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A bit of a different question for you......

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by hemlock, May 12, 2011.

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  1. hemlock

    hemlock Feeling the Heat

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    We are about to install a second stove in our upstairs, but my "other half" has concerns about her piano and the humidity (or lack thereof). I suppose this is a fair concern, as I put humidifiers in my guitars during the burning season. Would having a stove that may see part-time duty have an adverse effect on a piano? Would it be anything a simple humidifier in the room couldn't cure? Has anyone else had to consider or deal with this? Thanks.

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  2. My Oslo heats my home

    My Oslo heats my home Minister of Fire

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    the 'upstairs', as in a bedroom?
  3. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    If it is a grand they make humidifying units that attach directly under the sound board and keep the unit fit. Since they have them for grands I would also imagine one could be had for an upright.

    Here is the first company that popped up in google. http://www.pianolifesaver.com/english/home.php

    pen
  4. Wood Heat Stoves

    Wood Heat Stoves Minister of Fire

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    Woodstoves can really dry the air out in a house. I keep a container full of water on mine to add humidity to the air but with a piano, I would think the humidifier is a great idea.
  5. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Humidifier in my home.
  6. Jaugust124

    Jaugust124 Feeling the Heat

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    Seems to me my Mom used to keep a jar of water in the piano for humidity as best as I can remember or maybe she was just told to do that. Can't say for sure, but might work.
  7. NextEndeavor

    NextEndeavor Burning Hunk

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    Guess I’ve heard others also say a wood stove will dry out a house. This past winter was my first year burning to which we ran the stove nearly 100% of the time. Based on our very little natural gas usage I’d say we supplemented with the easy but costly gas heat less than 20% of our heating requirements. That said, I didn’t notice any difference in our humidity levels from a normal Iowa winter compared to our 94% efficient furnace. Both appliances basically burn something on one side of metal transferring the heat to the air (convection) on the other side. That is what a “heat exchanger†is. My stove also puts out a lot of radiant energy (heat you feel on your face) that one doesn’t get with a forced air furnace. I don’t know how the actual water in the air would change between appliances. If anything, the stove might pull in a small amount of outside air to burn the wood. Outside humidity is very low in the winter on cold days. Given the same water content inside, the actual % humidity level would go down as the temperature goes up (further away from the dew point). So I’m guessing most people with wood heat who can enjoy warmer houses have lower humidity because they choose to keep the house a lot warmer (we sure did).
    Does that theory sound reasonable?
  8. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    No need to guess. Get a hygrometer and measure the humidity. Then boost the humidity when you need too. Keep it between 35 and 45.
  9. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

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    I would trade the piano for a big screen TV for watching Baywatch Reruns in slow motion.
  10. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

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    That sounds exactly right to me, though Franks might have a good idea too.

    You see a lot of houses heated with wood that are also bone dry in the winter time. I think if these homeowners had to heat their drafty old farmhouses with propane then they would either tighten up the old house or bulldoze it and build new, then their humidity would go up because they weren't burning wood anymore!

    My house will be reasonably tight AFTER I finish the attic stair way, but even with a significant leak the humidity has not dropped below 35% over two winters, and mostly stayed closer to 50%.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Also beware if you install a stove in the upstairs, can you get a tall enough chimney without too much problem? As for the humidity, I'd put a pot of water on the stove and also have a humidifier.
  12. hemlock

    hemlock Feeling the Heat

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    Hello,
    The chimney will be about 25' (cathedral ceiling, and I'm leaning towards a pellet stove for this one.)
    I can't see humidity being a huge problem. The climate out here is wet, wet, wet for the bteer part of the year. The Atlantic ocean in 200 yards from my back porch.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The wood stove is not going to dry out the space any more than an electric heater placed there. Relative humidity is relative to the dewpoint which in winter can be at a low temp. Heating indoors to 40ºF above the dewpoint. (or in celcius say 23C), is going to drop the relative humidity in the space regardless of the heat source. If you are in a mild damp winter climate, the interior humidity may not be too bad because the dewpoint is much higher than say a clear, cold day in Kansas. Because of this, we rarely get below 40% humidity here unless we have a clear, dry cold spell. For example, it's 45F outside and the dewpoint is at 40F. My office is at 69F and 52% humidity currently.

    One way to supplement interior humidity is with lots of plants. They look good and transpire moisture back into the air.
  14. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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  15. hemlock

    hemlock Feeling the Heat

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    Sounds like I won't be getting my second stove. My wife informs me she called a piano tuner who avised her that there is no way a piano should be in the same room as a stove or it may crack. I can't defuse this. $^^$#(*^%@!
  16. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    I'd guess proximity would be the real variable here. If the piano would be close enough to heat up one section significantly more than another you certainly could have problems...the least of which would be keeping in tune...theres a fantastic amount of force being applied inside those things, cracking is certainly a real concern. If you do it, make sure you have some sort of solid object between the stove and piano to absorb/deflect the radiation from contacting the piano directly.
  17. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    you can always use the "pianos, traditionally, for a few hundred years, would sit in rooms with stoves and fireplaces, cuz thats all they had back then".
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Silly man, must be Mr. Opperknockity. They say that Opperknockity only tunes once!
  19. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    I would have to whole-heatedly disagree.

    Technically you are correct that the heater does not "dry out" the space. It is the exchange of air which causes the drying. If the air outside is 20F with 70% relative humidity, simply bringing that air inside and heating it to 70F will make the RH 10%. (Same amount of 'water' in the air, but warm air can hold much more water, so the relative % is less. When you run an electric heater there is no outside air exchange and no humidity change - beyond the natural 'breathing' of the house.

    When you run a wood stove, every pound of wood needs around 15 pounds of air (~200 cubic feet) to burn. If that air comes from an OAK, that may be similar to electric heat - no extra outside air exchange. But if the stove is just taking air from the room, then air needs to come in from outside to replace it. When that cold outside air heats up, the RH drops and you have dry indoor air.

    To burn a 50 pound 'armload' of wood, you need about 10,000 cubic feet of air - basically all of the air in a 1250 sq.ft house with an 8 foot ceiling. That is where piano cracking dry air comes from.

    PS - Some will say 'Wow, that is a lot of air, how does my house ever stay warm?" But don't forget air has a specific heat of only .24btu per pound per degree F. So warming 750 pounds of 20 degree air required to burn 50 pounds of wood: 750 pounds x .24 BTU x (70F - 20F) = 9000 BTU.... about the heat in a pound of wood.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Good point cozy, so no more than a gas stove in there?
  21. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    I have heated my house with a crappy old inefficient natural gas furnace, a 90+ efficient furnace (all combustion air from the outside) and wood stoves......and it has always been dry in the the house in the winter. I can run 3 gallon of water a day threw the humidifier and make a little difference, but the house is still dry; 24 - 33% relative humidity, depending on how hard I run the humidifier. If it is cold and dry, the house will be dry no matter what kind of heat you have. That's been my experience.
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    When it's crystal clear and 25% humidity outside, you get to a point in winter where indoors it's a difference between Sahara or Gobi desert dry, choose your desert.
  23. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    Yep ;-)
  24. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    I guess it would depend on the stove. Some of the options:

    Vent free gas stove - No outside air exchange, so no 'drying' effect and this would actually put humidity in the air from the water created during combustion... with methane: CH4 + O2 -> H2O + CO2, plus various other chemicals in the 'exhaust'

    Any stove using outside air (gas, wood, pellet, etc), any type of electric heat - these would be humidity neutral...not adding or removing humidity.

    Anything with a flue pulling indoor air - these would have the drying effect due to air exchange as mentioned earlier.

    Though as posted above - sometimes when it gets cold in the winter, the indoor air is dry regardless. That is simply due to the natural air exchange of the house. Around here, seems like we fight 6 months of the year to put humidity in the air, then fight the other 6 to dry things out. You can try to seal windows, doors, add caulking and generally make the house 'tighter'. I try to 'recycle' some humidity I use a small fan in the bathroom to blow the hot/humid air out to the rest of the house as opposed to the bath fan sucking it outside, hang clothes to dry inside, some people vent the dryer indoors through a filter to capture that heat humidity plus not pulling outdoor air in to feed the dryer, or my wife's favorite, cook a big steamy pot of spaghetti. Though with something as fragile as a piano, the OP may want a more controlled humidity level.
  25. boxerdogheidi

    boxerdogheidi Member

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    I have had my upright piano in the same room as the wood stove for about 20 years now. I have it tuned every year and haven't had any problems.
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