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Thread: Whole House Humidification Systems

  1. #1
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    Aug 2017
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    Pennsylvania, USA
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    Default Whole House Humidification Systems

    After only one dry season of soundhole humidifiers, I really wish I could just leave my ukes out on stands around the house. So I recently began researching home humidifiers. It seems that if you live in a normal-sized house, you can get a home humidification system installed for less than $1000.

    Has anyone gone down this route? What brand and type of system did you get? Is the system sufficient to keep your home at 40% relative humidity year round? Did you run into any problems/drawbacks?

    It looks like this could be the ultimate solution for keeping my instruments in good shape and not have to keep them locked away in their cases all the time. Am I dreaming, or could this work?

  2. #2
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    Apr 2018
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    YES! We've had it in 2 of our 3 homes. Worth every penny. We paid $400 back in 2010 in a townhome. We paid $550 this year in a 2000 sqft home. Both times they installed. Aprilaire is the main brand. I think our new one is a Holmes. Humidity on both levels stays between 35-45%. Without it, my elementary music classroom is regularly at 10-20% humidity through the winter.

  3. #3
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    Apr 2018
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    The only issue is that you need forced air heating ductwork to add the whole house humidifier to.
    If you have a boiler(piping not ductwork) you can’t add that type of humidifier.

  4. #4
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    Also.. you have to keep the filter clean/replaced, and make sure that you dont get calcium buildup on the bit the water comes out, or where it drops into the tray that drips on to the filter.

  5. #5
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    FYI, if outdoor temps drop below 20F, you should not keep the house humidity at 40%. For every 10F drop in temp, the house humidity should drop by 5%. So, for example, if the outdoor temps are 0F then the indoor humidity should be no higher than 30%. At 10F, no higher than 35%. At -10F, no higher than 25% and so on.
    Ohana CK-42R concert - solid sinker redwood top, solid rosewood back and sides, maple binding
    Kala KA-FMCG concert- solid spruce top, laminate spalted flame maple back and sides, mahogany binding

    Money can't buy happiness but it can buy a ukulele which is basically the same thing.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikelz777 View Post
    FYI, if outdoor temps drop below 20F, you should not keep the house humidity at 40%. For every 10F drop in temp, the house humidity should drop by 5%. So, for example, if the outdoor temps are 0F then the indoor humidity should be no higher than 30%. At 10F, no higher than 35%. At -10F, no higher than 25% and so on.
    What is the reasoning behind this?

  7. #7
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    Feb 2012
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    High humidity indoors with cold temps outdoors can possibly lead to condensation/freezing within interior walls and attic spaces which in turn could lead to moisture, mold/mildew, rot etc. I'm getting the information from a "Fixit" column which appeared in the Mpls. Star Tribune. I know when I tried to keep the humidity at 40% in the dead of a Minnesota winter I was getting moisture on my windows which is not a good thing.
    Last edited by mikelz777; 04-10-2018 at 01:11 PM.
    Ohana CK-42R concert - solid sinker redwood top, solid rosewood back and sides, maple binding
    Kala KA-FMCG concert- solid spruce top, laminate spalted flame maple back and sides, mahogany binding

    Money can't buy happiness but it can buy a ukulele which is basically the same thing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Michigan, US
    Posts
    100

    Default

    I have a whole house humidifier. When there's condensation along the bottom of the inside window panes, humidity is too high, so I turn it down. This happens as outside temps fluctuate. I still have to humidify my instruments in hard cases. A whole house system is great, but not a complete solution for wood instruments.
    Margaret, long-time classical guitarist gone uke crazy
    Concert: Kala ziricote, KA-ZCT-C - gCEA (Worth BM46)
    Tenor: Kala solid mahogany, KA-SMHT - gCEA (Worth BT63)
    Baritone: Kala solid cedar top acacia, KA-ABP-CTG - DGBE (NYL033W, NYL028W, Savarez Alliance KF74 .030", KF62 .024")

  9. #9
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    Nov 2017
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    Mikelz777 is correct. 40% was too high in my home with temps in the 20's, and condensation began to form on the windows. The aprilaire dial (my unit is older and not digital) it has a guide for humidity setting based on outdoor temperature. I don't remember the exact settings, but below freezing it suggested humidity settings below my desired 40%. I played with it until I stopped getting condensation (around 36-38%).

    The good news is they actually work, I was down to 30% humidity and started using the whole house humidifier to get back up to around 36-38%. I placed hygrometers all over the house and one on top of a vent (farthest from air handler) and the humidity coming out of the vent was 40%+. It did take a few days to humidify the house back to a stable level, but keep in mind everything absorbs moisture. Even wood furniture absorbs moisture and expands/contracts. If your house humidity is in the 20% range, I'd suggest you use the whole house humidifier. The Aprilaire units are about $250-300. If you are a DIYer you can easily install yourself. If not, pay a couple hundred extra for the install.

    The big question is what kind of heating do you have? You need forced air with an air handler to use the Aprilaire drip type humidifier. Another question is how well your house is sealed/airtight. Too drafty and your humidifier won't work, too airtight and you can get mold as Mikelz777 pointed out. In Alaska, modern houses are so well insulated and airtight that they have humidity releases upstairs typically at the apex of the house. I see you are in PA, I am in VA for reference. I have only solid wood ukes and leave them out year round.

    Another item of note is your instruments origins. I've read that Hawaiian built ukes are made of wood cured and built in higher humidity, so they may shrink a great deal if kept at lower humidity levels. Something from say China or built in the Eastern US may fare better at your humidity ranges. As I get older, I realize I want to buy and use stuff, not preserve it forever. I am not a collector. An ukulele that has to be carefully wiped down and packed with a humidity pack into an indestructible case will not see much use by me. I like to have them out and ready to play on each level of my house. I have two Outdoor Ukuleles in the kid zones just so I have something to play when in that room. Yesterday I heard one being banged on the kitchen floor like Thor's hammer. One year old cried as I took it away, so I said screw it and gave it back. I think an ukulele is built to resonate, one way or another.
    Last edited by Heavy2600; 04-11-2018 at 12:53 AM.

  10. #10

    Default

    Yes this is my experience as well.... didn't realize I had to turn it down until the second winter. I've always kept it at around 40.... But turn it down in the winter, and it has decreased condensation around the windows.

    For me I have a hygrometer in my living area where my Ukes are and I run a standalone humidifier when I need to bump it to ~40. I personally do not keep my Uke in cases since I play everyday, and I only have two Ukuleles. Maybe if I had a fleet of high end Ukuleles I would go to more extreme measures to protect them.

    Quote Originally Posted by twokatmew View Post
    I have a whole house humidifier. When there's condensation along the bottom of the inside window panes, humidity is too high, so I turn it down. This happens as outside temps fluctuate. I still have to humidify my instruments in hard cases. A whole house system is great, but not a complete solution for wood instruments.

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