View Full Version : Herco humidifiers not working?

01-04-2017, 06:54 AM
With the sub-zero temps and the use of my woodstove I've been a little concerned* about my humidity levels recently. I have access to a industrial grade (near instant refresh rate) hygrometer through work and I brought it home to measure my RH levels.

The house RH is around 31% to 33%.

I have three ukes in cases. One case is a UkeCrazy hard case (hard sides covered with fabric) with a single Herco clay humidifier, another is a soft gig bag also with a single Herco humidfier, and the third is a totally hard sided Kamaka case with a single Herco and also a "sponge-noodle" sound-hole type of humidifier.

I measure RH levels that are only 1% or 2% higher than the house in all three cases. I measure the case RH by slightly unzipping the case and inserting the RH probe inside and allowing it to equilibrate for 30 seconds or so.

I don't think the RH meter is malfunctioning because it almost instantly reads 66% if I exhale on it.

I was reading this often quoted article on humidifiers and can't figure out why Tonya is able to maintain 50% RH under the same circumstances as I have to deal with while my own humidifiers seem completely useless.


What gives?

Would I have better luck with some sort of sealed cabinet with a pan of water in the bottom?

* actually super concerned because I think I notice the beginning of a crack on my C1K and I sure as heck don't want to see one on the Kamaka.

01-04-2017, 07:31 AM
First off neither the cloth covered zipper case nor the gig bag are very good at holding in moisture. The hardcase should be better but in a dry environment a single Hero might not be enough. I would put at least one sound hole humidifier in each uke. Get a second one and place it in the case at the neck heel area. A small zip lock baggie with damp paper towel or sponge in that area will work in a pinch. Leaving the baggie cracked open of course.

I live in a dry climate and I need two or three sources of humidity in each hard case. I have accurate hygrometers that I drop into the case and can never get it above 45% but that is fine.

Michael N.
01-04-2017, 07:43 AM
Your damp/wet sponge in a zip lock will work perfectly fine. You can punch a series of small holes into the bag, just make sure the sponge isn't dripping wet. Put two or three in the case if you have to. It's a simple solution and as good as any. I use those empty old plastic film canister and drill holes in the lid. same sort of idea.

01-04-2017, 08:10 AM
without actual measurements.. I'm not sure I believe case humidifiers are really that great.
Most of them sit in a compartment. A uke is usually finished, with something water proof-ish.
The only way for the humidity to get into the uke, is really through the sound hole.
But in alot of cases.. that sound hole is blocked by the case/lid.

Something like an oasis that sits in the body might be able to keep up the air.

But at my new house.... instead of doing a furnace mount humidifier, I've been using a console humidifier.
Outside humidity is like. 15-18% when it snaps cold.
My house is something like 1800 sqft. (not that large), and I put 6-8 gallons of water into the air every day, and only get to maybe 45% running it on full blast.

I herco only holds a couple of spoons of water really, and there's no good path for that humid air to get into the sound hole when its in a case.

I think, either humidify the whole house, or doing a cabinet is better than a humidifer in a case... except maybe the oasis type which sits in the sound hole... which seems like the best way if you're going to do it in a case.

The other thing that bothers me.. is the water you put in the humidifier... has to humidify all the material in the case, and the air, and the wood of the uke. Something small like a herco that only holds a couple spoons of water... seems like a losing battle in a dry winter environment. The herco.. just has that one tiny hole in the lid. If that's the amount of leakage needed for humidity to seep out... consider how not air tight a case really is and if you're going to be able to race that case leakage.

Objectively.. a humidifer should be better than not having a humidifier... but I really question how much.

01-04-2017, 09:07 AM
I live in rural northern California, in the mountains. House was built in 1923 and is heated by nothing other than wood stove; it can get dry in the house so I rely strictly on keeping my ukuleles in the cases when not playing them. Room temperature where my ukuleles are kept is typically in low-60s/high 50s (fahrenheit). My cases are either ABS or the Oahu wooden hardshell. I use the Oasis in-hole humidifiers (ukulele size). I keep a (calibrated by the Boveda system) hygrometer in each case, affixed not in the little covered accessories section, but up by the neck so I'm getting a humidity reading from the neck area. If I haven't been playing the instrument, I have a computer reminder set for me to check every two weeks just to make sure. When I play the ukulele, I put the Oasis back in the case and keep the case closed while playing.

Just checked 'em: the ABS case is at 61%, the two Oahu cases are at 55% and 56%. I do not use my Reunion Blues Gig Bag for ukulele storage because the case is too "porous" it seems to me, in regard to keeping humidity.

Also, I'm pretty strict about emptying out the old "absorbent" beads in each Oasis humidifier once a year and replacing them with new beads.

I love my ukuleles and, if they ever did crack, I know I'd cry buckets. But they're insured!!!

01-04-2017, 09:38 AM
Your damp/wet sponge in a zip lock will work perfectly fine. You can punch a series of small holes into the bag, just make sure the sponge isn't dripping wet. Put two or three in the case if you have to. It's a simple solution and as good as any. I use those empty old plastic film canister and drill holes in the lid. same sort of idea.

Hey Michael, I use pill bottles with lots of holes drilled around the perimeter. I then put in some of the moisture absorbing crystals, get them wet and good to go. I like your idea of using sponge in a canister as well.

01-04-2017, 09:51 AM
Just bought this Boveda system that was recommended by a few folks on the forum. It's designed like a saddle bag which holds two 49% humidity packs for a guitar. It's obviously to large to fit in the uke sound hole, but I cut the two bags and made four separate holders for the packets. I put one under the headstock in each case. They are supposed to last for a few months.


01-04-2017, 04:13 PM
A few years ago forum member CoolKayaker1 posted a thread (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?57739-Tip-On-Inexpensive-amp-Extremely-Effective-(too-effective-)-Humidor!&highlight=humid) about the "uke condos" he uses for humidifying his instruments. I started using this method in 2014 and for the past 3 winters (including this one) I have had no issues keeping my ukes stored in 45-55% humidity. Additionally, while I check the humidity in the tote daily, I rarely have to add water/re-wet the sponges. I have found it to be a very effective, low maintenance solution.

01-04-2017, 04:19 PM
The "instant" refresh rate of the hygrometer may be registering the leakage of dry air into the cases caused by unzipping them to insert the probe. And, if the humidifiers cannot re moisturize the case air in 30 minutes, you might try leaving the probe in a zipped case overnight to see if that's what's happening.

01-04-2017, 05:28 PM
We have four Mainland ukuleles that were kindly donated to our program by Mainland Mike. I have been running a room humidifier, and keeping the room as humid as possible. Even so, staying around 40% was a challenge, so over break, I bought the Mainlands home and ordered cases and Herco humidifiers. The hope is that the humidity offered in the enclosed space will make up the difference. We have another case and a Herco on order for the new Bonanza that arrived today, and this is the last instrument at school that we will obtain that needs humidity. We have Caramel and Mahalo laminates, and a number of Waterman. I am tempted to get some Outdoor ukuleles as well.

Anyway...I checked the humidity in the room today, as we are back in school--and I have not run the humidifier while the ukuleles were at my house. The humidity in the office? 11%. I couldn't believe it! Even our house has inside humidity of 34% at the (Nest) thermostat, which is nowhere near any of the humidifiers running in the house (mainly in the bedrooms).

So--up here in the Northland (relatively, there's still Canada, right Petey?) the battle with humidity is REAL.

Bonanza Pete
01-05-2017, 02:29 AM
A quick temporary fix would be a contractor trash bag.
Seal in the humidity.
A plastic tote that seals also works. I

01-05-2017, 05:26 AM
I think most UU members will be able to understand the physics of humidity and the difference between real humidity and relative humidity.

I must be missing something. All discussion of humidifying instruments, cigars, etc. that I've read reports humidity in %, ergo relative humidity. RH is what my meter is reading too.

So, at least for this topic, isn't absolute humidity irrelevant?

Back to my situation: I swung by my local guitar store and picked up a couple Oasis mandolin humidifiers (they don't carry the uke models) and added one to each of my solid wood uke's cases for the time being.

I plan to get a hard case to replace the Martin's gig bag and will also order a pair or Oasis uke humidifiers to keep in the sound holes (and bunch of other goodies from HMS. Why not, I just celebrated my birthday) .

I am going to let the humidity meter probe inside a case overnight to see if opening the case was biasing the reading that badly.