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The current thing over here seems to be 'condensing boilers', which basically condense water vapour out of the flue gases, thus recovering latent heat. They cost a fortune however (about £1000).

I have a new condensing furnace (a forced-air system, not a boiler), which is a sealed-combustion unit, with its own outside-air supply via a big PVC pipe that goes through a side wall. It's connected to a pre-existing whole-house humidifier. With this new system it's easier to keep the house at humidity levels that, for Colorado, are heroically high: the mid-30's.

 

Since I'm in the energy analysis business I did a lot of homework before choosing this system. I estimated that the additional cost of the condensing furnace would pay back in 7 or 8 years, which made it a decent investment. (Your mileage may vary.) The sealed combustion and the variable speed fan provide additional advantages beyond energy savings, like the humidification benefit Rich described.

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Rich, Thanks for the info. It makes sense. I'll try my instruments in a new spot.

 

It's amazing that fragile wooden instruments survive in New England at all. Dry, dry, dry in the winter, damp and humid for the summer. Of course about this time of year I start wondering how people survive up here.

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An important thing to remember if you decide to humidify a room is that most damage to objects occurs from quick changes in relative humidity. Sudden, radical changes cause the wood to swell and contract. Gradual change is much less damaging. Because of this factor, when figuring out the RH to keep a room, it is better to choose a general range. Museums tend to stay between 45-55% RH.

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QUOTE (Lisa Wirth)

I have the 2 most un-friendly kinds of heat in my house. . . forced hot air and wood.

 

 

Please see my post of Feb 3 2004. The kind of heat isn't the cause.... You have been mislead.

 

Actually, can't the type of heat raise concerns for the preservation of the concertina? I don't know for sure, but wouldn't wood-burning based heat result in ash and other type of particles in the air? Couldn't ash get into the concertina?

Substances in the air should be of concern. Smoking, for example, coats everything in a room.

 

~Patrick

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I have the 2 most un-friendly kinds of heat in my house. . . forced hot air and wood.
Please see my post of Feb 3 2004. The kind of heat isn't the cause.... You have been misled.
Actually, can't the type of heat raise concerns for the preservation of the concertina? I don't know for sure, but wouldn't wood-burning based heat result in ash and other type of particles in the air? Couldn't ash get into the concertina? Substances in the air should be of concern. Smoking, for example, coats everything in a room.

If your heating appliance/setup allows pollutants directly into the house you have a very bad situation. The system should be checked, fixed/replaced or reinstalled correctly. I'm very familiar with wood-based heating systems though have never experienced a situation that results in indoor airborne ash.

 

Pretty much all houses have airborne particulates. Dust, pollen, animal dander, product offgassing, cooking byproducts, cigarette/cigar/pipe smoke, etc. which can be damaging (to us and our instruments) at certain concentrations. Your heating appliance/system and installation is a lot more controllable and should pollute your space far less that the aforementioneds.

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I do find that even though I have a very nice soapstone woodstove that there is always a lot of "dust", especially in the room where it lives. I'm thinking it is a combination of ash and dirt. Ash from when I clean the ashes out of the stove and dirt that comes in on the wood. My concertina lives in a case, so I don't worry about the dust.

 

Because that rooms only source of heat is wood, I don't keep my instruments in there. During the course of a day the temperature can fluctuate from 40 degrees to 80 degrees.

 

I'm wondering with that much temperature change how much the humidity varies.

 

Also, my Herrington was built in Texas. . .does that mean it likes to be hot and dry?

 

I live in a warm 4th-story apartment heated by radiators, and I really have no control over how this big old building is heated, so humidifying is really all I can do. I have always needed a humidifier in the bedroom during winter, but now I also have one in the Accoustic-Instrument room (living room).

 

When I lived in such a building I kept a window cracked open and found that keeping loaf pans full of water on every radiatior helped with the humidity.

Edited by Lisa Wirth
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I am using a Honeywell humidifer, which is on top of a set of shelves right by the heating/cooling vent, to control the humidity, and I have a wall-mounted Bionaire thermometer/hygrometer at middling height, across the room, to give monitor the whole room humidity.

 

And, since we have really hard water, I get gallon jugs of distilled water at the grocery store to feed to the humidifier.

 

--Dave

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  • 2 weeks later...
Get a room humidifier (as cheap as $30-50), put it in an isolated room and store your instruments in that room when not being played. Keep the doors shut. You'll have to run the humidifier full-time and check the tank every day.

Consumer Reports did not have any ratings for humidifiers available, so I went out and bought one that had "900 square feet" indicated on the box. That is about twice the floorspace of my apartment. So, I've had it running for over a week now, and according to my Radio Shack hygrometer, I have not had the RH of the room above 27% yet.

 

So, can anyone recommend a humidifier that can raise the humidity of a 500 square foot apartment above 40%?

 

(The only rooms that have closable doors in my apartment are the closets, the bedroom and the bathroom, and there is not enough room in any of those to stash my instruments, so the living room is my only choice).

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I went out and bought [a humidifier] that had "900 square feet" indicated on the box.  That is about twice the floorspace of my apartment.  So, I've had it running for over a week now, and according to my Radio Shack hygrometer, I have not had the RH of the room above 27% yet.

 

So, can anyone recommend a humidifier that can raise the humidity of a 500 square foot apartment above 40%?

Sounds like your problem is with the air exchange of your space, not the output of the humidifier.

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Sounds like your problem is with the air exchange of your space, not the output of the humidifier.

Air exchange?

 

This apartment has no vents. It is heated by good old-fashioned radiators (powered by an enormous furnace in the basement that looks like part of a steam locomotive.) How do I improve the air exchange of such a place?

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Sounds like your problem is with the air exchange of your space, not the output of the humidifier.

Air exchange?

 

This apartment has no vents. It is heated by good old-fashioned radiators (powered by an enormous furnace in the basement that looks like part of a steam locomotive.) How do I improve the air exchange of such a place?

It seems that you have too much air exchanging places, swapping of your humidified indoor air with extremely dry outside air. Your humidifier just can't keep up. One way to find out where the in/exfiltration is, is to buy a smoke-stick (it's like an incense stick but is non-toxic and doesn't smell) that's expressly used for this purpose (or you can use incense, a cigar, whatever), find the "leaks" and plug them with appropriate stuff (gaskets, caulk, putty, sweeps, etc.). Don't forget the leaks around your entry and back doors, especially at the sill corner areas.

 

You should also check out your air system.... if you have one. Sometimes they're horrendously oversized. If so, you should throttle it down to something reasonable, like 50cfm per person.

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Alex, you're doing well if your whole apartment is at 27%. My unhumidified rooms were at 6% yesterday morning (N. Illinois, 4 degrees F outside). My humidified *room* was at 38%. Hang in there, we're supposed to be in the 40's by the end of the week.

Yes. It is happening! We actually got weather warm enough for the ice to melt outside. The RH in my living room shot up past 40. According to the weather web page, the humidity outside is at 66%, I guess my humidifiers aren't really doing much.

 

According to that rodent in Upstate New York, we are supposed to have some more winter weather though, so I should still have a chance test out Rich's recommendations before the season is over.

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Just to be clear, when the humidity outside at 35 degrees F is 66% it doesn't mean that it will be 66% inside. The act of heating that air (in your leaky apt.) will drop the relative humidity, so you still need to run your humidifier. Remember, you should try to keep that RH up above 40% at *room temperature*. I usually stop running the room humidifier about the beginning of April or so. Of course then we only have a few months here in the Midwest before we have to start running our AC or de-humidifiers to keep the mold from growing on our *toys*. Oh well.

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