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We have a humidifier & dehumidifer. We monitor the RH of the room our piano is in. It can be anywhere from 51% to 61% RH at times-sometimes daily (I have a memory function on my Radio Shack hygrometer). There are controls on the dehum & humidifyer but still seem to swing. In the summer we expect that the RH will go up to about 65% as it did last year even with the
dehumidifier.

Our original tech & also local piano store do NOT recommend the dampchaser. Think it dries the piano out too much. Said the humidifier part not necessary.

Live in Missouri (mid west) Typically the weather is not too brutal.

Long winded--finally the question:

Is what we are doing for our piano (first paragraph) adequate to prevent damage? Are the 10-15% swings in RH acceptable? If NOT, what are the "acceptable" swings that won't damage the piano?

Thanks!

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Please go to the Dampp Chaser web site at www.dampp-chaser.com There are some pictures and charts there that show the danger zones.
A properly installed dampp chaser will not dry out your piano. We are not talking about a space heater inside the piano. Not sure what your weather issues are but here in SC because it has been cold & we have the heat on. The water light on my tank has been coming on every week to 2 weeks this winter. I am glad I have a full system. There has been extensive discussion on the pros and cons of dampp chasers and other means of humidity control on PW. Take a look inside your piano do you see any rust anywhere ?
How is the tuning ?


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mamma,

A Dampp-Chaser rod *with a humidistat* (the only way it is recommended to be installed) CANNOT dry out your piano too much because the humidistat turns the unit off when it has reached the proper humidity level.

It is not unusual for stores to be ignorant of these things and hand out misinformation, but for a tech to be so ignorant is really shameful, and makes one seriously doubt his knowledge base overall. He is obviously not "in the loop". Perhaps he is thinking of the many bad installations where rods are put in without humidistats and in that sense he would be correct, but it's really stupid to apply the same logic to a properly installed system.

I notice on the Dampp-Chaser website a list of serveral dozen Missouri technicians who install the sysytems. Maybe you should contact one of them.

Regards,


Rick Clark

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I agree with Rick.

Also,

The better question might be;

What is the swing in the EMC? (equilibrium moisture content)


"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."
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I have a .pdf EMC chart I am happy to email to anyone.

I think it is another very good perspective to have.


"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."
Mark Twain

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Thanks for all the information. I will go back to the Damp Chaser site. The piano is *not* in tune right now, not sure if it is a settling issue-it was last tuned the end of January. I know Dorrie (I think) has said that a new piano can take up to a year in a new house though. Its a brand new piano & its been here since the end of October. Theres no rust thank goodness eek

Also there is a heating/cooling vent pretty close above the piano that is shut but it doesn't close 100% & I notice some heat *does* come through. The weather has also been crazy, Spring one day & then snow flurries the next! The doors get open somewhat frequently.

Larry, I would like the EMC chart if you don't mind emailing it: I'm not sure exactly what EMC means but I will google it. I've read many of the posts on PW about humidity & honestly don't fully understand it. . ..but I'm learning! :p
Thanks again all for taking the time!

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mamma,

It takes about a month to 6 weeks for the wood to fully change over from one humidity level to another. Of course if your humidity is always in a state of change, it never does actually settle. But if you put in the Dampp-Chaser during humid times, let it sit about 6 weeks before spending money on a tuning.

A new piano needs several tunings before certain other settling issues level out. Sometimes there are exceptions if it's been tuned a lot before delivery. A typical manufacturer recommendation is 4 times the first year. A schedule that works well is 1 month after delivery, 2 months after that, 4 months after that second tuning, and 6 months after the third tuning. You should then be able to settle in to 6 months tunings, but you may soon after find 1X/year is adequate.

Several consumers on PW have followed my recommended schedule and all have posted they were happy with the result.

It's not just the passage of time, it's that the actual tunings must be performed. A piano will be no more stable than new after one year if it hasn't been tuned enough.

Regards,


Rick Clark

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If your RH is going to go up to 65 in the summer you need to get a D/C system in the piano. Wild swings in temp and rh are bad as well as drafts and blasts of cold or warm air from you hvac system. The old style dampp chasers without humidistats are bad because they are on 24 hours a day all year. These could potentially dry out the piano because they are always running. Even with the heat on they run. About 2 weeks I was in a house and the customer told me she had a heat bar in the piano. She was't sure it was on. It was- as I found out when I touched it. If you have a vent above the piano try to get a plastic baffle to direct the air flow to the side or across the ceiling. This will keep cold or hot air from blowing down on the piano. I have seen vents form condensation in the summer and drop water down on the piano so beware of that issue if the vent also delivers air conditioning. As to why a technician or store advises against a dampp chaser I don't know why. They have been proven to be highly effective and every major piano manufacturer recognizes their benefit. Look at the PW archives- this topic has been explored many, many times. Your new piano needs several tunings its first year before it setlles down. If it is sounding bad get it tuned. Better yet consider a DC system and then have it tunes a few weeks after the dc install.


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Mr. Clark, you have a way with words. Your last post (10:28) is so right on, I wish I could talk to my customers like that.

Mama, let your piano breathe, tune it on schedule like Rick says, and remember that piano players rarely listen to the tuning. Play it.

In the old days pianos were built to withstand drastic changes in humidity, to some extent. (Most pianos built today are the same as always) Nowadays, Dammp-chaser systems (properly maintainted)can even extend the life expectancy of a piano. So, don't worry too much about it, just take care of it and above all. PLAY IT.
Paulo


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Just a note on dampp chasers:

I asked my Steinway technician (from Steinway Hamburg) about Dampp Chasers and he said that Steinway no longer recommends them. He didn't give a reason for that, but he said it is the official policy of Steinway Hamburg.

Personally I'm confused about the different opinions on dampp chasers. Here in Germany we also get RH values around 65% in summer inside the house. Is this a problem on long term?

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Rick just to let you know, I am on your schedule-think I saw you posted it before. Got the piano the end of October, 1st tuning was end of November, Second was the end of January. I was planning on the next one the end of May! (& then 6 months or less after that!)

I am going to have DH do something with the vent too. I'll have to think some more on the DampChaser.

Thanks again all.

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Thomas F,

Steinway(NY) does not recommend DampChaser either. I was going to have it installed recently, but they said it may void my warranty. I was disappointed.

Regards,

fingers


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Ceasar, mounted on his favorite battle horse at the head of his legions said before crossing the Rubicon, "Let the dice fly high!"

The theory of the damp chaser system is to help create a more stable piano enviornment by adding or subtracting moisture via heated rods and cloths draped over heated rods wicking moisture from buckets, filled by the customer. Many piano techs make a considerable portion of their income installing these devices. However, there is no piano maker that installs these devices at the factory. In every piano warrenty info sheet there are guidelines for relative humidity. You can maintain your piano well by adhering to these guidelines.

Pianos are sold from Miami FLA to Nome AK, to San Paulo to Moscow, to Toyko to Paris. They are and have been everywhere civilization in its meanest form gathered since the early 19th century. They will adapt to each in enviornment if the customer adheres to the makers recomendation.

We heat, humidify and dehumidfy air and air does not stand still. If you have a forced air system the air within one room is transfered to another in moments, even that air condiditoned by a dampchaser. If your enviornment is exceptionally dry or damp the whole house must attended to, not just the meager air surrouding the piano/dampchaser. The dampchaser system is not a panecea.

If you maintian a humidier and dehumidifer and a RH within your stated boundries you can expect to have a piano which stays in tune and performs well AFTER the inital period of settling. During the first months expect the piano to do all sorts of things, like unstable tuning, sticking keys, hanging dampers, etc. This is all normal.

I tune thousands of pianos in Missouri without dampchasers and they hold up just fine as long as the customer is attentive to the general conditions of the home. In your case, your situation is better than average.

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It has been suggested to me, by a piano tech, that the lack of support for DamppChaser on the part of some manufacturers, i.e. Steinway, may be twofold.( nothing to gain and everything to lose)

1) no financial incentive- the manufacturer doesn't receive any $$$ for the endorsement

2) vulnerability to litigation- in the event of a problem, a customer may seek damages against the piano manufacturer.


While these explanations seem plausible, I am reluctant still, to install a DC as I don't want to jeopardize the warranty.


Sadly, I have no personal experience with DC and I know of no one with it either.

fingers


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I do not know what Steinway's motivation is for their stance on DC's. Suffice to say that in the long history of the piano the DC is a relative newcomer. They were originally designed to keep mold off your shoes in a closet. Somebody had the idea of converting them to piano use and the controlled system they are today.

There is no reason to use a DC if you follow the guidlines set down by the maker. You will be in no way negligent to your piano. Steinway earned its great reputation of reliability and service long before the advent of DC's.

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I have a letter from Steinway New York endorsing DC systems.

It is signed by Gary Green.

Unless Steinway has changed their position?

If a Steinway dealer is saying DC systms void the warranty...I would call Gary Green at Steinway.

I tried to scan the letter into a file, my scanner is not working properly.


I will try to get a copy of the letter posted .


"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."
Mark Twain

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Here is the letter.

Full size for printing.


http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/SteinwayLetter.jpg


"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."
Mark Twain

E. J. Buck & Sons
Lowell MA 01852
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[Linked Image]


"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."
Mark Twain

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978 458 8688
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Well, I guess that clears that up!


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