Thinking about winter now that it's September. Last year I bought the very cheap Sunbeam Warm Steam Vaporizer (https://www.amazon.com/Sunbeam-Vaporizer-Humidifier-Filter-Free-1388-800-001N/dp/B001B2WP0Y/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF80) and it was a great pairing with the control unit I purchased from recommendations (the WILLHI WH1436H Mini controller).
The problem is that the Sunbeam has been discontinued and the head has lots of calcification from last year. I seem to remember that some forum members have cleaned thiers in the past - is my memory correct? Is it really possible to clean the head enough to get another season? I hate to try to find another model when this one worked so well.
You can fill the chamber with vinegar, plug it in OUTSIDE, and let it boil-off for a bit. This will loosen much of the mineral deposits that can then be scrubbed off with a plastic scrubber.
I use both a room humidifier and a Boveda in my violin case. My apartment gets VERY dry. Also, with the advent of the new hammered dulcimer I'll need to be even more careful. It's designed so that the wood interacts with the humidity so it doesn't impact the tuning so much, but obviously any wooden instrument is going to be susceptible.
Sadly, the Sunbeam steam vaporizer has been discontinued. I have enough of them skockpiled to last me for the rest of my life, but this doesn't really help anyone else.
My other half balances a tray of water on the CH radiator.
No worries about the smell of vinegar hanging around. I have done the vinegar boiling procedure many dozens of times. It rinses out thoroughly with no residual order.
An electric skillet and a small fan.
Thanks! It's on the balcony on a long extension cord and full of a 75% vinegar/filtered water mix as I didn't have quite enough vinegar. I'll keep an eye on it so it doesn't run dry.
Distilled vinegar is good to use.
Paul Deck wrote:
I agree with David -- certainly about the combustion byproduct -- but some people are leery of leaving a gas stove on while they are away from home, whereas an electric stove burner doesn't seem to create the same fears. For many years (grad school, etc.) I just left a pan of water on the stove on low heat to humidify my apartment, 24/7 unless I was cooking rice or noodles!
Once you get the mineral scale out of the humidifier, consider using de-ionized or distilled water - the scale problem should be minimized. For my case humidifiers, I put one or two drops of chlorine bleach in about 300 cc of water, and use that to replenish them - no scale; no mold.
I go through far too much water to keep that room humidified to buy it, sadly, and then it all has to get carried upstairs to my apartment. However, if I descale once a month this winter rather than not at all, that will help a lot :) Yes, I know, but it seemed fine.
Nobody ever reads the instructions that come with those things...
True Paul, I was chuckling over that myself :)
Charles, the Sunbeam vaporizer(s) in my shop go through as much as 4 gallons per day, during a really cold spell. So it's much more economical for me to replace them when they get so much mineral buildup that they stop working, than to buy distilled water.
I was using Vicks Warm Mist humidifiers which worked really well and used a heating element to boil the water, so distilled water could be used if one so desired (but it would be really expensive!).
A super-accurate and reliable setup, costing only around a hundred bucks or less (purchase price) to keep a practice room or small shop humidified, if anyone is wondering.
Haven't read the whole pile, so please forgive me if I'm off topic. Instead of vinegar, you might prefer to use citric acid. It's cheap, and it's odorless.
David has a good point about the electrolyte -- I prefer sodium bicarbonate as it seems less corrosive than sodium chloride. My water is soft enough that I have to add a pinch of bicarb to my tap water. Bicarb also doesn't leave deposits like magnesium, calcium, and iron mineral compounds will. I also agree with David about the cost of deionized water, it's close to $1.00 a gallon at the supermarket. (Which always makes me chuckle -- and not in a good way -- when I think about GASOLINE being $2 to $3 per gallon.)
Nuuska, I think I'll try my coffee descaler sometime, Dezcal, which is citric acid and sulfamic acid. Works way better in my coffee maker than vinegar.
Stan, I have one of those Honeywells. It works fine, and is easier to refill than the cheaper ones I recommend, because the water reservoir lifts away using the handle at the top, and can be carried easily with one hand. The only reason I haven't recommended it is that many reviewers have had issues with it leaking water. Mine has not, but I can see how the design makes it more vulnerable to leakage than the one I recommend, this one:
I used a Honeywell that looked much like that for 2 winters and it was prone to leaking that second winter.the combo of the Sunbeam and the control unit David recommended worked far better. My violin was much happier though it is a different violin with an upgraded case.
Dave, thanks for the link. For 15 bucks that is practically disposable! Good water capacity too.
There were 4 of the Vicks warm mist humidifiers that David linked to a local store, I bought two of them. They won't spoil in my closet as I'm sure the Sunbeam will die at some point and with my luck the Vicks will be out of production by then.
Lisa I believe the "cool mist" or "ultrasonic" types of humidifiers are not recommended because they tend to deposit minerals from the droplets whereas a true vapor humidifier won't do that.
For coffee equipment I use
I had a Vicks (maybe warm mist? not sure) secondhand from a friend meaning no instruction manual, didn't know about cleaning it, until...well, it was nasty (maybe that's why it seemed like it wasn't doing anything useful) and in the process of multiple soakings and scrubbings, I managed to crack plastic in unsuitable places. After multiple scoldings from my luthier about open seams, I finally bought a Vornado evaporative model, which is pricier, massive, and requires periodic wick replacement, but it appropriately humidifies my open living room space and turns the motor off automatically. I have a Dampp-Chaser piano system too and use a bit of the pad treatment in the humidifier jugs.