Room vs Case Humidifier

January 21, 2019, 8:26 PM · My violin case is too small for a humidifier, and am considering just getting a small room humidifier instead. Except for when I go to my lessons my violin stays in my room that doubles as my practice/study room. It just doesn't travel beyond lessons.

Are there any downsides to this? It's a small room so it wouldn't require anything large. Curious what others may have used for this.

Replies (7)

January 21, 2019, 8:49 PM · I use a steam humdifier. I have a device that tells me what the relative humidity in the room is. I am for around 40-45% in the wintertime at 65 F. Luthier David Burgess has studied this in some detail and he has a whole website on various methods and devices.

I change the water in my steam humidifier every other day and I add a small measured quantity (about 1/4 tsp) of sodium bicarbonate to the water as an electrolyte which gives a good rate of steam for my device and for my room with my water. It's a two-gallon Sunbeam unit which lasts two days.

I do not recommend cool-mist humidifiers.

January 21, 2019, 9:53 PM · Room humidifier, definitely. You're better off controlling the room climate than the case climate and it's too easy to get the case humidity wrong.
January 21, 2019, 10:11 PM · Agree 100% with Lydia. Think of how small the enclosed space of a case is. It is far easy for too much moisture to make the case overly humid. Never use an f hole snake humidifier as they can cause water damage to the violin. My added suggestion is to use purified, preferably distilled water, without salts added to keep down the precipitates evaporating from the water. Here’s a link to Dave Burgess’ comments on humidity.

http://www.burgessviolins.com/humidity.html

Ironically, when I was young, I used to think the f-hole sponges were neat but my teachers (smartly) never allowed them. Thankfully, I listened.

Edited: January 21, 2019, 10:55 PM · As most of the people have said here already, a room humidifier is probably much better. I'm not really for those case humidifiers or the Dampits which people insert inside their violins. Dampits have known to cause water damage in instruments.

I use a Honeywell HCM-350 which you could get at many hardware stores including Home Depot. It doesn't emit any mist. The humidifier uses UV technology to kill bacteria, mold, fungus and viruses in water which is a definite concern when you have sitting water. I also recommend cleaning humidifiers with a little bleach every several days.


January 21, 2019, 11:27 PM · If you can get the room right, all will be well. But that can be a time-consuming nuisance, depending on your climate and the size of the room.

One useful alternative I have found is the Boveda humidifier packs, which can usually fit somewhere in the case. Pick a level—like 49%— and it will keep things pretty good for a few months. They require no water, with its need for maintenance and threats of damage.

January 22, 2019, 5:42 AM · Jane, the steam vaporizers which boil the water by passing electrical current through it won't work very well with distilled water. The water needs some mineral content to be sufficiently electrically conductive. As Paul mentioned, adding a little bicarbonate of soda will increase the conductivity of water which doesn't have enough natural mineral content.
January 22, 2019, 6:19 AM · Thanks for all of the helpful information, it is appreciated! You've confirmed my thought that even if my case did have room for a humidifier that a room solution would be preferable.

As winter has finally hit Indianapolis and I've a drafty apartment, I also no longer leave my violin outside of the case between practices if I practice more than once a day - this only happens on the weekend (and they are shorter sessions when this happens). This may be over-thinking, or not, but I want to take proper care of my lovely instrument that I hope to one day be able to play as it deserves (I'm a recent returnee)

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