If you are a proud owner of an acoustic or grand piano, then you also have a responsibility of taking good care of your piano so that the sound and tonal texture remains intact for a long time. To achieve this goal, you must ensure to keep the strings rust free and on tuned state most of the times. This involves maintaining accurate range of humidity levels in your piano room to keep your piano strings in good tuned condition.
A Humidifier system is a moisture control unit which maintains the required amount of moisture and humidity levels for a room or a closed area. Having said that, all pianos do not need humidifiers to operate or to be used for playing. There are certain conditions based on the age, type or piano and the moisture conditioning of the area where you live, that will determine whether a humidifier system is really required or not.
We expect this article to be an eye-opener for pianists to take a conscious decision on investing on humidifiers wisely based on their location, environmental conditions and condition of the piano as well.
What is a Humidifier and How Does it Work?
A humidifier is a machine which manages the humidity levels of a room or an area as per user needs. It uses water vapor in the form of mist and disperses the droplets evenly in the room to create the optimal moisture levels required for the room.
It usually has the following components:
- Water reservoir – This stores the water that is used to spray for moisture control.
- Humid-stat / Hygro-Stat – This circuit device actively monitors the humidity levels of the room where the humidifier is placed. It has specialized humidity sensor to detect the humidity level accurately.
- Water Sprayer apparatus – The spray nozzle helps to disperse water droplets to the room environment in the form of fine mist.
- Blower/ Fan with Motor – The blower helps to circulate and disperse the moisture evenly in the room.
- De Humidification unit – This is an additional unit designed to reduce and control the excessive humidity levels under extreme conditions of the operating environment of the room.
Here is a simple schematic that will help to understand the components of the humidifier used in our households.
Do Pianos need humidifiers?
We shall analyze the need of humidifiers based on 2 different scenarios:
Age of the Piano
Most of the modern-day pianos have high quality steel and wood used for the design of the soundboard, strings and the pedal assembly. Hence, they at relatively at low risk for humidity fluctuations related damages in the long run. Hence in general, if you are used a well-ventilated piano room, you do not need a humidifier all the time for your new piano.
However, if you have a vintage piano which is quite old or has been subject to regular maintenance and string tuning sessions, you would need a Humidifier system inside your piano room to minimize the effects of humidity fluctuations.
Environmental Conditions at your location
If you stay at a place, with extreme environmental conditions such as severe cold or severe hot areas, high rainfall prone areas – in such a case your piano would be subjected to extreme humidity fluctuations. So, a humidifier is a must for such areas to protect your piano strings, soundboard and other hinges from degradation.
Hence use of a humidifier is not Mandatory for all cases. If you are at a decent place with no weather extremities and you have a good new grand or acoustic piano for use, then there is no need of a humidifier.
How to Measure Humidity And Set-up a Humidifier For Your Piano Room?
Here are precisely the steps that can be used to measure humidity for your piano room and set-up a humidifier with proper humidity controls:
Step-1: Measuring Pre-Humidity Levels in your piano room:
- If your humidifier has a built-in hygrostat then you can detect the humidity level of you piano room with the built-in display. If the humidity levels are outside the 40-70% range it is essential to start the humidifier in your piano room.
- If your humidifier does not have a hygrostat display, the effective way to measure the levels are to use a hygrostat device (available separately from various stores online and offline)
Step-2: Humidifier Set-up:
- Setup your humidifier in the central portion of your piano room for effective moisture control.
- Check the sprayer nozzle for mist discharge as you start the humidifier.
- Some bigger models of humidifiers might need an external water tank for water supply and moisture creation. For such cases, you need to top-up water to the correct water levels for a smoother operation in your piano room.
Step-3: Measuring Post-Humidity Levels in your piano room:
- Allow the humidifier for several hours of operation (preferably 4-5 hours at a stretch)
- Use the hygrostat to measure the humidity level of the piano room. It should ideally be within 40-70% range now.
Step-4 : Check your Piano periodically during humidifier use:
- You need to periodically check the major parts of your piano – The action, Pedal assembly, strings and hinges/screws for moisture/rusting.
- It is expected that your piano will perform better now and the wear and tear of your soundboard and strings would be highly minimized with the use of a humidifier.
Best Humidifier models for your piano
Here are some of the highly recommended humidifier models for regular use in your piano room:
Boneco HYRBID H300 :
A brand since 1956, Boneco has been leading the air purification and humidification segment world-wide since 1956. It has premium quality and highly portable products for air purification and humidifier systems.
We recommend the HYBRID Purifier and Humidifier model – H300, which is perfect for keeping the proper humidity levels and cleaning unwanted pollutants from air around your piano room to keep the piano health really good for several years.
For more details click on the link to buy Boneco H300 Humidifer <link>
Venta COMFORT PLUS:
A Germany based Humidifier company, Venta is a global provider of high quality Air Humidifiers world-wide.
We recommend the COMFORT PLUS Range of Humidifiers which are good for standard and mid room sizes for your piano. With the latest air-purification and humidification technology, Comfort Plus provides a smooth cleaning and moisture control to keep your piano room perfect for your piano.
For more details click on the link to buy Benta COMFORT PLUS Humidifiers <link>
How To Get Rid of Humidifiers For Your Piano ?
If you want to get rid of the hassles of moisture and humidity control for your piano, worry no more!! You can choose a Digital Piano or an Electronic Synth Keyboard for your musical needs. Digital Pianos and synths do not have any mechanical components and the sound is delivered digitally using sound synthesis and waveform technology
For more details on choosing the perfect digital piano or music synthesizer for your needs, please visit our Article on Top 10 Digital Pianos by clicking the PIANO Section in our website.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Cost of a Portable Humidifier Which can be used for My Acoustic Piano?
A portable humidifier for a mid-size room cost approximately 100 – 200 US Dollars. High end models can cost upto 800 US Dollars depending on the nature of operation.
How much moisture is best suitable for my piano?
The optimal range of humidity as suggested by Top Acoustic Piano Makers is of the range 30%-70%. Any value outside this range, would be detrimental for the piano health in the long run.
Do I need to switch on the humidifier only during my practice or performance session or it should be switched on all the time inside the piano room?
We suggest to use the humidifier to keep on all the time, as most of the mid budget humidifiers have built in humid-stat to monitor humidity levels on a real time. The humidifier device should automatically switch on during fluctuations of humidity levels and also usually gets switched off when not required.
Therefore, it is evident that pianos do not mandatorily need humidifiers or a moisture control system to operate. It is the environmental conditions, temperature and humidity fluctuations that determine if you need a humidifier for your grand or acoustic piano. Having a humidifier is “Nice to have” asset for your piano, but for some pianists it becomes an indispensable option for your piano rooms. Take a wise decision to invest on your humidifier based on the above aspects for your piano and piano room.
For more articles on piano servicing, repairs and maintenance, please visit the PIANO Section of our website www.musicdetailed.com