Home and case humidity and winter
I live in a flat where is impossible to hold down the humidity in the winter time. We have between 70 - 85% (sometimes over 90 for a shorter period of time). I bought hygrometer into my case (I will do the calibration - I know how to do it).
During this time, I have problems with tuning and worst sound. I am thinking about using silicagel in the case to decrease humidity a little bit. I just go to play on the lessons once a week. And I play at home between 1 - 3 hours a day (maybe less, sometimes more at weekend).
Do you think silicagel is a good solution? I would like to keep my violin in better humidity. Is it not bad to put violin out into higher humidity for avg 2 hrs a day? When I hope in case with silicagel I can manage around 60% or 65%?
I think that most of the time is good to have lower than whole winter in 80%.
Thanks for opinions.
Be careful about that. You think it's more humid, but it's not. In cold weather the steam turns into dew easier, hence the humid sensation. But the absolute environmental humidity is often lower. Biggest problem in winter is dryness of the heated houses.
I use a heated humidifier in my room to prevent nosebleeds in the winter due to the dry winter air in my region. Maybe try one of those? It could potentially save you a bit on your gas bill because it's electric, but I'm no expert.
Carlos, thanks for the reply. Yes I know, the weather is my hobby :) but I am not specialist about wood and instruments moisture so I am looking forward to every advice. I am living in 300 year old very very very humid house. We have huge problems with high humidity, so in the winter (now is zero degrees Celsius), we have huge humidity, here in bedroom where I am now, is 22 degrees and 88% humidity, it is terrifying, we fight with it, but what we shall do, all houses with heating just in 2 from 5 rooms ...
Kristen Stadelmaier: thanks for the tips, I have a different problem, so high humidity, nosebleeds issues I have at a job where is around 20% RH and air-conditioned air. D'addario humidipacks sounds interesting, I have heard about them that can balance, reduce or increase, it would be fine, I am also looking for new case with more space.
And I just add information, it is 100 years old violin around 3000usd price
If you can cut down humidity to 70% right before your practice time and keep your violin around the same, or bit less, your violin will be ok. Extremes aside, what is problematic are huge differences in temperature and humidity. For example, if you take your violin for a chamber music session at your friend's house with central heating and humidity at 25%.
Rocky: yes that can be a huge problem. It is clear to me that the worst are great changes. But I would like to keep my violin in a little bit better humidity when it is "sleeping". Because humidity in the case and around is going to be equal, I think that will be possible to hold little less in the storage. Of course, I can shortly decrease room humidity by opening windows, not for long, I have a 2 years old daughter and it is freezing almost. And I think and hope, that holding the violin case humidity at 60%, while around is 70-80% during that few winter months, but I don't know the better solution. Or should I let it be?
I see only 2 solution: a room dehumidifier, or humidipacks. I have a veggy bag full of silica capsules in my case (saved from medication bottles). I don't find it supper effective, lowering my case by a few rH units only, from 62 down to maybe 56, but that's all I need. I dry them out once in a while. The Boveda humidipack system (also sold under the D'addario label) would most likely work better for you and works both ways.
Oh, sorry, I read the original post too fast and misunderstood! I'd say a dehumidifier, then, or the humidipacks, like Roger says! I'd never thought about the scilia packs; that's a great idea!
Martin, I'd be interested in knowing what you are doing to produce such a high indoor humidity in the winter. As Carlos mentioned, typically one has the opposite problem when outdoor temperatures get low.
Roger St-Pierre: thanks for tip I will look at that, I thought about silica gel as a quick and easy solution, at least slowing down humidity penetration.
OK, it sounds like the house has water infiltration issues. Thanks for explaining. I'll give it some more thought.
Your situation is challenging... Almost an engineering problem, considering limited resources.
I say this:
At my day job as a BAS tech. we humidify constantly and monitor it. One building houses over 50 Steinway grand pianos. They get nervous if the humidity gets too low. 60% is a goal we usually shoot for. It is common though to have less than 50% using commercial humidifiers all winter here.
Timothy, that isn't a bad idea. To lower the relative humidity from 80 to 60 percent (which I like to use as an upper limit with violins), the temperature would need to be raised from 70F to about 80 F.
Timothy and David, ha that is not a bad idea. I am Unix system programmer and I was used to programming a controlling systems, my hobby is to play with microchips programming (Atmel family etc) and I can do this at home, I have a few projects especially for weather monitoring made by me from scratch, but I did not have an idea to do this, maybe for a lack of space in our flat, we are in a very small place with child, but I think there can be possible places :) We have 3 violins at home (I have two and my wife has one). But this is a very long time project, I don't have a lot of spare time, and if I have one, I will spend it with my daughter or playing the violin :) So it is little bit long-term run.
Cotton Mather: I hope for it, because high humidity is scaring me more and more
Carlos D'Agulleiro: Yes it is, first I will try (as recommended) D'Addario two way pouches and try to isolate my case and stop absorbing new moisture from surrounding air. The worst thing is that it is great humidity but just for a few months. In the summer time we have a great 60% almost all the summer, sometimes near 50%.
Well, after all I agree with Cotton Mather very much. Like all specialized forums, we have a flair for the snobbism and seems like whatever isn't ideal, it's a disaster and unacceptable.
Carlos, yes I agree too, but it is maybe normal human nature to be overprotective or obsessed with hobbies. My country has a beautiful violin tradition, my luthier is, I think, 4th or 5th in the line of family craft and my violin is made here too.
Martin, I cannot believe that during winter in central Europe you could possibly have humidity 70-85% at home. In climatic zones where one needs to heat up the apartment during winter is a too low humidity level a big problem in fact. During winter the humidity drops down significantly compared to summer. If you had a 85 % humidity during winter, you would have to live at a swimming pool.
Robert Bauza: Hi Robert, I have 8 hygrometers, I am also in making free weather station measurement, I can create and calibrate my own hygrometers so believe me :) We have gas heating in 2 from 5 rooms, old house with wet walls.
Here's something that's fun to play with, and informative. By moving the temperature and humidity sliders, it will give rough assessments for speed of natural aging, and risk of mechanical damage, mold, and metal corrosion (targeted at preservation of collection items, like in museums and libraries).
@Martin, you and I have something in common for certain! I built my own weather station when I was in middle school (including anemometer - not easy! took much experimentation) and had a graph of high and low daily temperature observation for two years stretching across the wall of my room!
The gas heating is contributing to the high humidity if the burner is inside the room. I once left my flat with the gas stove on, and when I returned 5 hours later the wallpaper in the kitchen was soaking wet.
"It's not a reason to be careless, but neither it is to over-worry."
David Burgess: Thanks David, that is so cool :-)
Bo Pontopiddan is very right pointing the gas burners. It is not a matter of ventilation of gas, but of the burners chemical reaction (C3H8 + 5 O2 -> 3 CO2 + 4 H2O + Heat). 4 burners all day long, they can add to a lot of water.
Carlos D'Agulleiro: hmm, that makes sense, I love the book/movie and I know physics but less chemistry, you are right. Even in our flat where humidity was high even when heaters were turned off, but humidity is highest where heaters are not, we have 2 rooms, 1 kitchen, corridor, toilet and bathroom, the heaters are in kitchen and 1 room, wet is worst at corridor, toilet, than bathroom and kitchen (due to cooking also).
@David Burgress, I agree keeping the design the most simple possible would cut down on problems. It wouldn't take much heat and it would be easy to build it. I seen a PID that does both temperature and humidity for low price on ebay. If making one I would have some redundancy built in to it, fail to no heat,alarms or all of the above. Getting much more complex are the scientific units that maintain exact temp/humidity. They are very expensive
When you say "gas heating" do you mean the gas is heating a glowing panel inside the room, or do you mean you have a gas boiler that runs radiators in the room?
The light bulb chamber sounds like a cool solution, but electric space heaters may spread the wealth a little further. (Not without cost, sadly...)
Gas heaters used to be ventilated into a chimney. Cooking on gas without a kitchen extractor hood is much worse.
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