Humidipaks (or other long-lasting humidifiers) and leaving a solid-top instrument on its own for a few months?

greenfrog

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I’ve recently come across D’Addario Humidipak humidifiers, and seen that they’re supposed to last 2-6 months!

Has anyone had good/bad experiences with these?

I’m in a place that gets nosebleed-level dry in the winter, and may sometimes be away for a month or two. I had assumed this meant “no solid wood”. But if there are humidifiers that can go a few months without needing to be filled or changed, that might open up some options.

Would you trust a Humidipak humidifier to protect a solid-top or all-solid-wood instrument under those circumstances?

If so, how would you recommend preparing an instrument when I’m going to be away for a while?

Does the fact that these humidifiers both absorb/release moisture as needed mean they won’t over-humidify and I could put multiple Humidipaks in the case to be sure they’d last until I got back?
 

Poul Hansen

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I don't know humidipacks but am constantly surprised by all the talk of humidifiers, instruments in case etc.

A simple way is to have the instrument at a suitable Rh and then put it in a airtight plasticbag. You might even use one of the packing/storage vacuumbags to make sure it's airtight.

If you are nervous about the plastic, put it in your case and then in the plasticbag.
 
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kkimura

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I kept a humidipack in my soprano's case last Winter as an experiment. The ukulele came through the NH Winter fine although I must admit the RH in the house never gets below 35. The only downside I can see is that they take up a lot of room in the case compared to a sound hole humidifier.
 

greenfrog

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I don't know humidipacks but am constantly surprised by all the talk of humidifiers, instruments in case etc.

A simple way is to have the instrument at a suitable Rh and then put it in a airtight plasticbag. You might even use one of the packing/storage vacuumbags to make sure it's airtight.

If you are nervous about the plastic, put it in your case and then in the plasticbag.

Thank you!

Might even use humidipaks + case + plastic bag in combination - every layer of protection helps!!

Although I'm still a little unsure if I should risk getting a solid-top or all-solid-wood instrument at all. Winter here can get pretty brutal humidity wise (numbers like 15%). Is a Humidipaks + case + plastic bag combination likely to be enough to protect solid wood from that even when I'm away and there's no-one to fill/run a room humidifier? Or is it crazy to think about having anything that's not a laminate right now?
 
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Poul Hansen

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Thank you!

Might even use humidipaks + case + plastic bag in combination - every layer of protection helps!!

Although I'm still a little unsure if I should risk getting a solid-top or all-solid-wood instrument at all. Winter here can get pretty brutal humidity wise (numbers like 15%). Is a Humidipaks + case + plastic bag combination likely to be enough to protect solid wood from that even when I'm away and there's no-one to fill/run a room humidifier? Or is it crazy to think about having anything that's not a laminate right now?
Buy two cheap electronic hygrometers and make a test over a month or so, before you leave, so you can be satisfied the principle works.

I wouldn't put any humidity inside an instrument for months. I once put a guitar with a crack in the top. inside a plasticbag with a humidifier, set to max(80-95%) connected, to close the crack before gluing AND FORGOT IT. The guitar was 120 years old and the glue dissolved so the sides let go of each other and the guitar was moldy inside and smelled, which was/is very difficult to remove again.
 

badhabits

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Buy two cheap electronic hygrometers and make a test over a month or so, before you leave, so you can be satisfied the principle works.

I wouldn't put any humidity inside an instrument for months. I once put a guitar with a crack in the top. inside a plasticbag with a humidifier, set to max(80-95%) connected, to close the crack before gluing AND FORGOT IT. The guitar was 120 years old and the glue dissolved so the sides let go of each other and the guitar was moldy inside and smelled, which was/is very difficult to remove again.
That seems like an extreme situation. OP might use a 49% pack presumably, and will leave it for a month or 2, not indefinitely. Nevertheless, the risk of overhumidification should be noted/considered.
 
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mikelz777

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Before using a plastic bag I would get one of those plastic containers with a lid that are used to store items underneath your bed. I'm sure stores like Target or Walmart would have them and you should be able to find one large enough to hold a uke in its case and still seal the lid. Then you could put some damp sponges in there to provide additional humidification. I'd recommend experimenting with a hygrometer to get the desired relative humidity so you know if you have enough or too much humidity in the container.
 
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donboody

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Thank you!

Might even use humidipaks + case + plastic bag in combination - every layer of protection helps!!

Although I'm still a little unsure if I should risk getting a solid-top or all-solid-wood instrument at all. Winter here can get pretty brutal humidity wise (numbers like 15%). Is a Humidipaks + case + plastic bag combination likely to be enough to protect solid wood from that even when I'm away and there's no-one to fill/run a room humidifier? Or is it crazy to think about having anything that's not a laminate right now?
The plastic bag idea is a good one. I have bought ukes that seemed to have huge differences before and after a few days in a trash bag with an oasis humidifier in the sound hole.

im not real sure at what point one needs to be concerned about mold growth if at all, maybe the humidifiers are designed to not release enough humidity to cause mold. But the plastic bag thrown in there with it usually makes me not want to keep it in there for more than like 3 days.
 

thaidye39

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I was worried about this when I bought my Kanile'a. I reached out to the company directly and they suggested I use humidipaks. To be honest, I moved my uke from the Kanile'a gig case to a hard shell case, but have not had any issues with humidity with the uke in the case and the humidipaks.

I live in Pennsylvania and have forced air heat. The RH in my home often hangs out in the 28%-35% in the winter. I do have a small humidifier in my bedroom and I do keep my ukulele in it's case in there.

I've never tried the plastic bag idea, but I think it sounds like a good one.
 

WebParrot (s2)

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My cases get two humidity control items. An Oasis-18 for the sound hole, and a Boveda 49% "Two Way" humidity control packet which I place under the headstock.

I live in the US, mid-central (Wisconsin) and in the winter my home is heated with forced air. Even though I attempt to humidify, I rarely let the humidity get above 35% (the hot/cold surfaces -like windows- collect the moisture and freeze). So my instruments stay in cases.

Early on I realized that "good, well fitting" cases prevent the sound-hole based humidifiers from humidifying the neck and headstock. I used two humidistats, one in the sound hole and one at the headstock to confirm there was about a 12-15% variance with the headstock area lower.

So now all my cased ukes have protection for both.

To get to the OP's question...for longer term storage I think the Boveda 49% packs would be ideal, in combination with keeping the instrument inside a sealed plastic bag. If the aforementioned Humidipaks provide the 2-way protection (I suspect they are generally the same type product) that would seem to work as well.

[Boveda is sold directly through their company-sometimes with batch discounts, through Amazon (yuck), and can be found at cigar stores... They got their start for use in humidors!]
 

SebastianF

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Although I'm still a little unsure if I should risk getting a solid-top or all-solid-wood instrument at all. Winter here can get pretty brutal humidity wise (numbers like 15%). Is a Humidipaks + case + plastic bag combination likely to be enough to protect solid wood from that even when I'm away and there's no-one to fill/run a room humidifier? Or is it crazy to think about having anything that's not a laminate right now?
I would trust the Humidipak + case (+plasic bag if necessary).
I mean, you could monitor the humidity with a hygrometer inside for the time you are at home just to be sure it will work when you are away.

I use a Boveda 49% pack inside every case / gigbag of my wooden instruments together with hygrometers in some. You can get small and cheap hygrometers, often found in packs of 5 or 10, wich work great for this. In my case it is just to be sure and when I am taking ukes with me as my room barely ever dips below 40% or exceeds 50%, but I trust them none the less. Of course for me they last longer than if my room was dryer. You can usually tell by feel if they are still good.

Btw, I would take a look at the Enya Nova series rather than laminates. I own 2 and still pick them up from time to time besides my 'nicer' ukes, they are a hoy to play and have a pretty sound. And no worries if the humidity is 50%, 15%, or if you take it out in the snow. ;)

But to get back to the point, if you don't just put in 1 Humidipack and forget about it for months, I think a solid wood uke shound be fine.
 

Kenn2018

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I was worried about this when I bought my Kanile'a. I reached out to the company directly and they suggested I use humidipaks. To be honest, I moved my uke from the Kanile'a gig case to a hard shell case, but have not had any issues with humidity with the uke in the case and the humidipaks.

I live in Pennsylvania and have forced air heat. The RH in my home often hangs out in the 28%-35% in the winter. I do have a small humidifier in my bedroom and I do keep my ukulele in it's case in there.

I've never tried the plastic bag idea, but I think it sounds like a good one.
You need some air movement to help prevent mold. Spores are ever present in the air we breathe. They tend to thrive in dark, cool, damp places with still air.

Use a small inexpensive hygrometer, I use Ink Bird brand, and do a test. I measured the humidity levels in several hard cases using HumidPaks (or Boveda) 49% instrument humidifiers. They were originally made to humidify guitars. And they suggest that you hang two packs over the strings down inside the sound hole. Plus put another up by the head stock.

I found that hangin even one pack inside the sound hole caused the humidity inside the body of a tenor to stay at around 58 to 60% RH. One tenor has a very thin sound board and that caused a ripple to start to form in it below the bridge. So, I place mine by the heel of the neck.

In most hard cases there is a compartment between the headstock and the main compartment that also has a neck cradle. This greatly restricts the movement of air and humidity from migrating from the head to the body of the uke. So the headstock can be substantially drier than the body.

The primary places the humidity will affect your uke is the fretboard, the bridge and the interior of the uke. For most solid wood ukes, these areas have exposed unfinished wood. Which will absorb and release water much quicker than the finished parts of the ukulele.

My D'Addario HumidPak/Boveda humidifiers last about a year before I replace them. I live in the Western Central part of the state. Like you the heat is on in the winter and the air in the summer. Very dry in the winter, but humid the summer months.

I strongly recommend that you use the outer sleeves with the packs. If the paper envelope gets a damp spot, it keeps the area away from the finish of the instrument, or holding a damp area against the wood inside the body. The cloth is treated to let the gaseous humidity out, but not liquid water.

Measure the humidity areas inside your case with your instrument.

I found the HumidPaks to work very well in a closed hard case. Even after 9 or 10 months. Recharged Paks did not work quite as well nor as long.

NOTE: My measurements were made inside hard cases sitting inside a room that also had a room humidifier going that kept the room at about 45% RH ± 3%. In a somewhat drafty house. The rooms were kept at about 75° - 77° F.

Your ukes, cases, rooms, may produce different results. Especially if the temps were lower or higher. So do some tests. The Ink Birds keep a record of the minimum and maximum RH and temp for a week. They tallied very well to a large Hygrometer I keep in the same room.