I have several hobbies I enjoy, but music has been my core passion since I was a young child. Back then, I was just happy to get my hands on a cheap starter guitar from a department store to pluck away at aimlessly. I would have salivated at the thought of owning some of the amazing acoustic guitars I own today. Some of them are made with beautiful dark mahogany and others with alder and pine. I have a safe room to store them in, but I can’t figure out how to maintain the humidity in there to protect the guitars. Too much moisture and the wood will swell and crack, leaving considerable structural damage that can alter the way it sounds and plays. If the environment is too dry, the wood will shrink and contract which can lead to many of the same results. In the end, you end up with severe damage that is often irreparable, so it’s best to control for humidity at all costs before your guitars start degrading. The magic number is somewhere around 50% depending on the make of your instrument. Someone I know mentioned the idea of putting a zone controlled HVAC system in my music room, but since the air supply from my central AC was consistent and strong to that room, I couldn’t justify the expense of giving it a separate air conditioner altogether. My central goal was controlling for humidity after all, so this solution seemed like overkill. Instead, I went out and bought a small portable dehumidifier. It comes with its own humidity meter and can be set to maintain a space to a predetermined humidity level. I can set it right at 50% and know that the room will not get too wet or get too dry. When you’re protecting instruments that cost over $1,000 a piece, you can’t afford to cut corners on humidity control.