I need to purchase a humidifier for my violin.
I'm looking into this one, which I found through David Burgess' website: Sunbeam Warm Steam Vaporizer, 1388-800.
My question is, do I have to buy a Humidity Controller as well (e.g. WILLHI WH1436H Air Humidity Controller)? Do these two machines work together? Or is simply a humidifier enough?
If you are familiar with these utensils, it would be helpful if you can let me know how they work.
The Sunbeam will create humidity, but will run constantly without the controller. With the controller, you can set the humidity to a specific target and the Sunbeam will come on/off as needed.
BEWARE: a cold or even hot "stream" vaporizer may emit water vapor that exceeds the room air's dew point (supersaturates). The excess moisture may condense and "rain" or at least wet some surfaces.
Andrew brings up a good point. Too much humidity can become a problem, particularly on very cold days -- it may condense on the windows. I occasionally (on very cold days) have to run my system at a lower humidity than I'd like to keep the windows from condensing.
I live in Michigan about 50 miles from DB so the humidification issues here are similar. I use his setup: an inexpensive bubbling humidifier with an external controller to keep the humidity in one room of my house between 40-60 percent. Yes, I do get window condensation in this really cold weather we are having. But I also get window condensation in all the other rooms of my house. I mop up the excess with a rag each morning to prevent mildew. My violin, stored in the humidified room, seems to be doing okay. Some of the places I play are very dry. You can tell by the way the bow hair tightens up within 15 or 20 minutes of playing. Doesn't seem to be a real problem for the violin, however.
Window condensation does not mean supersaturation except at the surface of the window which will be much colder in winter than the air in the room.
Like Douglas has already said, the Sunbeam steam vaporizer, by itself, will continue to emit steam as long as it's plugged in and doesn't run out of water. It is the controller which allows it to perform much better than much more expensive units.
Some safety tips from the Mayo Clinic regarding humidifiers:
The list Nate posted covers the main reasons why I use and recommend the Sunbeam steam units, rather than some other style.
Thank you to everyone's helpful and informative responses!
In fact with David's type of humidifier, if your water has naturally low mineral content you may need to add, for example, a little baking soda. But only once. I agree with David's assessment of benefits and risks for that type of device. Still, everything can stand a cleaning once in a while. Even a violin...