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How to care for a piano in high humidity?

Posted By: Real Rob

How to care for a piano in high humidity? - 04/14/19 01:47 PM

Hi, I recently moved to New Orleans because of all the great music, I bought a nice Yamaha upright for our house, I haven’t started using the AC yet and have been leaving the window open in the piano room, the piano is falling out of tune quickly and the action is feeling a little sticky. I’m seeking advice how to take care of my piano in this high humidity area, should I keep the windows closed and AC on all the time ? We have central AC but my wife doesn’t want the whole house on AC all the time, what can I do ?
Thanks,
Rob
Posted By: jsilva

Re: How to care for a piano in high humidity? - 04/14/19 02:57 PM

You could install a dampp chaser. I’m not sure what the general consensus is about them on these forums, but it seems to me that for upright models there is more potential to be effective at regulating humidity vs. grand pianos, especially for the action.
Posted By: MarkL

Re: How to care for a piano in high humidity? - 04/14/19 04:15 PM

Originally Posted by Real Rob
...and have been leaving the window open in the piano room...
Rob

If it's really a separate room, I'd suggest buying a window A/C unit so you can control it separately from the rest of the house. We also don't like to run the A/C in the house all the time, that's why I chose to put the piano in a separate room that can be controlled independently. We have times of the year when the window A/C won't remove enough moisture on it's own because the temperature isn't that hot. So sometimes I have to run a dehumidifier and window A/C at the same time. Not sure if it ever gets dry down there, but here in the winter it also allows me to add extra humidification.
Posted By: Steven Bolstridge

Re: How to care for a piano in high humidity? - 04/14/19 05:17 PM

Call a reliable piano tuner/technician and ask him to install a Dampp Chaser 25 watt bar and the humidistat that goes with it. Keep the piano cover closed. If you want a room AC, keep the over open.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How to care for a piano in high humidity? - 04/14/19 06:21 PM

At the risk of being "attacked" by Rick Parks on this (if you're reading this Rick I'll be looking for your suggestions) I would concur with the Dampp-chaser installation as PART of the solution. However I would go with a 38w unit (or perhaps even 50w if you can get it) and ABSOLUTELY have the humidistat installed with it.

You need to know though that A/C can rarely remove enough humidity to get below 60% RH anywhere, anytime. It is not a dehumidifier per se, it simply happens to remove some humidity in the process of removing heat. After living in the DC area awhile I learned that not all A/C units are set up equally or correctly. When we were having central A/C installed in our newly purchased home there, I initially told the installer that I wanted a big unit so as to really remove the humidity (this was my seat of the pants diagnosis of the situation). He immediately told me how wrong I was on this since what happens is that the big unit cools things down fast but then shuts off leaving TOO MUCH humidity in the air. Continued cycling simply circulates cold DAMP air. Bad situation. He said that the best arrangement is to have a SLIGHTLY underpowered system that runs longer, taking longer to cool, but since the compressor runs for longer periods it removes more humidity from the air making it more comfortable and able to keep a SLIGHTLY higher temperature at a better comfort level. He said many people make the mistake I made, but that this was something they had learned by experience over time. I took his advice.

Where I live now I have the piano in the basement and, if I didn't run a room dehumidifier all summer, would get dripping wet, so I do run a good sized dehumidifier, plus have a DC dehumidifier in the piano (with stat) AND some summers I need to add a window A/C unit to counteract the heat generated by the room dehumidifier so it's bearable.

Just a few things to think about.

Pwg
Posted By: Rick_Parks

Re: How to care for a piano in high humidity? - 04/15/19 02:21 AM

Originally Posted by P W Grey
At the risk of being "attacked" by Rick Parks on this (if you're reading this Rick I'll be looking for your suggestions) I would concur with the Dampp-chaser installation as PART of the solution. However I would go with a 38w unit (or perhaps even 50w if you can get it) and ABSOLUTELY have the humidistat installed with it......
Pwg


I'm here, Peter smile --- Watching your every move! (I'm worse than gum on the shoe I think)
Anyway, I agree with Peter here (to a point). If you cannot control the room get a Damp-chaser system. Now, does someone wish to help Peter up off the floor?
Actually, I would think through more, as to controlling the environment of the room the piano is in --- as this IS THE BEST for the instrument. But, I do think that I have always remained consistent on the point that you must control the environment for the instrument in any way possible. It is simply that I attempt to offer every suggestion first that controls the room. In last resort I fall back on Damp-chasers.
Simply put though, IF you go with the system--- FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS!!! It is worse to spend all that money, and then let it develop crust-slime-mildew through neglecting to upkeep it. That leads to REAL problems.

Edit: I must be losing it, Pete--- 7 hours behind your comment!
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How to care for a piano in high humidity? - 04/15/19 12:46 PM

ROFL!!! 🤣🤣🤣😢🤣🤣🤣


And, I do agree on the room control thing if at all possible. IMO it NOT be necessary or even advisable to put a humidifier IN the piano. Strictly dehumidifier with control. But if you can get the room to between 45-50% consistently that would be ideal.

Pwg
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