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Ning

Since I had to change the filter anyway ...

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I thought I'd take the time to write about the whole house humidifier I use, the AIRCARE Mini-Console Evaporative Humidifier, Model D46720(CN).

Winters in North Central Florida can be quite challenging when it comes to controlling humidity.  Each cold front that comes through drops the temperature and every following day the temperature rises until the next front comes through.  As a result the amount of moisture in the air can change dramatically over the course of 24 hours as the temperature can potentially plummet by 60ºF.  One can't tell from a hygrometer how much the amount of moisture has been changed by the passage of a cold front but the Rule of Thumb I use is for each 20º change in temperature the amount of moisture in the air at a given Relative Humidity changes by a factor of 2. Problems arise when the cold air outside with low moisture content enters one's home and is warmed up. Take for instance, it is dawn, the temperature outside is 30ºF, and the Relative Humidity is 100%.  Now bring that air inside warm it up to 70ºF and the Relative Humidity drops to 25%. Since wood responds to changes in Relative Humidity by changing its dimensions if one wants to prevent one's guitar (or furniture for that matter) from tearing itself apart some sort of humidity control is essential.

Anyway … a little over a year ago with Winter approaching I went to check on the evaporative humidifier I had been using only to find that the fan motor had seized.  With tears in my eyes I loaded shovels, and rakes and implements of destruction into the back of a red VW Microbus … oops sorry somehow I got off track and started singing a verse from Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant."  I headed to Wal-Mart where I'd purchased the unit only to find they had dehumidifiers but no humidifiers.  With Winter coming I thought that odd as now would be the time to have stock on hand.  So back to the car and I headed to the next nearest store, Lowe's Home Improvement, only to find the same situation, plenty of dehumidifiers to chose from but not a single humidifier.  Ok, no problem, Home Depot wasn't far, but upon arriving I found the same story … so home I went and began an online search.  In the end I decided on the unit cited above and ordered it from Home Depot for in store pickup.

This particular unit has two water tanks (one on each side) that dismount for filling and a wick that draws water up where fan forced air can evaporate it and blow the moisture enriched air out into the room.  Further distribution throughout one's home would be done by the circulation of the central unit during a heating cycle.  With only the fan and control electronics drawing electricity it is an economical unit to run.  Each tank holds a gallon of water and together that is sufficient for 24 hours of continuous operation.  The unit's humidistat can be set in increments of 5% Relative Humidity across a range of 25 to 60%. The fan can be turned off and has settings for four different speeds, the two slowest speeds are barely noticeable.  The wick is disposable and appears to be good for somewhat more than a single Winter of use as by evaporating the water leaves behind dissolved solids which eventually clog the filter and reduces its ability to function as a wick.  I have the unit placed in the largest space I have which conveniently also has the return air duct for the central unit.  With hygrometers placed around the house I can tell that the Relative Humidity throughout the house falls within a range of 5%.  This unit is rated for 1250 square feet, assuming a ceiling height of 8 feet that works out to a volume of 10,000 cubic feet.  Today I found the unit flashing "F" (fill me) on its display and as a result the Relative Humidity had gotten down to 35%. After refilling both tanks it was only a few hours of operation before the unit shut itself down indicating a Relative Humidity of 50%, and turned itself back on when the heater kicked on distributing the moist air to the rest of my home.  As much as I like keeping my (all too numerous) guitars happy humidity-wise even more to my liking is that the house is so much more comfortable and consequently I can save a little coin and still feel warm with a lower thermostat setting. As a rough estimate I would hazard to guess that between the annual cost of filter replacement and electricity to operate the annual cost to make use of this unit is about as much as two sets of strings

 

AIRCAREHumidifier.JPG

Edited by Ning
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Wow! Looks like you have a great system going there! 

We've lived in NY, Tennessee,  and Florida (northeast) before settling out west here in Nevada. Each location definitely has had its challenges with humidity. Now living in the Mojave Desert, this is by far the biggest challenge! :) 

When we moved here, I knew I would need some system to humidify. I started with a cabinet from Ikea - I'd rather spend the $$ on guitars rather than a big fancy cabinet, as some of them are quite pricy! Using humidification devices inside the cabinet has helped but has not really gotten me to where I want. My guitars (and other instruments) are all in my music room which I keep closed if I'm not in there. But  when I am, I have two very persistent dogs who believe I have entered into a danger zone if I dare close the door and they bang and scratch the door until they 'save' me.... lol!

Recently I got a small, fairly inexpensive room humidifier at Home Depot. Just using that small humidifier has solved my issues at the moment. Still storing my instruments inside the cabinets,  even though the room humidity may vary more, the cabinets are staying fairly consistent at 45-50 %. That is amazing for me being in the desert.  Before this, I was getting maybe 30 - 35% inside the cabinets.  

Its a balancing act for sure! :) 

 

 

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On 12/19/2019 at 3:05 PM, Ning said:

...

As much as I like keeping my(all too numerous) guitars happy humidity-wise even more to my liking is that the house is so much more comfortable and consequently

...

Ning,  thanks for this information.  But before I go on I must warn you about something.  I know that you are new here.  But we do not allow political, religious or otherwise controversial material on this forum.  Any suggestion that one can have too many guitars will just not be tolerated here!  😉😆

Seriously, I need to look at a whole house humidifier.  Like Barb @K9kaos I have a small room humidifier in my music/guitar/office room.  It struggles to get the humidity up to 40%.  Here in Nebraska we have horribly hot, humid summers and horribly cold/dry winters. Also like Barb I have the canine issue.   Clapton, our Aussie, is convinced it is his mission to constantly make sure the door is open letting what little moisture has accumulated in my room escape to the rest of the house. He takes his mission very seriously.

Things are further complicated by the fact we live in the country and are on a well with horribly hard water.  It ruins a humidifier in short order. So I fill one gallon water jugs at the grocery store and carry them upstairs to the room.  The humidifier goes through one every 12 hours!

So this is something I need to investigate. Thanks again for the information.

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@matonanjin  The evaporative humidifier that I replaced (a Hunter product) did not use a wick.  Rather it had something like an automobile's radiator, an expanded metal framework over which recirculating water could flow and through which the fan forced air could pass.  Such a unit would be somewhat more resistant to the effect of hard water than a unit using a wick, then again maybe it would be preferable to replace wicks rather than have a metal "radiator" that would need to be cleaned from time to time in a manner similar to what coffee makers require.  In addition, since such a unit uses a pump to recirculate water, it would have a somewhat higher annual cost to operate since one is powering a pump in addition to a fan and control electronics.

I've lived in a home with hard water.  In that case we made use of a water softener service.  Monthly they'd come and replace a couple cylinders.  Occasionally water usage would out strip capacity a few days before the monthly service was scheduled and everywhere in the house were water was in daily use would be quickly and thoroughly stained with iron, and just as quickly the stain would disappear once the cylinders were replaced.  Whether softening one's hard water would in any way reduce the total dissolved solids thus extending the useful life of a wick seems unlikely since the softening process replaces the metals (calcium, magnesium, iron etc.) that makes the water hard with sodium.  Having said that now I find myself wondering if water being hard or not makes any significant difference to the amount of dissolved solids present. On the plus side one does like that a bar of soap will quickly work up a lather, not that it makes a difference when it comes to personal cleanliness but one does think the soap is doing a better job when one is lathered up.

@K9kaos I too have (a short haired) dog, a beautiful mutt that looks like a yellow lab not fully grown.  With hairy pets in one's home it is prudent to minimize their hair being drawn into the humidifier.  In my case I have my humidifier in a low traffic area the dog does not normally come close to and have the unit on a 24" stool.  Both low traffic and unit height above the floor are important as just walking around one can cause shed hair to become airborne, and cause the hair to reach heights higher than one's pet is tall.  An added benefit comes from raising the humidifier off the floor.  Air temperature will be higher and thus more heat will be available to evaporate the water consequently the unit will be able to put moisture into the air more quickly.  I would recommend against raising the unit so high that it impacts either safety or convenience when refilling the reservoir.

Yes, it does seem that whenever a door is closed a dog is on the wrong side.  Toward that end to make life a bit simpler for the humans pet doors were invented but then not every door is one that one would be willing to cut a hole for such a door.  An alternative solution I think one would find unattractive is to put something like a plastic shower curtain across the doorway with slits cut in the bottom to allow one's pet through.

 

 

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So coming from South Florida to Georgia and its winters, extremely dry. I have been using Crane Humidifiers 2 of them, along with now dont laugh (got this info from some old timers here years ago) .. cut up new sponges inside a sealed plastic soap container with drilled holes, dampened with distilled water. One at the neck and one at the body area in the case.  Seems to be doing the job just fine.

 

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On 12/22/2019 at 4:21 AM, matonanjin said:

Also like Barb I have the canine issue.   Clapton, our Aussie, is convinced it is his mission to constantly make sure the door is open letting what little moisture has accumulated in my room escape to the rest of the house. He takes his mission very seriously.

On 12/22/2019 at 9:37 AM, Ning said:

@matonanjin

Yes, it does seem that whenever a door is closed a dog is on the wrong side.  

 

I am very glad to see I'm not the only one with canine challenges!!! Lol! 

 

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