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I'm trying to keep the humidity level up in my (small 8'x10') music room using a small table top humidifier. I have a couple of guitars and a concertina that I'd like to protect from low humidity conditions during heating season. I can control the intensity of the humidifier, i.e. the rate at which extra moisture is added to the air, but it does not have the equivalent of a thermostat (hydrostat?). I'm having a hard time keeping the level close to 50%; I'm seeing swings from close to 30% up to 60% over the course of a day, depending on how much heating is going on (which in turn depends on what's going on outside). Without the humidifier, the RH would less than 30% (at least some of the time). I'm monitoring using a hygrometer that is just sitting out on a shelf.

Are there techniques to "buffer" the humidity level in a room, i.e. make it so that the humidity level is harder (slower) to change?

An idea that comes to mind is living plants, but I'm not sure if they'd have any effect. I think that some of the instrument case humidifier products might behave like this, but would it require a prohibitive amount to affect the behaviour in an entire room?

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about humidity control in a room. – Dom Nov 26 '14 at 17:52
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    @Dom: This is related to instrument maintenance, looks on topic to me. Is there another SE where it might fit better? – Meaningful Username Nov 26 '14 at 18:03
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    @MeaningfulUsername there is a home improvement SE where I think this would be better and at least to me the only part that is about music is this is where instruments are being stored which isn't really maintenance as much as it is about storage. Here are similar questions on that SE : diy.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/humidity – Dom Nov 26 '14 at 18:08
  • This will look more valid if the instruments were listed. If they're brass, it won't make much difference, but piano, and strings will.A piano humidifier/dehumidifier was mentioned yesterday.That question worked. – Tim Nov 26 '14 at 18:55
  • How many instruments do you have, and what type are they? There might be other options, such as sound hole humidifiers for guitars. – Ben Miller - Remember Monica Nov 26 '14 at 20:15
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Before going through all the trouble of working on this, research your instruments / wood types and see acceptable humidity levels.

As for a buffer, unless you can make the room airtight, super insulated and wear a spacesuit, you will always have varying humidity levels. But the bigger the room and the slower the air exchange the slower the effect.

  • Give your instruments some love, for violins and guitars etc. There are oils you can rub into the wood. EDIT: I have seen fret boards warp.

  • Keeping them away from changes in temperature is EDIT: less important than humidity. But temperature has an effect on humidity and temperature is more easily controlled.

If you still want to proceed with a solution then the 3 options I would go with are:

1 - Buy a purpose built humidifier/de-humidifier with a humidity setting

2 - Use one of these, a relay attached to a humidity potentiometer and attach it to your existing humidifer. Not sure how? Migrate the question to electronics SE

EDIT: 3 - Turn down/off your radiator valve and put in an electric heater with a sensitive thermostat and aim for a constant temperature. Always have it on and keep it well away from your instruments.

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  • Oil on woodwinds is a good idea, but on strings, it is usually really, really terrible. And humidity changes cause a lot more expansion and contraction of wood than temperature alone, so humidity is a MUCH greater concern than temperature. – Karen Dec 1 '14 at 16:01
  • Perhaps for guitar he was speaking about fretboard conditioner. Very common to use lemon oil or a similar product to condition the fretboard and make it more resilient to warping/cracking/aging. This is generally the only appropriate place to put an oil rub/finish on as it usually (with the exception of some maple fretboards) is unfinished and most prone to elemental changes. – user6164 Dec 2 '14 at 6:35
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You should consider a humidifier with a humidistat and automatic shut off.

Just search for "humidifier for music room" and look for those with a humidistat that will maintain a preset humidity level. Should be able to get one for a small room for under $100.00 I can't think of any other reliable proven method of accomplishing your goal.

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