Dry Climate Effect on Instruments

Dry Climate Effect on Instruments

If you consistently look at your water bill, you’ll realize how much less water we use during the winter months. It typically takes quite a lot of water to keep a lawn looking green. Hopefully, depending on where you are located, you’ll get enough snow or rain this year to provide the runoff your city needs come spring.

This is the time of year when people notice their skin drying out and their noses feeling the effects of less humidity. We pull out the room humidifiers, our Neti pots and our saline nose spray. It’s never all that humid here but winters are especially dry.

According to https://water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html, our bodies are made up of mostly water. Though it varies a bit from person to person, babies at birth are about 78 percent water. By one year of age, that amount drops to about 65 percent. In adult men, about 60 percent of our bodies are water, and for women, 55 percent.

Without water a person will not survive more than a few days. We can go without food much longer than water.

They say the comfort zone for humidity is 30-65 percent. Many places can dip well under 65 and dip well below 30 in the winter, especially at higher altitudes.

And speaking of higher altitudes, have you ever noticed feeling dehydrated after a long airplane flight? There’s good reason for that. According to EverydayHealth.com the humidity inside a jet airplane is generally 10-20 percent, well below what our bodies need. Simply drinking a lot of water when flying will make you feel much better (though it may mean more trips to that lovely bathroom at the back of the plane.)

Many musicians are also acutely aware of the importance of water when in their music room at home. If you have guitars made of wood, here’s a fund fact. Did you know that a live tree has a moisture content that’s 200 percent higher than the fiber content? Once you cut the tree and mill the wood, the moisture content drops significantly.

Wood will shrink or swell depending on the moisture level of its environment. Experts say a moisture level (humidity level) below 30 percent almost guarantees some shrinkage. So if an instrument or piece of furniture dries out, bad things can happen.

According to Denver Folklore Center, one of the top Collings guitar dealers, many guitar owners who move from humid climates to the mountains find out the hard way what happens when you don’t humidify the instrument or the room in which it lives. You get cracks in the top or back, the bridge starts to pull up, the neck shrinks and the fret edges become very sharp.

Your instruments cost money and weather can have a great impact so keep your instruments safe from humility and water.

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