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#28645 - 07/23/01 04:42 PM Pianos and Humidity
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1573
Loc: Chicago
Help! My vintage piano goes haywire in the humidity. I had it thoroughly reworked and tightened up in the shop and it was fixed for a long time, but last night it was buzzing again. Today it's ok. I can't have an unpredictable piano as I'm sure you all can imagine. My technician suggested an in-the-piano dehumidifier. Do any of you have experience with such a thing? Do you recommend it. (As you may have surmised, I have no air-conditioning and don't intend to get it.) Advice? Lilla

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#28646 - 07/23/01 05:15 PM Re: Pianos and Humidity
Jason Offline
Star Member

Registered: 05/14/00
Posts: 2019
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I've seen them used at several colleges and they seem to work pretty well. I'd definitely look in to it!
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"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


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#28647 - 07/23/01 05:27 PM Re: Pianos and Humidity
OKMusician Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/01/01
Posts: 602
Loc: Oklahoma
We use one on the piano at my church. It has helped with it. The humidity in OK is pretty high in the summer and the temperature isn't constant in the church building so the tuner suggested it. We've been happy with it for a number of years.
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#28648 - 07/24/01 07:59 AM Re: Pianos and Humidity
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1573
Loc: Chicago
Thanks, I'm happy to hear of other places where they're being used. Everyone thinks I'm nuts when I talk about them. I'll look into pricing, etc. Anyone know of a website with info? Lilla

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#28649 - 07/24/01 08:27 AM Re: Pianos and Humidity
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
When I lived in Costa Rica (without heat or A/C), I used a damp chaser bar that I picked up at a garage sale in FL for only $8. It's a long one that almost goes the entire length of the piano. I kept it plugged in all the time & had the piano tuned every 6 months. Every time it was tuned, the technician also took all the keys off, etc. so he could clean the inside really well (something that has to be done in the land of huge insects). Anyway, we lived down there for 8 years. When we moved to Lubbock, which has a dry climate, the piano went ballistic. Even with regular tunings, it took almost a full year for the piano to adjust to the different climate. I did end up spending close to $1,000 to have some repairs done, but most of these repairs were for "wear & tear" items that would have had to be done anyway (the hammers had to be filed, the squeaky pedal had to be repaired, & all the felt underneath the keybed & the pedals had to be replaced).

The only "questionable" repair that was done was when one technician replaced 44 hammer butt strings, which he claimed were wearing out because they were cotton. He actually wanted to replace all of them, but I didn't have the money & started to get suspicious of him when another LMTA teacher told me that he has a reputation for ripping people off. I hired another technician to come look at it, & he says the hammer butt strings are fine, & that no more work needs to be done on my piano for at least another 10 years. \:\)

Anyway, back to the humidity issue. Another thing you might try (though I've never done it) is to hang a bag of flour inside your piano. In The Piano Book, piano technician Larry Fine mentions a woman who did this & that it worked just fine. Just replace the flour when it gets damp.

If you purchase a damp chaser rod, have a technician or tuner install it for you. There's a certain place on the piano where they install it so it will do the most good.

Hope this helps.

Jalapeno, thankful that her piano's soundboard didn't crack after moving to dry Lubbock. \:\)

[ July 24, 2001: Message edited by: Jalapeno ]

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#28650 - 07/24/01 08:46 AM Re: Pianos and Humidity
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
In the Seattle area my "Damp-Chaser" is a must! Controlling the humidity can also keep your piano in tune a bit longer.

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#28651 - 07/24/01 10:24 AM Re: Pianos and Humidity
Samuel Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 158
I read about piano humidifiers about three years ago. But never got around to looking into buying one. In this Texas heat, I have just got use to my piano sounding crappy -that it really doesn't bother me. I usually get my piano tuned in the fall and spring. My piano technician said it would be better to get it tuned four times per year since I don't have a humidifier. I'm kind of wondering what folks did in the old days before piano humidifiers were invented. They probably did like me and just put up with the crappy sound. If I do decide to get a humidifier, is there some place I can check them out on line. Also, would I be able to install it myself, or would I have to have my technician come in and do it. Probally my best bet is to have the technician do it since I'm handyman illiterate. Do you know what words I hate most at Christmas time? Some assembly required! SM

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#28652 - 07/24/01 10:58 AM Re: Pianos and Humidity
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
I was quoted a price of $300 for a humidifier system, installed inside the piano. Since my studio is right next to the laundry room, in the winter when it's dry & cold, I vent my clothes dryer to the inside (my husband purchased a box at Home Depot; the lint stays inside the box & the damp air goes into the room). I do enough laundry every day that there's plenty of humidity coming from that dryer to humidify the entire living & dining room, plus our bedroom & the piano studio.

[ July 24, 2001: Message edited by: Jalapeno ]

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#28653 - 07/24/01 11:35 AM Re: Pianos and Humidity
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
If you get a Dammp Chaser system, make sure it's one that includes a thermostat that will shut the thing on and off. Installing only the heat bar could lead to a drying out type o' disaster. Otherwise, those are great systems for certain climates and conditions.

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#28654 - 07/24/01 03:08 PM Re: Pianos and Humidity
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Originally posted by Lisa Kalmar:
If you get a Dammp Chaser system, make sure it's one that includes a thermostat that will shut the thing on and off. Installing only the heat bar could lead to a drying out type o' disaster. Otherwise, those are great systems for certain climates and conditions.

Do those systems have to be cleaned out regularly? When we first moved to Lubbock, we purchased a humidifier for the house, but it has to be cleaned every week. Yours truly got tired of doing it.

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