05/13 08:58 PM
05/05/13 08:58 PM
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beethoven986 Offline
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I don't know why the other techs are saying a M&H BB needs a dual humidifier system. Dampp-Chaser has schematics available on its technicians' website, which specifies a G6PS-38-SB (one tank w/ smart bracket, two rods, humidistat) for this piano. Make sure you hire a certified installer!

Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2077900
05/05/13 09:08 PM
05/05/13 09:08 PM
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dynamobt Offline OP
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Hmmm, the two techs I have talked to ARE certified installers. I've contacted Dampp Chaser through their website. I've also made a note of the model number you have listed, beethoven986.

Perhaps the techs were only surmising what would be needed and not actually have gone to the DC website to see what was recommended.

I'm armed with more information now. Thank you


1918 Mason & Hamlin BB
1906 Mason & Hamlin Es
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[Linked Image]
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Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2077926
05/05/13 09:55 PM
05/05/13 09:55 PM
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Georgia, USA
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RestorerPhil Offline
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If the BB can or must use the single tank system, it will save you some cost, also - at least $150.

A technician actually working for you would check the exact model required, before doing the installation. Depending upon the air movement around the piano, an under-cover may suffice. Of course that cover adds back in some cost.

I have seen stage situations where a single tank humidifier portion of the Dampp Chaser system could not keep up during periods of low humidity. The piano was a Steinway B with no undercover. The cover would probably remedy that situation. A mini-tank is also available. On a 7' piano, Dampp Chaser will very likely say that the undercover will be needed.

As you say, now you are informed enough to understand the systems in general and the expected cost range.


Lavender Piano Services
Established 1977
Tuning, Concert Maintenance,
Rebuilding & Restoration
Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2077927
05/05/13 09:56 PM
05/05/13 09:56 PM
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Richfield Springs, New York
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Eric Gloo Offline
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Yes, the Dampp-Chaser schematics show a single humidifier system. That is a recommendation, and will work well in many pianos. But it isn't necessarily the best in ALL situations. The Piano Life Saver Systems can be customized to each piano. Some pianos need more humidification than shown in the schematics. Some pianos need stronger dehumidifiers, or even more than those specified.

Will you still be using your whole house system, just at a lower humidity level? If so, and if it keeps the humidity at a fairly consistent level, you may be OK with a single humidifier.


Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York
Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2077934
05/05/13 10:08 PM
05/05/13 10:08 PM
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dynamobt Offline OP
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Yes, I would keep using the whole house system. Although condensation problems in the winter keep us from setting it higher than 30% humidity, that percentage is stable. Our A/C in the summer acts as a natural dehumidifier. So I can consistently keep the room at about 30% humidity. That's comfortable for us, but not the piano. I can see where if the atmosphere in the room is aleady at 30% humidity that the Dampp Chaser system in the piano would not need to work so hard.

I think the next step is to convince my husband that this is a priority. Then I will contact my piano technician. I'm due for a tuning in July. At this time of year, I think I can safely wait till then. If this was our full heating season, I would be acting sooner.


1918 Mason & Hamlin BB
1906 Mason & Hamlin Es
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2077938
05/05/13 10:14 PM
05/05/13 10:14 PM
Joined: May 2012
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Rochester MN
Minnesota Marty Offline

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Are you using a hygrometer to take the readings of the RH in your home? The numbers on the control dial on a HVAC humidifier are not even close to a true reading. A decent electronic hygrometer, with a memory, is only about $35 at a good hardware or home improvement store.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2077968
05/05/13 10:56 PM
05/05/13 10:56 PM
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I have a BB as well and use the DC system. It has one humidifier tank and two dehumidifier rods. I keep the house HVAC at 40 to 55 % according to the three hygrometers in the piano room, depending on the outside air temperature, and the DC system keeps the piano at about 40 to 45%, according the hygrometers inside the case and underneath. It is well worth the cost and very modest effort.

Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2078251
05/06/13 11:01 AM
05/06/13 11:01 AM
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dynamobt Offline OP
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I do have a hygrometer. It's battery powered. It is consistently a bit lower than when my piano tech checks the room humidity when she tunes. Maybe it's time for a new one of these too.


1918 Mason & Hamlin BB
1906 Mason & Hamlin Es
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
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Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2078257
05/06/13 11:16 AM
05/06/13 11:16 AM
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TimR Offline
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Originally Posted by dynamobt
Yes, I would keep using the whole house system. Although condensation problems in the winter keep us from setting it higher than 30% humidity, that percentage is stable.


I have some doubt that your whole house system is functioning correctly.

You should not be getting condensation below 65% unless something is very unusual with your setup.

Your piano is worth protecting, but so is your house.


gotta go practice
Re: Questions about the Dampp-Chaser system [Re: dynamobt] #2078262
05/06/13 11:23 AM
05/06/13 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by dynamobt
I do have a hygrometer. It's battery powered. It is consistently a bit lower than when my piano tech checks the room humidity when she tunes. Maybe it's time for a new one of these too.


Consumer grade hygrometers are required to meet +\- 7% accuracy. It costs a lot of money to get better accuracy. Even a sling psychrometer with 1 degree Celsius accuracy per thermometer will still only yield about +\- 4% accuracy. I tested mine in a home built sodium chloride test cell and chose the most accurate group of hygrometers. Considering that they are not completely linear, the readings around 42% are still suspect. Good luck.

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