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FLRon 01-06-2020 06:25 AM

Interesting observation about humidity
 
Partly because of the recent threads her about the effects of humidity, I decided to keep a closer eye on the humidity in my guitar room than I normally would due to an approaching cold front.

In the spring, summer, and fall here the inside humidity typically ranges anywhere from the mid 40% to as high as 54%, all with the AC running and outside temps in the 80ís and 90ís. Last Thursday for example, a somewhat rainy, cloudy day, it was 84 degrees outside with 54% inside humidity.

This past weekends cold front has brought about a significant change however. Yesterday the outside temperature only reached a high of 67 degrees and the inside humidity dropped to 43%. Overnight the temperature dropped to 40 degrees, the furnace is now putting out warm air, and the inside humidity has dropped to 37%. Guitars are in their cases of course, but I thought it interesting to observe the changes in humidity when the heat was on and the outside temps dropped vs. the normal AC and very warm temps.

MikeBmusic 01-06-2020 06:35 AM

Those of us in the 'cold belts' know all about it!

Mr. Jelly 01-06-2020 07:32 AM

I noticed something interesting about my meter the other day. Because of the angle of the sun this time of year there is a period of time, in the morning, when it hits my digital meter. This makes the temperature of the meter increase. That in turn decreases the RH readout. When the sun stops hitting the meter it returns to it's normal function. Though it takes a period of time. If a persons meter is some how heated up say periodically by a furnace vent then the information may not be accurate.

Ncbandit 01-06-2020 07:40 AM

I keep my guitars out on stands but keep a close watch on the meter. Even with the heat on it usually stays in the low 40's. We have a heat pump vs. a gas or oil based unit which people typically have in the North. I don't think a heat pump dries the air out as much as the others.

On a side note. I opened my window on a nice 70 something degree day and after an hour the level increased into the 60's. I couldn't shut the window fast enough and crank the air back on.

jaymarsch 01-06-2020 08:34 AM

I have a hygrometer in each of the three rooms that I play or store guitars. Depending on the path of the sun, depending on whether or not I have a damp sweater that I do not put in the dryer hanging in the bathroom, or whether or not it is raining outside, there are changes in the readings throughout the house. Once in a while it rises as high as 65% and occasionally it drops to as low as 34% but nothing too drastic or too quickly for any length of time.

Monitoring and adjusting to keep it at an acceptable range is the ticket. I don't worry about having it at one specific reading. I have found that the range that works for my guitars is anywhere between 55% and 40%. I do keep my guitars in their cases when they are not being played.

Best,
Jayne

vindibona1 01-06-2020 08:39 AM

We recently (in the Chicago area) recently installed a whole-house steam humidifier. Keeping the humidity rock steady through outdoor temperature changes is a challenge, if not impossible.

As far as indoor humidity goes, I've discovered that the walls, and furniture absorb or discharge humidity. So getting a place up to the proper humidity can take some time and reducing the humidity can also take time as your home and belongings "breathe" the moisture. With relatively consistent humidity levels in my home year-round I can keep my guitars out of their cases without worry of drying out or becoming over-humidified.

I can imagine how difficult it might be to keep humidity constant in Florida. I suppose for the health of our guitars if we just keep the humidity in the desired range they are safe. But what I've noticed is that some guitar sound better with a little more humidity and other guitars vice-versa.

rmp 01-06-2020 09:33 AM

Cold? 40 degrees in January? really now?

with warm regards from Central Mass, in the heart of New England...

:)

rstaight 01-06-2020 09:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rmp (Post 6257776)
Cold? 40 degrees in January? really now?

with warm regards from Central Mass, in the heart of New England...

:)

I live on the edge of northern, north/central Indiana. Around Christmas we had temps pushing 60. Very odd. Usually in the 30's and dipping below 0.

raysachs 01-06-2020 10:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MikeBmusic (Post 6257608)
Those of us in the 'cold belts' know all about it!

Indeed. I live a bit south of the cold belt, but it's cold enough.

But I'm learning about high humidity this winter. We're down on the North Carolina Coast for three months - our daughter lives down here and we've been coming down each of the last four winters. We rent a little condo right on the beach that would cost a fortune in the summer, but is dirt cheap in the winter - almost cheaper than staying home all things considered.

At the beginning of 2017 I was just starting to play again after a very long layoff and I had a cheap Taylor and didn't give humidity a thought. The next year I was back into it and had a Martin 000-15M and was really paying attention to humidity by then. And I guess it was a cold winter, because I was running two small (also too small) Vornado humidifiers and I couldn't usually keep the small room where I play up above 40%. It was an issue most of the winter with just a few short periods where the humidity was OK without any help.

Last year I only brought a carbon fiber acoustic so I didn't pay any attention to humidity again. But THIS year I've added another Martin 000-15, the SM 12-fret version, and I'm paying attention again. And based on my experience two years ago, I brought down my newer nuclear powered humidifier I've been using in Pennsylvania - it's rated for 2600 square feet and does a fine job on my 160 square foot man-cave even when it's down in the 20's and occasionally teens. But I haven't even set it up down here. We've been here 3+ weeks and have had a couple of colder days where the indoor humidity got down a bit below 40 just at night when the heat was cranking, but I just kept the Martin in it's case with humidipaks. And we've had many days with indoor humidity right in the comfortable 40-55% range.

BUT, we've ALSO had many mild and very humid days, not hot enough for AC, where the indoor humidity is 65% and up. I don't worry about humidity up to 60% and I don't worry in term of long terms structural issues even for short periods above that, but my guitar starts sounding really kind of dead when it's that humid for any period of time. So, again, I'm mostly keeping it cased with humidipaks and playing the carbon fiber guitar. But they can only seem to keep the case just below 60%, about 58-59% usually. Which is OK, but still a bit more than optimal. So I'm actually gonna try adding some desiccant paks to the case when it's that humid going forward and see if I can get down a bit closer to 50%.

This was not something I was expecting or experienced with. When it gets really humid at home in Pennsylvania, it's also HOT and we're running AC, and that'll often bring the indoor humidity down to around or below 40%. But down here in the winter, it can be humid and still quite mild and it presents it's own challenges. Now that I'm ready with desiccants, we'll probably hit a cold spell for most of the next couple of months and I'll have to start running the humidifier.

This has all been rather unexpected. Just when you think you have it figured out...

MikePrent 01-07-2020 09:34 AM

I'm also in Florida Ron and I've never paid much attention to Humidity in the past. I have a 10 year old G-Series Takamine (Solid top only) that has never spent a day in a case. Just sits on a stand in the corner. Never had any issues.

Six months ago I bought my first solid wood guitar (Martin) and have started paying more attention to the humidity levels. Last week, because of the mild weather, I wasn't using heat or A/C for what seemed like days. I woke up one day and noticed my indoor humidity had raised to 62%, while outside humidity was 89%. This was right before the cold front rolled through.

I was shocked at how it dulled the sound on my Martin dramatically and also raised my action noticeably. Needless to say, I put it in the case until I got the indoor humidity back down to <50%, but I was shocked at the overall effect on the guitar itself. I'm thinking it was probably more quickly effected and vulnerable because the DSS-17 is relatively lightweight as compared to most others.

But interesting observation

neofolk 01-17-2020 04:55 AM

Hi all. I'd like to ask: I've just rececntly bought an acoustic guitar and I've learned that I'm supposed keep an eye on humidity levels. So I bought a hygrometer. The levels are at about 40% now, sometimes a few points less. My question is how FAST it could hurt the acoustic guitar? I suppose it's meant rather in the long term? I'm gonna get a humidifier next week.
Thank you!

Peepaw 01-17-2020 05:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by neofolk (Post 6267366)
Hi all. I'd like to ask: I've just rececntly bought an acoustic guitar and I've learned that I'm supposed keep an eye on humidity levels. So I bought a hygrometer. The levels are at about 40% now, sometimes a few points less. My question is how FAST it could hurt the acoustic guitar? I suppose it's meant rather in the long term? I'm gonna get a humidifier next week.
Thank you!

I think the ideal is around 45%, at least that's what I shoot for in my home.
It will be fine at your current 40%.

musicman1951 01-17-2020 06:38 AM

11 degrees in upstate NY this AM (with the wind it feels like -5). My humidity shot down to 31% in my music room, and I anticipated this drop and turned the fan up a notch.

The furnace just cooks the moisture out of the air.

hermithollow 01-17-2020 06:41 AM

It is important to monitor and regulate the relative humidity when building a guitar because that gives it some resilience to humidity fluctuations. A properly built instrument should be able to "live" in RH ranges from 30 to 80 percent without severe problems. If you check hourly RH changes you will find that it can vary by 50% points or more within a 24 hour period, and often does. Guitars survived for over a hundred years before central air and humidity control existed.
Because makers are building lightly built "responsive" guitars from less than well aged materials humidity control has become more of a concern. Another problem is with the modern heating of houses in the winter to warmer levels than formerly the RH can drop into the teens or single digits unless supplemental humidity is added.
Still, guitars should be able to handle RH levels from 30 to 80 percent without a problem, so ultra tight control of RH should not be a concern for the average owner.

neofolk 01-17-2020 07:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hermithollow (Post 6267432)
Because makers are building lightly built "responsive" guitars from less than well aged materials humidity control has become more of a concern. Another problem is with the modern heating of houses in the winter to warmer levels than formerly the RH can drop into the teens or single digits unless supplemental humidity is added.

That's very interesting, thanks.


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