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Dryin' out in Virginia: recommendations?


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So, it's that time of year again. This year we went from the days of 70% humidity to the days of 20% in a matter of a week.

I have 13 guitars that I keep in their cases in my living-room. On the second floor, I have other delicate instruments that can't be moved. My house's plan is a bit awkward, since it's an open-floorplan town house and the only rooms with doors (besides the bathrooms, of course) are the bedrooms located on the top floor, where it's even colder and drier.

Replacing and refilling Damp-its in 13 different cases every couple days for 4 months is also a bit awkward. I buy the big ones (for double bass, I believe), since they hold more moisture and they don't fall into the F-holes of my archtops (they are a pain to pull out when that happens).  On one of my guitars, a turn of the century Bavarian shield-guitar, there is not even an open hole to put a Damp-it in. Then there are the necks to humidify too... and the other instruments upstairs...

So I have decided to get a humidifier--preferably an ultrasonic-type humidifier so I don't have to mess with moldy and expensive filters. I have tried one built into my heating unit, but, again given the layout of my house, it was only making a dent in the basement, where it gets too hot in the winter and where I would never keep guitars.

For those of you who have experience with humidifiers, what should I look for--and do you recommend specific models? Each of my floors is about 500 square feet--could there be one model that humidifies at least two floors? PS: this will be my last-ever town house!

Thanks in advance for the help!







Edited by TomLeoni
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Hi Tom,

Imho ultrasonic humidifiers are not the best. They spread a white dust all over your house. This is a maintenance nightmare.

Evaporator humidifiers are recommended by several people on AGF (Acoustic Guitar Forum).  Many recommend Vornado brand. I use Honeywell brand. As far as filters they need to be replaced regularly, every month or two. I also use Protec cartridges in the water tanks to keep the water clean and fresh. I empty my water tanks every two to three days, remove my filter and soak it in a sink full of water. This helps keep things fresh and clean. This may sound like a lot of work but compared to managing multiple cases and instruments I feel it’s far easier.

I monitor the humidity and am able to maintain 42%-50%. I split time between Minnesota and Arizona. When it’s very dry I add Humidipaks to my cases.

Hope that helps.



Edited by jschmitz54
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Hey , what kind of heat source do you have in your home ?  going from 70 percent to 20 percent in a couple of weeks sounds like you have way to much air extraction and dry air heat source,like a wood stove and a dehumidifier blasting away .? Baseboard heat is very dry as well .

Boil water for tea , make a nice homemade soup from stock ,double down on you boiled potatoes ...get some moisture back in the air .

It`s not rocket science ,,,perhaps it is  lol  If you heat with wood ,have a kettle on it  ,  good luck .


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I'd try to tackle it room by room.  I use smaller mist creating ones and able to manage, but able to close doors etc...  when I need to.  Maybe get a little larger one if needed.  I'd try for 1 per room, but if that didn't work, I'd be willing to do 2 per room for thr # of guitars you're talking.

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Even with a pot of water on the wood stove I can only manage about 35% in the winter here in Indiana.

I use the sponge in a baggy trick for my six cases. 

You don't have to have a door, you can put up a curtain for a closet door.  Add a humidifier and a small ceramic heater and you can keep it what ever you want pretty easy.

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I also use the smaller ones that only cover one room, and agree that the ultrasonic ones are problematic due to the mineral deposits. I went through 3 ultrasonics and they never lasted more than about a year, they just stopped being effective after awhile. Had a couple with wicking filters and they worked well, but the filters needed changing often which gets expensive. Now I have one that heats the water and it really is the best I've used.  Needs regular cleaning though because scale builds up on the heating element.

They're all kind of a pain in one way or another. But I can keep the humidity in the 45% to 50% range in my guitar room during the winter and my guitars sit on stands out of the case. A woodstove is my primary heat source, and I have a big cast iron pot of water on it. It goes through a couple of quarts of water a day, so I guess that goes into the air, but it's still pretty dry in that room, usually in the 30% to 40% range.

Edited by Boyd
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