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Damp-Chasers for Pianos.

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

Grand Piano Damp Chaser
Grand Piano Damp Chaser

""Damp-Chaser" (Dampp-Chaser Inc.) refers to a manufacturer and brand of humidity control systems designed for use inside or under pianos. Pianos are sensitive to changes in humidity, and fluctuations in moisture levels often causes damage to the piano over time. To address this issue, Damp-Chaser systems were created to regulate and stabilize the humidity under and/or inside the piano.

The Damp-Chaser system typically consists of the following components:

  1. Humidifier: A device that releases moisture into the air to maintain an appropriate level of humidity around the piano, especially during dry conditions. The piano owner using water, flexible tubes and a specialized watering can to keep the moisture level consistent throughout the dry months of the year. Moisture is drawn from the water and toward the piano, through the use of specialized cloth pads that dip into the water.

  2. Dehumidifier: This component helps remove excess moisture from the air when the humidity is too high in and/or under the piano. The dehumidifier is a metal tube of varying lengths that is attached inside or under the piano and is heated through the use of electricity. The dry heat from this metal tube(s) removes the excessive moisture from the piano when the humidity level is too high. Excessive humidity can also be very damaging to the piano.

  3. Humidistat: A sensor that measures the humidity level in the piano's environment. It communicates with the humidifier and dehumidifier to adjust their operations accordingly and maintain the desired humidity level. The consistent level of humidity in a piano helps keep the piano more in tune (closer to A 440) between annual tunings and also extends the life of the piano.

  4. Indicator Lights: Damp-Chaser systems come with an electronic indicator that has three indicator lights: 1) a light to indicate that the system is operational, 2) a light to indicate that the humidifier component needs more water, and 3) a light to indicate the pads in the humidifier needs replacing.

The primary purpose of a Damp-Chaser system is to protect the piano from the adverse effects of humidity fluctuations, such as wood swelling and contracting, which can lead to tuning instability and potential damage to the instrument's structural integrity. By maintaining a stable humidity level, a Damp-Chaser helps prolong the life of the piano and ensures it remains in optimal playing condition.

It's important to note that while Damp-Chaser systems can help mitigate the effects of humidity on a piano, they do not replace other essential aspects of piano care, such as regular tuning, cleaning, and maintenance by a qualified piano tuner/technician.

The picture above indicates a typical Damp-Chaser installation and components when installed under a grand piano. Installation is similar on an upright piano except most of the components are installed inside the piano near the floor. Due to the complexity of a Damp-Chaser system, installation is best performed by a certified Damp-Chaser piano tuner/technician.

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