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The Forgotten Element - November 2022

As we approach winter and the heating season, I thought it timely to make you think about an important element: Water.

As your heaters begin to work, one of the common side effects of their use, more so than air conditioning, is the drying out of your home. You notice this with door jams, cabinets, and all sorts of things. For those of us who have pianos, controlled humidity is essential to preserve adhesives of different materials to wood like the felt on a hammer to the wood used to hold it. Sudden change in humidity sets off rapid contractions that may disrupt the attachment of adhesives. It can, as well, affect speakers erupting in the sudden appearance of unforeseen rattles or buzzes.

The most common experience involves you: static shock. This frequently happens as you walk across a carpet and touch a metal object that is grounded. ZAP! With today’s electronics and touch panels, I have seen where they become “locked up” by such a static shock. 99% of the time, simply turning off the product and turning it back on will suffice to bring it back to life. Sometimes you may also need to unplug the device for a few minutes and then start the product again.

Another common area this happens is with playing LPs, records, vinyl or whatever term you have for those black discs (fun intended on that one). Some companies have made a nice living by selling things like specially treated felt mats to static guns like Zerostat. They can work pretty well. But, I would like to suggest an entirely different approach, one that is inexpensive and can be healthy for you (those who suffer nose bleeds know this) IF DONE RIGHT.

It is called adding humidity. There are humidifiers, vaporizers, and even pretty cool lighted fountains. All of these are capable of solving humidity levels in your home. Along with one of these you should have a humidity monitor and these are very cheap and sold all over the place. I sell them as well and try to keep my house to 30 to 40% during the winter months.

Now, and this is really important, you MUST care for these devices using water. Not only should you use distilled water to avoid damaging the unit with mineral deposits but you also need to use some form of anti-bacterial treatment once in awhile and preferably, weekly. For vaporizers, cleaning with a little bleach is quite effective. Now some folks might flinch at spending a little for safety but given today’s medical charges, it’s incredibly cheap. If you have a humidifier on your furnace, remember to keep that clean as well. Remember, chlorinated water is only effective for so long and just add a bit of airborne dirt or dander and that pretty much finishes that. Just think about your pet’s water dish outside and you get the picture.

So, as always, happy and safe listening! -Lou

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