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Thread: Room Humidifier recs

  1. #1

    Default Room Humidifier recs

    In the current Covid environment, my home office doubles as a recording room and music room where most of my instruments are out of their cases a lot. Can someone recommend a good room humidifier/setting that will make me worry less this winter, but still have flexibility to easily grab anything quickly. The room is about 225sf.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    Any of the ultrasonic humidifiers should be able to do the job. They are fairly small and quiet. I have a couple of Venta brand ones that have served me well for over 15 years.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    thanks - does it matter if it mists or not?

  4. #4
    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    I have been using Venta Airwashers for probably 15 years now. They are not cheap, but they do work well. After about 12 years, I replaced the motors, but using the recommended water treatment, and with regular cleaning and a new gearbox every few years, they have kept running.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    Ultrasonic is the way to go...just make sure to get one where you can set the humidity level as opposed to just turning a dial.

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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    Quote Originally Posted by bradinbrooklyn View Post
    thanks - does it matter if it mists or not?
    Mine mist

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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    I have been using a simple Bemis. A fan with a paper wick, nothing fancy. Dial humidity control and hi and lo switch. I use a separate gauge to set it and let it go. It has kept my place where I want it, even with wood heat, for 25+ years. Replace the wick and clean. Simple and reliable. I would shut it off you you are going to record. I use it on low, it's not loud, but you wouldn't want the noise in a recording.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  8. #8
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    Search for Burgess violins - he has lots of info on this. He is one of the top violin makers in US...
    Adrian

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  10. #9

    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    I concur that the Burgess site has good advice. For several years, I have used three cheapo sunbeam humidifiers, hooked up to a reliable humidity-sensor on/off switch. The humidifiers are on a wall a good ten feet from my instruments, and I use a small fan to even out the humidity. The downside is that for the size of my room I end up filling each humidifier daily. But there is no muss, fuss, or cleaning to do (I had a ventawasher and despite the claims they get gunky). Perfect system as long as you're home. For vacations, i pack everything up in cases and use case humidifiers, but I so like having instruments out and within arms reach.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    I've owned a LOT of room humidifiers over the years, to humidify the room where I keep my instruments. You want a unit with a digital hygrometer. But the sad truth is that it's hit or miss finding a unit with a hygrometer that is even halfway accurate - which is OK, as long as it is consistently wrong, since then you can buy a quality hygrometer, calculate the variance between actual humidity and the percentage shown on the humidifier, and then adjust the humidifier accordingly.

    I've generally been most impressed with units by Air-O-Swiss - though they have, unfortunately, changed their name to "Boneco." Most recently, I went high-end and bought their S450 steam humidifier, which creates mist by boiling water, rather than by ultrasonic vibration. Pricey, and I only had a chance to use it for a month of winter conditions (I will put it back into full-time use in the next month or so), but for that one month it was excellent. It has the most accurate hygrometer I've seen on a humidifier (though still not perfect), and is very easy to clean, since it is one big open reservoir with a large lid (rather than a removable tank with a small hole you have to reach your hand through to clean inside). Every week I cleaned the boiling plate with some white vinegar, and it looks as good as new afterwards.

  12. #11
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    Location .. being on the Pacific Northwest Coast , I've not been short on humidity..
    writing about music
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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    Quote Originally Posted by mjbee View Post
    I concur that the Burgess site has good advice. For several years, I have used three cheapo sunbeam humidifiers, hooked up to a reliable humidity-sensor on/off switch. The humidifiers are on a wall a good ten feet from my instruments, and I use a small fan to even out the humidity. The downside is that for the size of my room I end up filling each humidifier daily. But there is no muss, fuss, or cleaning to do (I had a ventawasher and despite the claims they get gunky). Perfect system as long as you're home. For vacations, i pack everything up in cases and use case humidifiers, but I so like having instruments out and within arms reach.
    I'm interested in knowing more about your humidity sensor on/off switch.

    I also heat with wood and have various hygrometers around the house, none of which I trust that much now that I have mandolins to protect.

    Sue

  14. #13
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    I'm interested in knowing more about your humidity sensor on/off switch.

    I also heat with wood and have various hygrometers around the house, none of which I trust that much now that I have mandolins to protect.

    Sue
    Most folks recommend Caliber IV digital hygrometer for reliability. I have old lab (human hair) hygrometer that I calibrated and they do agree well though the digital unit is very sensitive and sometimes just walking around it will immediately change the read humidity. The analog unit is much more stable but still reacts quite rapidly to sudden changes.
    I've got simple dehumidifier with analog sensor/switch built in (no number reading, just low/high arrows) and it proved very reliable, once I set it to get 45% on hygrometer it keeps the humidity at proper level. (But I have very stable temperature all the year round as well - uninsulated rooms with changing temperatures can make it impossible to keep constant RH)
    Adrian

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  16. #14
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    Most folks recommend Caliber IV digital hygrometer for reliability. I have old lab (human hair) hygrometer that I calibrated and they do agree well though the digital unit is very sensitive and sometimes just walking around it will immediately change the read humidity. The analog unit is much more stable but still reacts quite rapidly to sudden changes.
    I've got simple dehumidifier with analog sensor/switch built in (no number reading, just low/high arrows) and it proved very reliable, once I set it to get 45% on hygrometer it keeps the humidity at proper level. (But I have very stable temperature all the year round as well - uninsulated rooms with changing temperatures can make it impossible to keep constant RH)
    Thanks, Adrian, I will look up that hygrometer.

    Uninsulated rooms with changing temperatures - that's exactly what I have in the main part of my house, which has evolved from an old brick structure that was never intended to be a house. The living room, where I like to practice, has a wide diurnal temperature fluctuation in the winter. Even if I keep the instruments in a different part of the house, do I need to worry about bringing them out to play? I can set up a humidifier, but what about quick temperature changes between, say, 63F and 80-ish?

    [Edit to post]: I looked at the article on the Burgess site That's a really good article that answered a lot of questions for me. And he actually sells some calibrated hygrometers and a control unit through his site. Wow, I am glad I looked at the article. He mentions a temperature control unit as well, and it has got me thinking about how I can set up one of my spare bedrooms (my nest is currently empty) as a safe winter home for mandolins. I'd still rather play in the living room, though.
    Last edited by Sue Rieter; Oct-08-2020 at 9:07am.

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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    I use a 5 gallon evaporative...the ones with the large paper wicks (AirCare/Essick...all really the same thing) in a closed bedroom with all of the instruments. A fill lasts about a week in Minnesota winter. Works fine but the built in hygrometer is awful. Got an externally powered hygrometer that is the power supply for the humidifier. A bit tricky to set up but not all that bad once you get it figured out. DAYTON 1UHG3 Humidifier Control, Plug In, 120 V. Around $40. Works great. Set it then turn the humidifiers built in controls all the way up.

    When I go on vacation I move the humidifier (and Dayton) into the bathroom and close the door. Have been gone over two weeks with water still in the reservoir when I returned.

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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    Quote Originally Posted by ajh View Post
    I use a 5 gallon evaporative...the ones with the large paper wicks (AirCare/Essick...all really the same thing) in a closed bedroom with all of the instruments. A fill lasts about a week in Minnesota winter. Works fine but the built in hygrometer is awful. Got an externally powered hygrometer that is the power supply for the humidifier. A bit tricky to set up but not all that bad once you get it figured out. DAYTON 1UHG3 Humidifier Control, Plug In, 120 V. Around $40. Works great. Set it then turn the humidifiers built in controls all the way up.

    When I go on vacation I move the humidifier (and Dayton) into the bathroom and close the door. Have been gone over two weeks with water still in the reservoir when I returned.
    I need to add to this.....the external Dayton hygrometer works fine on older style evaporative models with knob controls. Mine died last spring (a motor froze up) and I replaced it with a newer one with electric controls. The Dayton will not work with the new ones because when the power is cut at the Dayton the humidifier button needs to be manually turned back on. I'll be disconnecting the humidifier power switch today and installing a jumper to get around that problem.

  20. #17

    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    I'd avoid ultrasonic if you have electronics in the room. They give off a mineral dust (if you're not using distilled water) that will stick to anything electronic. I tried one last winter and first noticed a build up on my turntable cover (acrylic) then noticed that it was on everything electronic in the two rooms I was using it in, speakers, tv, etc. I completely covered the turntable with a beach towel and the dust still got to it, a lot of dust too. This mineral dust wasn't on any tables or furniture that I could see but it was all over the electronics. I'm back to evaporative.
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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    Quote Originally Posted by ajh View Post
    I need to add to this.....the external Dayton hygrometer works fine on older style evaporative models with knob controls. Mine died last spring (a motor froze up) and I replaced it with a newer one with electric controls. The Dayton will not work with the new ones because when the power is cut at the Dayton the humidifier button needs to be manually turned back on. I'll be disconnecting the humidifier power switch today and installing a jumper to get around that problem.
    Annnnd the jumper didn't work out as I'd hoped. The entire unit is controlled by a PC board. Wound up cutting out the electronics and hard wiring the motors to a new power cable with an inline off/on switch. Only runs on top speed. Plug that into the Dayton and it works fine. The older units with manual knobs work without any rewiring.

  23. #19
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    Quote Originally Posted by ColdBeerGoCubs View Post
    I'd avoid ultrasonic if you have electronics in the room. They give off a mineral dust (if you're not using distilled water) that will stick to anything electronic. I tried one last winter and first noticed a build up on my turntable cover (acrylic) then noticed that it was on everything electronic in the two rooms I was using it in, speakers, tv, etc. I completely covered the turntable with a beach towel and the dust still got to it, a lot of dust too. This mineral dust wasn't on any tables or furniture that I could see but it was all over the electronics. I'm back to evaporative.
    I have found that also unless you use distilled water always which is a pain. Also the sonic disks in them will mineralize also with regular water. Those mineral cartridges you can buy for them have never worked for me.

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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    I found a great hygrometer switch a couple of years ago, an Inkbird Digital Pre-Wired Outlet Dual Stage Humidity Controller, $42 from Amazon. It is reliable and accurate. It can be calibrated, but I tried it and it didn't really need it. I keep all my instruments hanging from the headstocks with leather straps in the closet in my office.

    The controller unit is on the wall outside the closet. The sensor is inside the closet. The humidifier is also inside the closet, hooked up to one of the female electrical connections on the Inkbird. I just use a simple Honeywell evaporative room humidifier on the lowest setting. The Inkbird keeps the humidity in any range I want. I set it to turn the humidifier on at 45% humidity and off at 50.

    Because the closet is a small space, I only have to refill the humidifier with tap water about once every other week during humidification season. I change the wick filter about once a month or when it shows any gunk. I also use purifying cartridges in the tank and the Honeywell passes all the water through UV light, which I guess is supposed to help.

    This Inkbird unit will also simultaneously monitor a dehumidifier, but I don't use one. They have a cheaper one that is a humidifier only controller.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    That Inkbird looks much nicer than the Dayton.....you can set ranges instead of just a target.

  27. #22

    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    I used the Inkbird Humidity Controller (Amazon has them for about $40. No financial interest here!) and found it to be very reliable. I also have the Caliber IV to make sure the inkbird switch is honest, and it's pretty much spot on.

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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    Most folks recommend Caliber IV digital hygrometer for reliability. I have old lab (human hair) hygrometer that I calibrated and they do agree well though the digital unit is very sensitive and sometimes just walking around it will immediately change the read humidity. The analog unit is much more stable but still reacts quite rapidly to sudden changes.
    I've got simple dehumidifier with analog sensor/switch built in (no number reading, just low/high arrows) and it proved very reliable, once I set it to get 45% on hygrometer it keeps the humidity at proper level. (But I have very stable temperature all the year round as well - uninsulated rooms with changing temperatures can make it impossible to keep constant RH)
    Newbie question. Is 45% RH considered ideal? What is the acceptable range?

  30. #24
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveGinNJ View Post
    Newbie question. Is 45% RH considered ideal? What is the acceptable range?
    There is a whole can of worms:
    Weber mandolins says 35-45% RH
    Apitius mandolins says 40-60%
    The Folk Musician site says 45-50% for mandolins

    If your manufacturer has a recommendation, I'd go with that. I keep mine between 45-50% to kind of stay in the middle of the recommendations. Although they will naturally get higher in the summer where I live, sometimes to 60%, but I just let that go, because it is so gradual and I have not had good luck with dehumidifiers. I may try some desiccant next Summer.

    Everyone agrees under 30 and over 60 is bad and sudden changes are bad.

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    Default Re: Room Humidifier recs

    I try to keep it around 50+ or -, but in the summer here it gets 80-90+ %. If you play outside you expose it to these high ranges of humidity. If you live in an area like this I try not to go too low in the winter. I would never let it get to 35%. In fact getting the humidifier ready for this year is on my list today.
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