Best Tools to Install Piano Life Saver Dampp-Chaser System

Kevin Busse Feb 09, 2024
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Countersinks

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. 

The installation of a Dampp-Chaser internal humidity control system requires various tools to install. Scrolling through this list of helpful tools may be the best way to prepare your tool kit readiness.

The tools may be simple and inexpensive, but these pointers will help you achieve a professional installation as a qualified piano technician.

This piano humidity control system is installed especially if there aren't sufficient whole-house humidifiers & De-humidifiers.

Here are the tools I have used as a Professional Piano Technician for numerous Dampp-Chaser installations.

What are the best tools to Install a Piano LifeSaver / Dampp-chasers?

Dewalt Contractor Bag Large

Dewalt 18" Large Contractor Tool Bag

One of the items that made my job of satisfaction installing a Dampp Chaser significantly better was a large work bag dedicated to installing the basic components of this system.

I carry a separate Dampp-Chaser system tool kit dedicated to ensure I have everything that I need, along with my regular tuning tools for piano care.

Hex Bit

1/4" sized Hex bit

I carry a hex bit because it is far better at gripping the screws that are provided in a Piano LifeSaver kit.

I’ll admit that the Phillips head screws are an improvement to the flat head screws included in the installation kit, but the hex bit makes it 3x easier to handle the screws.

The hex bit is also magnetic which helps hold it securely in place, which I’ve learned to appreciate!

Tubing Cutter

Tubing Cutter

This tubing cutter is used to cut the length of the D.C. hanger rods to mount the water tank.

Cutting to length the rods helps keep the underside of the piano tidy, and maintains extra space.

The "tubing cutter" cutting process takes a few minutes. Although it takes extra time, I believe there are advantages to being able to perform this rod cutting task completely by hand.

It's usefull to have a pair of vice grips to isolate the rod while rotating the tubing cutter with your hands.

Vice Grip

Medium Small Vice Grip

Small Drill

Milwauke Compact Drill & Driver Kit

This compact drill is preferable for working on the undersides of a piano. While it may not be the tiny-est of drills, it has enough power to perform more than just Damppchaser installations.

For purposes of:

  • Mounting indicator lights

It has 4 interchangeable heads for navigating the beams of a piano as well as the tight crevices we often work in.

Often, it is difficult to reach places with a drill to properly install a Humidity Control System like the Piano Life Saver in either a grand piano or upright piano.

All too often, a Piano Technician like myself must get creative with screw drivers and drills that are not the correct size for the job.

Counter Sink Bit Kit

Countersink Drill Bit Set

Wiring work for upright pianos sometimes requires drilling through polyester on the inside of the piano case.

It's also used before mounting the dehumidifier rods for any vertical installations.

Rather than crackling the finish, it is best to use a countersink before screwing into the wood (even though no one will see the inside of the piano).

Clips, brackets, stick ties

Clamps, Screws, bendable clasps

Over time, I’ve accumulated many clips, clasps, and sticky clamps.

The bendable clamps are best used for mounting the power cord so that customers can easily store the cord using their own hands.

The sticky clamps should never be used. Always avoid if possible.

Frequently, I have found that the stickiness of the sticky clamps fail. This goes for sticky Velcro as well.

I no longer trust sticky adhesives because they often fail.

zip ties and cutter

White Zip Ties & Flush Cutter

*I included white zip ties in the link so that it is easier to tell the difference between what should be cut vs. kept when removing the zip ties.

Zip ties and clippers like these are extra items I like to use to perform the “housekeeping” or wire management for each installation.

Though there are usually enough clips to go around in each installation kit, it is recommended to tie up any extra wires that aren’t stationary.

It is crucial to avoid any extra buzzing, interference, or stray wires. Keep it neat and professional.

Humidifier pads

Humidifier Pads cut in half

I always keep an ample supply of Dampp-Chaser pads in case the red light appears on a client's piano.

The pads sit on top of the humidifier heater bar and wicks moisture, after being sized properly by cutting it in half

Learn how to replace: How-To Instructions for Dampp-Chaser Pads Replacement

*If the piano has dual tank installations, then the amount of pads you'll need to use doubles. This is only for concert grand-sized instruments.

Pad Treatment

Dampp-Chaser Pad Treatment

This is humidifier treatment for the humidifier tank to enhance the wicking ability of the pads, ensuring proper humidification, and maintaining a clean tank.

I keep a few bottles just for customers who may want one from me, rather than to buy it later online.

Distilled water can be a better alternative because it does not include minerals found in tap water, which will cause a build-up of residue.

Dampp-Chaser Combo Pack

Dampp-Chaser Combo Pack includes:

  • Clean Sleeve for humidifier heater bar

  • 4 pads

  • 16 oz pad treatment bottle

  • Humidifier tank liner

You'll likely never use the humidifier tank unless it leaks, which I have never seen occur.

Having said that, these are the rest of the items from the Dampp-Chaser Company for regular piano service that are required to maintain the whole system.

Please note that warranty service (like replacing heater bars & sensors etc.) may require ordering parts directly from Dampp-Chaser for warranty issue.

Related:

How-To Instructions for Dampp-Chaser Pads Replacement

Piano Life Saver / Dampp-Chaser Humidity Control System

10 Things to Know about the Piano Life Saver System

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase.