Skip to comments.For the Musically Inclined: Piano Heaters/Humidifiers
Posted on 10/29/2006 8:27:28 PM PST by Blogger
I am the pianist at our church and we have a baby grand in the sanctuary. We recently purchased a new centralized air/heat system which the church shuts off during off hours. As a result, the temperature can drop into the low 60s and even 50s each night and rise to the high 60s low 70s during the daytime. We live in an area that is highly humid as well during the summer, but with the heat on in the winter tends to get a little dry.
Does anyone know about Piano heaters and humidifier/dehumidifers. Would it be worth purchasing? The unit we are looking at is called a Dampp Chaser and has a heated dehumidifier and a humidifier and is self regulating. It's also about $600.00 from what I can tell.
The congregation has worked hard to have this nice instrument in the sanctuary. I don't want to see it destroyed and have it continually going out of tune because of the climate changes.
Anyone have thoughts on this subject??
"Piano heaters and humidifier/dehumidifers."
Sionnsar, maybe a pipes ping would help?
Good question, Blogger. Since this is a problem for every church and synagogue, there must be a solution. I mean, except having it tuned frequently. For violins, you can buy a simple rubber hose device that fills with water. It is inserted through the openings in the violin and acts as a humidfier in dry climates. Then there are violin cases that protect against the climate changes. These are expensive, but necessary for high quality instruments.
That's what this Dampp Chaser is like. It fills with water and has a sensor as to whether the wood is too moist or too dry and alternates accordingly. I am wondering too, I know to dry it out the heater would be on, but what if you have drier conditions from central heat that maybe linger in the sanctuary even though the physical temperature is rather low??? Or does the humidifier part use heat also? I know we are out of tune a lot even though it is tuned at least twice a year, sometimes more.
Eeewwww!!!! That would be particularly messy on a baby grand!
We've had this instrument for nearly 20 years now. My son and I both play it daily, and it has lived in two houses with us. In both houses we have had forced air heat and significant swings in interior humidity and temperature. We have had no problems with tuning, and it always holds its pitch well between tunings. We usually tune it 1-2 times per year.
I don't know what this piano would have done if we hadn't protected it, but I suspect it would have deteriorated over the years. I've had the experience of playing on old pianos kept in residences of this sort. Typically they sound like the devil, even after they've been tuned. The pianos in our church have Dampp Chasers installed in them, as did the pianos in our last church. Considering the cost of a quality new piano, the investment is really quite modest. Ongoing cost is minimal. Our tuner replaces the wick when he tunes the instrument. In between visits, we add water and humidifer treatment when the red light goes on. Even the kids know how to water the piano. I don't know the cost of the electricity to run the system, but I can't imagine it's very expensive.
I would definitely recommend it - cheap insurance.
Or to be really nerdly accurate.
Thank you. That is really helpful.
Your mother's experience?
When I was a kid, we lived on a river near the Gulf Coast of Alabama.
We had a good quality upright piano that I was taking lessons on. I kept complaining it was out of tune, even after it had been tuned several times.
Finally my mother called a new guy out to look at the problem. After seeing the situation, he went to his car and came back with two extension cords, two plug-in light sockets, and two 25 watt light bulbs.
He hung a light bulb over into the piano on each end and then plugged them said. Said he would be back in a week to tune the piano.
When he did come back and tune it, it then stayed tuned.
Maybe you just need some lightbulbs.
And the glow from the piano made a nice night light.