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Humidity: Antique Furniture and Clocks

Humidity – Does it really matter?

Please read this before it is to late. This particular topic is very dear to my heart. It is vital for not only for people that own antique clocks and furniture, but people that care about their health. No doubt many ears pricked up when I mentioned health. Yes that’s right. Low humidity and high humidity have been found to be major contributors to asthma. Humidity changes and the incorrect humidity will effect all things like your plaster, cornice or your newly laid expensive wood floor. If you do not take action splits or the joints opening up or general warping can occur.

Not Low or High Humidity

All natural things are susceptible to damage from either low or high humidity, whether that be mold damage or shrinkage damage. Antique furniture pieces are often veneered, which means a flamboyant wood like mahogany on the outside and oak or pine on the carcass. Different woods have differing expansion rates. Rapid changes to humidity or prolonged low humidity will therefore lead to warping, splitting or cracks developing in the veneers. Veneers on antiques are stuck on normally by ‘animal glues’, after changes to humidity and temperature over time veneers tend to drop off.  This can be an early sign of the incorrect humidity levels in your home or office.

Early Signs of Problems

Another early warning sign is the hood glass on your grandfather clock splitting from side to side. The door frame shrinks leaving the glass no where to go. If this happens get your humidity levels urgently checked before expensive restoration work is required. If this problem is left untreated it may be too late.

Humidifiers Are Vital

Antique clocks and furniture should be kept in a controlled environment. Rapid changes to humidity or prolonged low or high humidity can cause damage as described above. Low humidity is damaging for antiques, as a result many antiques have been ruined by central heating. This is a real shame and something that is easily corrected.

Purchase a hygrometer

Humidity is the amount of moisture or water molecules in the air. Keep your humidity between 40-65%. Purchase a hygrometer to check whether you have an issue. Humidity levels can be adjusted to the correct levels by either a humidifier (if you have low humidity) or a de-humidifier. (in cases of high humidity)

Customers can benefit if you have low humidity and like it warm can increase your humidity. Higher humidity will make you will be able to have noticeably lower temperatures and still feel comfortable. Slightly increasing your humidity can therefore save on heating costs. Contact me now at Pendulum of Mayfair, for more information.


By controlling your humidity to the desired levels you can therefore:

1) save your antiques from damage

2) save money on your heating bill

3) look after your health in the process