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View Full Version : Extreme dry air remedies (room, house)


Paje
11-23-2007, 11:51 AM
Greetings,

We've a wave of unusually cold and dry air here in the PNW which is taxing my whole-home humidifier ~ RH% dropped to 38% this morning.

I can keep some of my instruments in a proper, controlled environment in their cases, but I don't prefer that even then. Add cello, violin, dulcimer, etc. ,etc., to all the guitars throughout the house and, for me, it's best to keep the whole house at the proper RH% (my sinuses appreciate that as well, lol). Where I reside (dry summers, wet winters) it is usually not a problem either. That being said, I've had to deploy humidity-adding counter-measures yesterday and today. Thought I'd throw out some of my temporary remedies/ideas and also poll other's for theres.

Steamy showers w/no exhaust fan. I use a floor fan to help disperse the steam.
Steam clean the carpets. They probably need it anyway, and it's best when it's dry like this.
Wet cloth over return and heat vents. This can inhibit the airflow - use as thin cloth as possible.
Spray bottle/misting - hit those vent cloths (thin ones dry fast), mist air, curtains, carpet, furniture, etc.,


Again, these are temporary remedies that I employ in these rare & very dry circumstances only. I couldn't imagine doing this every day and, if the weather required it more than a few days here and there in the winter, I'd just use a reserve humidifier.

Any other ideas for emergency whole-house/room humidification?

Cheers,
Paje

3rd_harmonic
11-23-2007, 12:48 PM
In my "guitar room" I block the forced air heating and use a space heater. And I have a humidifier that I use to keep the RH up. I put plastic over the windows to keep the condensation from accumulating and freezing ( which would kill the woodwork.)

Bob Womack
11-23-2007, 02:59 PM
1. For those with an electric clothes dryer, you can unplug the exit air hose and run a short length over to blow into a trashcan full of water. The excess lint will collect on the surface of the water and the warm wet air will be blown into your house.

2. If you can maintain your privacy, take your showers with the bathroom door open and the exhaust fan off. All the moisture goes to the house.

There there's my favorite dorm humidifier:
I just love this one. Somehow, it punches all the right buttons and makes me feel like I'm beating the system at the same time. Why do I feel like I need to beat the system? I suppose that's a discussion for another time. But here's the scheme:

Go down to a local 24-hour convenience store and pick up a package of pecan-cinnamon swirls or cinnamon buns. Now go back to the dorm and brew up a really nice pot of coffee. Invite over you favorite dorm buds for a get-together over free coffee and cinnamon buns. Mmmm.... Deee-lish! They'll think you are quite the host.

Party over? Okay, carefully clean out the shallow aluminum pan in which your cinnamon buns came to remove the sugar and bread. Fill it up nearly to the rim with water. Now, either set it on top of the steam heater coils or heating unit (if applicable or safe) or on the window sill. Its large surface area, conductive aluminum body, and shallow depth make it work great. As the water evaporates, you get free humidity. Your evaporator is a renewable, hungry resource: Keep it full of water at all times. Make a habit of checking it as you enter or leave the room. If it doesn't make enough humidity, have another coffee klatch. Liberate another pan of cinnamon buns and boost your popularity and humidity further.

If I remember right, I think the idea for this came from Margaret Neuhoff, Covenant College class of 1980.

Bob

TBman
11-23-2007, 03:07 PM
Get a humidifier attachment for your furnace.

rattletrap
11-23-2007, 03:12 PM
Where I live it is too dry to try to effectively humidify the whole house except with a swamp cooler, which works VERY well. As for my guitar room I use a baby humidifier and pump an average of 3 gal a day into a small room. I've been looking around for something that is less hassle

edman
11-23-2007, 03:15 PM
Where I live it is too dry to try to effectively humidify the whole house except with a swamp cooler, which works VERY well. As for my guitar room I use a baby humidifier and pump an average of 3 gal a day into a small room. I've been looking around for something that is less hassle


I use a baby vaporizer / humidifier in my guitar room. It does a pretty good job, but I have to add water to it every day during the coldest parts of the winter.

Christian G
11-23-2007, 04:03 PM
Hey, I'm in Portland too. Is this weather really considered dangerous guitar weather?
I quite like it as opposed to that rain we had a bit ago. Hah.

Kitchen Guitars
11-23-2007, 05:33 PM
My 20 gal fish tank (no lid) has kept the humidity at 50 -54% i my 12x12 office. It looks nice too. I have had to add 5 gallons of water in 4 weeks. Sunburst Guppies btw

Paje
11-24-2007, 04:38 PM
Good stuff!

I had forgot to post about the dryer option. That's one I've used before as well - quite effective!

The stove-top idea reminded me I should add that dehydrating fruits, etc., probably helps add a bit of moisture (& heat and yummy smells) to the air as well.

Swamp cooler! I imagine that would work!

Christian G ~> when it drops below freezing @ night with high, dry winds (out of the East) and no rain, best keep an eye on that hygrometer. Looks as though our weather has returned to the normal moist and mild again for now.

Cheers,
Paje

AndrewG
11-24-2007, 05:03 PM
Just leave a soup bowl of water on or near your heat source and re-fill as it evaporates. It works and doesn't cost a thing.

taylorcc
11-24-2007, 05:46 PM
Boil water on your kitchen stove. Use your largest pot so refilling is infrequent. For safety, never leave the pot unattended.

Kitchen Guitars
11-25-2007, 04:50 AM
I sound like Fittness talking Webber Guitars :)

Get a 20 extra long fish tank. Skip the hood. Put in non jumping sunburst guppies. Enjoy and get proper humidity! I have now gone through 6 gallons of water in about 6 weeks in a 12x12 room.

Health Freak
11-25-2007, 05:52 AM
Get a carbon fiber guitar. :-)

815C
11-25-2007, 06:27 AM
Is 38% that bad? I've heard guitars should kept at 40% - 60%.

Think of all those old pre-war Martins, Lloyd Loar mandolins, and fiddles, violas, and cellos that are hundreds of years old. The seem to have survived the pre-humidifier world.

Howard Emerson
11-25-2007, 06:34 AM
Here's the simplest solution for reclaiming dryer vent heat and humidity:

http://www.cetsolar.com/extraheat.htm

Just about any hardware store carries some variant of this unit.

HE

Herb Hunter
11-25-2007, 06:46 AM
Get a carbon fiber guitar. :-)

You still have to humidify for the comfort of the humans.

Herb Hunter
11-25-2007, 06:51 AM
Is 38% that bad? I've heard guitars should kept at 40% - 60%.

Think of all those old pre-war Martins, Lloyd Loar mandolins, and fiddles, violas, and cellos that are hundreds of years old. The seem to have survived the pre-humidifier world.

Actually, many haven't fared well. Many have evidence of extensive repairs.

Herb Hunter
11-25-2007, 06:52 AM
Here's the simplest solution for reclaiming dryer vent heat and humidity:

http://www.cetsolar.com/extraheat.htm

Just about any hardware store carries some variant of this unit.

HE

Thanks for the link.

rattletrap
11-25-2007, 09:47 AM
The Humidity here in the So Cal High Desert averages between 15% - 20%. The swamp cooler is quite effective for keeping the house humidified. The main part of the house is generally about 55% and for some reason my guitar room in the back of the house stays at a very nice 45% avg. But in the winter its another story.

SongwriterFan
11-25-2007, 09:56 AM
Here's the simplest solution for reclaiming dryer vent heat and humidity:

http://www.cetsolar.com/extraheat.htm

Just about any hardware store carries some variant of this unit.


Neat idea . . . but they don't work with gas dryers.

Paje
11-25-2007, 11:12 AM
Is 38% that bad? I've heard guitars should kept at 40% - 60%.

Think of all those old pre-war Martins, Lloyd Loar mandolins, and fiddles, violas, and cellos that are hundreds of years old. The seem to have survived the pre-humidifier world.

40%-60% is indeed the preferred range, as I understand it as well. &, no, 38% isn't that bad - especially for short durations - but it was less than ideal and heading in the wrong direction even with my humidifier maxed. Hence - the emergency measures. I think my humidifier is overdue for a filter replacement as well. :(

3rd_harmonic
11-25-2007, 11:33 AM
1. For those with an electric clothes dryer, you can unplug the exit air hose and run a short length over to blow into a trashcan full of water. The excess lint will collect on the surface of the water and the warm wet air will be blown into your house.

............


oh yeah... I've just placed a nylon stocking over the vent and threw in some wet towels to dry. that works.

Herb Hunter
11-25-2007, 11:34 AM
At 38% humidity, I'd expect the frets to start protruding slightly from the sides of the fingerboard due to contraction of the fingerboard.

3rd_harmonic
11-25-2007, 11:35 AM
Neat idea . . . but they don't work with gas dryers.

why not? gas dryers still have to exhaust hot air.

SongwriterFan
11-25-2007, 11:41 AM
why not? gas dryers still have to exhaust hot air.

There's a warning on that link (in red).

Gas dryers have the possibility of carbon monoxide in the exhaust gases.