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Will my gear be ok in a cold (dampish?) room?

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Will my gear be ok in a cold (dampish?) room?

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:45 pm
by Sosabba
Hi all

I've recently moved house... The new house has a converted cow shed - attached to the house - which will eventually become my studio. (There'll be more posts coming up on that in the future I'm sure!!) It needs a lot of work as it hasn't been used for a long while and wasn't converted to the best standards. There is a radiator, but on a cold night it can get as low as 6 degrees or so. At its peak it gets to around 14. The surveyor also said there are damp issues, although I have a cheap hygrometer and it tends to read around the 65% mark and doesn't fluctuate much.

I've been a bit reluctant to unpack any of my more expensive gear, most notably my Event Opal monitors. Am I being overly cautious? Will they be fine in that kind of environment? And what about guitars? I wanna get them out but don't want them to come to harm...

Many thanks

Re: Will my gear be ok in a cold (dampish?) room?

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:25 pm
by Wonks
Really not a good environment for equipment at all. There will be condensation. I'd avoid storing guitars there at all and not speakers or mics. Other equipment should be OK for a very short while, though I'd keep it in boxes and cover it up with blankets to slow down thermal changes.

It's going to get damp, so make sure it's thoroughly dried out once you get heating going before applying power.

But it really needs to be kept above 14°C at all times to be suitable for long term storage and usage.

Re: Will my gear be ok in a cold (dampish?) room?

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:29 pm
by James Perrett
I'd be very worried about the damp and also temperature fluctuations. I keep my studio (which is in a separate building) at a minimum of 12 degrees although I used to have a studio in a shed where the temperature could go very low and, apart from tuning problems due to temperature changes, it seemed to survive. However, these studios had no damp problems.

A cowshed gives me a picture of a building with plenty of gaps for air to get in and out which means that most of the heat from your heater will be wasted. I wouldn't want to put any gear in there until it had been properly converted.

Re: Will my gear be ok in a cold (dampish?) room?

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:51 pm
by Tim Gillett
Maybe it's not possible but ideally I'd deal with the problem at its source by addressing damp issues, increasing natural heating, insulation etc. Even pruning, removing or replacing a tree which otherwise blocks natural sunlight can make a big difference. Windows, awnings - sometimes removal of awnings - even the colour of an outside wall can make a big difference. Help nature's elements work for us rather and against. Find out the daily and seasonal path of the sun in the area. Look up passive solar heating for buildings. How much is possible depends often on funds and how long term is our stay there of course. ... ing_design

Re: Will my gear be ok in a cold (dampish?) room?

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:54 pm
by blinddrew
I'd be particularly concerned about instruments and microphones, but that being said, my studio/study* is frequently down in single figures at this time of year and I've had no problems (I may regret saying that). It might help that I don't put the heating on when I use it so it only warms up very slowly from the heat of the computer and my body heat.
But I guess the main thing is that it is dry.

* depending on if you talk to me or my wife :)

Re: Will my gear be ok in a cold (dampish?) room?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:30 am
by Sosabba
Hi all

Many thanks for the replies. A couple of clarifications before a few more questions if I may please...

The cowshed is converted. It has thick 600mm walls and double glazing to lower level doors/windows. But there are two skylights which are single glazed and of poor quality, and the vaulted ceiling only has around 50-75mm insulation. The floor is suspended chipboard and the surveyor said there might be damp issues beneath as it has risen a bit in places. We're gonna be changing the internal layout, adding insulation, addressing the floor, and various other things. Basically, gutting it and getting it up to spec. So my questions were all about using the room in the short term (next half a year or so).

The temperature doesn't fluctuate massively in short spaces of time. The range is more a reflection of time of day and what the weather's like outside. When the heating goes on it tends to warm it up quite slowly and only by a handful of degrees, perhaps due to the size and insulation lacking. The main house probably fluctuates similarly - as do other houses I've been in - they just fluctuate in a bit of a higher range! That being said, we're frugal with the heating!

Nothing feels damp to the touch in the room, although I'm sure that's not the whole story. Having kept a good eye on the hygrometer the last two days, it's gone between 60 and 63 with temps ranging from 8.5 to 11 ish.

So does that change any opinions? I wish I'd recorded the RH where I used to live! Or that I had a better memory!

I'm also thinking it would be a good idea to get a more accurate hygrometer, especially as I'm reading mid sixties at times. If it's -/+5%, I'm thinking there's a massive difference between 60 and 70 if it ends up being inaccurate to that extent. I've found a unit that is accurate to -/+1%. It's for cigar humidors but I've checked with the manufacturer and a retailer who both say it's fine to use as a room hygrometer. It's the Cigar Oasis/Western Caliber IV (or 4r). Has anyone come across these before? Any other accurate hygrometer questions?

Thanks again for all the help