Piano Dampp-Chaser Humidity System: Pros and Cons

Kevin Busse Mar 10, 2024
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Piano LifeSaver Logo

The Piano Life Saver System has pros and cons that aren’t always fully understood by piano owners who purchase them. I don’t mean to sound ominous, I wish to help point out exactly what we think as piano technicians who regularly install this piano humidity control system.

As a Professional piano technician, there are clear benefits of the dampp-chaser system by reducing the effects of humidity fluctuations and protecting the piano's soundboard and action parts. Although perfect acoustic piano conditions are a science that take time to learn, fully understand, correctly implement, and appreciate.

While the Dampp Chaser System is a great maintenance addition for most people with pianos, it’s not a comprehensive, holistic solution that most people expect from this device. This is because pianos require a narrow range of average humidity to preserve the condition of the piano best.

I like the Dampp-Chaser Corporation and the Dampp-chaser products that they offer for piano maintenance. Additionally, I’d like to fully cover this topic to help people better understand how to best maintain pianos.

Dampp-Chaser Upright Piano

Pros

  • It may be the best way for customers who don’t expect themselves to successfully maintain the humidity surrounding the piano at least as well or better than this system will.

  • It’s generally more helpful than harmful for grand pianos and upright pianos.

  • When the moisture content of the piano room is already in good shape (35-50 percent humidity), a Piano Life Saver will help to perfect the humidity range for the piano.

  • It’s easy to maintain. (Requires just pad treatment, pads, water, and electricity)

  • Requires less water than humidifying the whole room/home.

  • Intuitive monitoring of water level of the water tank

Cons

  • The system falls short to address chronic ambient humidity shortcomings of the room.

  • It humidifies/dehumidifies the interior of the cabinet of the piano, without affecting the external conditions surrounding the piano.

  • It’s not a completely holistic solution.

  • When taking ambient humidity measurements of the piano room, having a new Piano LifeSaver System will not change suboptimal ambient humidity of the entire room.

Piano LifeSaver Upright Piano

Is a Piano LifeSaver recommended if the relative humidity level of the piano room is 35-50%?

In a case like this, the piano owner likely has a humidifier/dehumidifier system that produces a stable environment which prevents soundboard swells.

The addition of a Piano LifeSaver System for rooms with 35-50%RH would help optimize the humidity level nearest to the piano with small fluctuations successfully affecting the piano even less.

I think that recommending a Piano LifeSaver System in this case, when the humidity of the room is between 35-50%RH, is the best time for a recommendation. This is because the humidity of the room is already broadly under control, which enables the Piano LifeSaver System to control the humidity surrounding the piano to a fine degree.

Bottom Line: The Piano LifeSaver System is not expected to sufficiently overcompensate for suboptimal humidity conditions. While it does improve the humidity conditions within the cabinet of the piano, the humidity concern is not resolved until the ambient humidity of the whole room is between 35-50%RH.

Piano Life Saver System from Dampp-Chaser Logo

Is a Piano LifeSaver recommended if the piano room has low humidity of 34% or high humidity of 51% and higher?

The best practice is to refrain from a Piano LifeSaver system installation until the ambient humidity of the room is made under control through the use of humidifiers/dehumidifiers. Air conditioners and heating systems will help only by a very small margin.

The only instance where I would recommend a Piano LifeSaver in this circumstance is if the customer has demonstrated an inability (whether in interest or capability) to address the humidity concern through the use of a room humidifier or dehumidifier, first.

After determining the inability of the customer to correct humidity concerns through holistic means, then the Piano LifeSaver may be an advisable solution to produce a better environment for the piano.

Dampp-Chaser Grand Piano

Piano LifeSaver Installation Recommendations

I only recommend a Piano LifeSaver installation if the piano room already has suitable humidity conditions consistently between 35-50%RH.

Except for when the customer is completely unable to address humidity concerns, I will only recommend a Piano LifeSaver to make a good humidity environment (35-50%RH) even better.

The holistic approach to solving the issue of uncontrolled humidity is to address the room as a whole first, instead of jumping to the installation of a Dampp-chaser humidity control system.

Related:

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