Stretto vs Boveda
As mentioned in a recent thread I do have an inexpensive warm mist humidifier and one of David's control units. My luthier has strongly suggested I add an in-case humidifier given where I live, and my instrument has obviously had previous cracks. A beautiful sound, and it's also had it's adventures over the last 100+ years.
I've a Boveda I bought last year but never used as it wouldn't fit in my previous case. Unsure I like it against my instrument. The Stretto seems to be recommended as well, though it is more expensive - and the bags seem to last longer?
Pros and cons of both in-case options? Leaning toward the Stretto based on reviews.
I don't think I will need to add the in-case option for a bit longer so I've time to research a bit. My humidifier will likely go on in the next week or so - when my room hygrometer drops <40%. It does get tested periodically with the saline test.
Thanks in advance!
Boveda will last a few months, normally. Stretto, I think, requires regular re-filling, and that involves a modicum of skill and irritation.
My new Bobelock case has plenty of room for it, and for some reason I didn't think it lasted as long as the Stretto. Good to know!
As long as it has a gelatinous consistency, you are OK. When it starts feeling granular, it has had it. If you have to use it to hydrate a case and violin in 8% RH, that may come sooner. But we are normally talking weeks or months instead of days.
Good to know, also finding out the humidity levels differ in my apartment. If this holds I may store my instrument in a different room than I practice in.
We just had our daughter's cello repaired at Potter's. The luthier there saw that we were using a Boveda system, and he advised us to use two Dampits instead and to refresh them daily. This is a $9000 cello. Yes it's possible to refresh Dampits in such a way that they do not drip water inside your instrument.
Good to know Paul! I'm too nervous to try the Damipts right now, but will hold that option open. I'm also hoping the better/tighter construction of my Bobelock case will help manage this as well.
One difference with the cello is that when you hang the Dampits in there, they don't dangle all over the inside surfaces of the instrument. I use an old-fashioned steam humidifier in the room where I keep my violin and my viola.
After several different cheaper humidifiers and a leaky Dampit, I switched to a Venta airwasher, to humidify the apartment. Quiet, easy to maintain, and it does the job. Highly recommend this brand.
I always use distilled or purified water in any humidifier - our water is VERY hard. Apparently this one doesn't use a lot of water - and the reviews (if real) bear that out. Of course that's a huge assumption - good point on the cool mist ultrasonic style of humidifier, thanks!
No, you don't HAVE to use distilled water in a steam humidifier. Some of them won't even work with distilled water, because they rely on some mineral content to make the water conductive to electricity.
Thanks David - pity my current small Sunbeam vaporizer is so blasted loud...I've canceled the order I made last night to give me a bit more research time.
My practice studio is the same room as my home office. I find that the vaporizer (steam) is quiet enough that I can ignore it while I am working. If I want pure quiet while I am practicing, then I just unplug it for that interval. As David has correctly noted, generally the steam vaporizers require the water inside to have some modest electrical conductivity so the owner's manual will suggest adding a pinch of salt (I use baking soda) to the water, but only a small pinch. But our water is pretty soft, maybe around 50 ppm total hardness. (In the lab course I teach at Virginia Tech, measuring the total hardness of the local tap water is one of our experiments. All around our geography is limestone/karst so you'd think the water would be harder, but the New River is actually fairly soft.) However, if your water is really hard, you'll find that scale builds up on the electrodes of your steam humidifier pretty quickly. If you have an in-home water softener then your tap water should work fine, because the magnesium and calcium (and possibly iron) in your water supply will have been mostly exchanged for sodium in the softener, and ionic compounds of sodium are much more soluble. Otherwise, again you should follow the manufacturer's instructions for de-scaling your steam humidifer. I suppose you could also consider rainwater or snowmelt collection for your humidifer.
Catherine, you don't find the bubbling sound pleasant and soothing, like the sound of a babbling brook? ;-)
The thing about apartment dwelling is I can't change the windows :-) They are 2-pane however, and they just replaced the window on my studio/home office. I need to get used to bubbling sounds and I CAN unplug it when I need to do so.
Again I agree with David that the low-price steam units are basically disposable, although it seems a shame, particularly when you consider that the low price is only because (a) it's probably made in a sweat shop somewhere and (b) it's mostly made of plastic, for which we never pay "full price" if you consider the environmental impacts of petroleum extraction and plastic in our waste streams. The 2-gallon water reservoir is high-density polyethylene, however, which is recyclable. What I wish is that Sunbeam would just sell the head portion alone, or that they would design it with more invasive maintenance procedures in mind instead of just molding and snapping the thing together so that you can't take it apart without destroying it.
The Sunbeam 1388-800 "warm mist" vaporizer, combined with the Willhi humidity control unit are what I am pushing right now (and what I use myself), the result of years of testing multiple things. Back when the Greenair controller was the best thing on the market, I pushed those too. If something better comes along, I'll be all over it.
I really appreciate the comments, and I will stick with the bubbling Sunbeam and upgrade my controller with the one David linked to with the alarm. The Dayton won't go unused.
Oh, the Dayton. The advantage of the Dayton is that it's very simple to use. Just turn the dial to set the desired humidity. The disadvantages are that it will only control a humidifier (not a dehumidifier), and that it has no other features such as alarms, the ability to set the spread between "on" and "off", or the ability to correct the humidity level shown on the display.
David, as you noted on your website, the Dayton readings aren't trustworthy. So I test my other hygrometers and use that to estimate the best setting for the Dayton. That being said, now I've invested rather more in my "new" instrument I want more accuracy to hopefully help prevent an avoidable expensive repair and the price isn't bad. Thanks again for the recommendation!
"I grew up in the era of cars with manual roll-up windows. LOL"
The new humidifier controller suggested by David works well and the programming is straightforward. I decided on the Boveda for now - I thought it best to go ahead and start using it before winter really settles in to keep consistent conditions.