Installing a Humidifier worth it?

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by Reebkk, May 25, 2019.

  1. Reebkk

    Reebkk Newbie

    Dec 30, 2018
    Howdy all,
    So, like many, my guitars are subject to rather large temperature and humidity changes throughout the day, and I'm wondering if installing a humidifier (just a relatively decent stand alone one) in the room will make much of a difference?

    I'm based in Bangkok, in a high rise slap bang in the center of the city. It's hot, mugged, humid and generally horrible. Average temp is around 30c/86f - 35f/95f with a couple of months being closer to 40c/104f, humidity is typically around 70%.

    I already try to control the temp as much as possible, and keep the guitars in their cases, especially when I have to leave the place for extended periods of time and can't leave the air con running. I also managed to find the coolest part of the apartment to put the case rack.

    I tend to get min and max readings of 19c/66f - 34c/95f when left out of their cases, and around 17c/62f - 30c/86f when left in their cases all day & night.

    Most of the time after a nights sleep or day at work not playing, when I get any of them out they'll always be slightly pitched up. I'm guessing that's the neck straightening a bit? Or something moving that's making the strings shorter slightly?

    It doesn't seem like anything major, doesn't affect playing too much. If I haven't played one of them for a week or so then the odd buzz might develop, seems to work themselves out all the time though.

    Anyways, short version. Will a humidifier, something like the link below, make any difference on top of trying to control the temp?

    (I have Setzer Hotrod, a 5655TG Limited Edition Electromatic, a 2005 Les Paul, a new (ish) Epiphone Les Paul 100th year anniversary, and a Mascis Squire, as well as a cheapo Thai made acoustic)

    Any idea? Cheers.
  2. BrianW

    BrianW Synchromatic

    Oct 21, 2014
    Vancouver Island
    สวัสดีครับ (I think, it has been a while... Sawasdee khap)

    I don't really know for sure because I don't live with the huge temperature and humidity swings of SE Asia. But I'm pretty sure the wood will move with it. That will change the tuning and give you fret buzz depending on which way the conditions are going. I think long term high humidity will affect the finish as well. I think I would be tempted to try to control it there. It will cost for power to run AC no doubt, but that should help keep humidity down as well.

    Hopefully someone will come along that has experience dealing with it that will be able to answer better !

  3. LA Miles

    LA Miles Country Gent

    Dec 6, 2012
    Sounds like you need a de-humidifier for the room you keep your gear in, or a standalone air-conditioner if the bldg. has no air. Plenty of options on amazon but that air-purifier isn't the answer.

    I just got a de-humidifier for my basement and it's sucking water out of the air like crazy.
  4. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    You need the opposite of a humidifier. You need to suck the water out of the air, not add more. Considering the temperature extremes, an air conditioner looks like the best option. The air purifier would be pointless in this case.
    19MGB76 and mrfixitmi like this.
  5. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    Put a humidifier in your Gretsch case, I think the solid bodies might do just fine.
  6. ramjac

    ramjac Gretschie

    Aug 14, 2011
    A small stand-alone de-humidifier might work. Reliability is an issue with most of them, though, so be sure to regularly clean the intake filter and keep the condenser coil clean. They wear out fast if you don’t.
    sh4rkbyt3 likes this.
  7. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    What are your humidity readings? A dehumidifier which can't run 24/7 is kinda pointless... So get one with humidistat(a timer is handy, but doesn't counter fluctuations, and that is essentially the name of the game) and a permanent drain facility. At SE-Asia humidity levels you will be moving 1-2 liters a day, if you don't have a sink nearby emptying the thing is a chore. Also be aware of the dB noise levels if you keep it in the guitar room.

    Worth it? IMO they work, but consumer versions will only be marginally effective. Your call really.
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
    sh4rkbyt3 likes this.
  8. new6659

    new6659 Gretschie

    Dec 10, 2018
    Southwestern Ontario
    I think most concerns with humidity would be that it is too low (like North American winters), causing wood and glue joints to shrink or deform. If the temperature is blazing hot, glue used in old guitars can fail (ask me) but I think modern adhesives should perform well at most temperatures likely to be encountered.
  9. EC Strat

    EC Strat Electromatic

    Jan 11, 2019
    Optimal humidity for wood instruments is 45-55%. Though it probably won’t hurt to have it run 65%. I’d consider a dehumidifier and keep a close eye on the filter and changing the water.
  10. RocknRollShakeUp

    RocknRollShakeUp Synchromatic

    Jun 20, 2017
    Yes I’ll pile on and say that you need to aircondition your air to keep the temperature 72 Fahrenheit, but you most certainly want to get a hygrometer to tell you what your humidity level is. If it’s pushing over 60-65% you need a De-Humidifier as everyone has said. But in Southeast Asia you probably just need a dehumidifier full stop and not worry about getting a hygrometer to check readings. I found that the panel settings on the dehumidifier units were easy 5% off. But if you set it for 45% let’s say, even 50%, you should be fine. I’m OCD so I have to have multiple hygrometers :confused:.

    When I lived in Athens GA I had a Dehumidifier running 24/7 during the humid summers, with a drain running into a bathtub or else the tank would fill up in 12-24 hours. I also had a small pump that the humidifier drain hose went into that pumped the water outside via a longer hose in another house I had at one point, as there was no nearby sink or tub.

    By the way, humidity of 65% or higher is also likely to cause mold growth so dehumidifying your space is important for health reasons as well.

    Here in Northern AZ I run a humidifier and keep a humidity in the mid to high 30’s in my guitar room, which I’ve acclimated my guitars too and I’ve had no issues other than one of my guitars has gotten just a touch of fret sprout that I may want to address.

    Best of luck!
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
  11. EC Strat

    EC Strat Electromatic

    Jan 11, 2019
    How long did you live in A-town? I’m from there
    RocknRollShakeUp likes this.
  12. Scooter127

    Scooter127 Gretschie

    Feb 25, 2019
    Bring your stuff over. I live in Georgia and my AC won't come on. No humidifier required.

    /Close to diagnosing the cause
    //Portable Ac units are awesome
    RocknRollShakeUp likes this.
  13. RocknRollShakeUp

    RocknRollShakeUp Synchromatic

    Jun 20, 2017
    About 8 years. Recently moved away. Great town.

    When did you live there?
  14. gtttrrr

    gtttrrr Synchromatic

    Dec 7, 2011
    United States
    My basement DE-humidifier is set to 50%, collects a lot of water,, drains into sump, so I don’t have to empty the catch. Seems to keep the axes nice and comfortable :)
    sh4rkbyt3 and wabash slim like this.
  15. EC Strat

    EC Strat Electromatic

    Jan 11, 2019
    1970 - 1997 !!!
    RocknRollShakeUp likes this.
  16. RocknRollShakeUp

    RocknRollShakeUp Synchromatic

    Jun 20, 2017
    The golden years!
    EC Strat likes this.
  17. speedicut

    speedicut Friend of Fred

    Jun 5, 2012
    I know nothing about humidity problems and guitars but if the humidity is lowish in the apartment and high outside, wouldn't the constant change affect the guitar wood? Assuming they don't stay at home of course.
    I've been to Bangkok and know how humid it can be...but the food is worth it. :)
  18. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I live in Indiana where it's always humid---summer and winter. Hot and damp is really bad, and cold and damp isn't any fun, either.
  19. johnny g

    johnny g Synchromatic

    Sep 2, 2017
    union, ms
    Like having insurance. You got it and hope you don't have to use it.
  20. sh4rkbyt3

    sh4rkbyt3 Gretschie

    Mar 8, 2019
    Elkton, MD
    If you have a closet or very small room that's where I'd locate the guitar and the dehumidifier. That should help to keep the operating cost to a minimum since iyt probably won't need to run nearly as much as one in say a U.S. house basement.
    As ramjec said be sure to keep the coils cleaned and any filters. If you can, just run a hose outside or you'll have to keep checking the collection tub or pipe it to a drain.
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