humidity and extreme temperature changes are the enemies
of the piano. The piano is basically a wooden instrument.
Too much moisture in the air will cause the keys and
action parts to swell, resulting in sticking and sluggish
notes. The felts will, over time, become hard, resulting
in a noisy action. The tuning pin blocka laminated
hardwood block into which the tuning pins are driven,
will expand around those pins, and then, when the surrounding
are becomes dry and the block loses some of its moisture,
will contract, causing the tuning pins to become loose,
resulting in a piano that will not "hold a tune."
The steel strings will become rusty and destroy the
tone of the instrument. The other metal parts will,
likewise, rust and eventually need to be replaced.
ideal level of humidity for a piano is around 40 per
cent. While it is almost impossible to maintain a particular
level of humidity in a home, certain precautions can
be taken. Dont place the piano near a window or
door where it will be exposed to dramatic changes in
outside humidity. Dont place the piano near an
air-conditioning/heating duct. Dont place the
piano near a fireplace or other source of heat, which
will dry out the air.
brings us to the second "enemy"extreme
temperature change. Many of the things mentioned above
relate to temperature change as well as humidity. While
humidity changes will alter the tuning of the piano,
temperature changes will "knock" a piano out
of tune even faster. Do not locate a piano where it
will be exposed to direct sunlight. Not only will the
sunlight fade the finish, but the piano will go "out
of tune" in an incredibly short time. Placing a
piano on an outside wall was, in years past, a "no-no."
Insulation techniques and air circulation were poor,
and methods of heating were such that a piano would
"sweat" when placed against an outside wall.
However, with todays central air conditioning,
this is not nearly so much a problem.
excellent way to deal with the humidity problem is to
have your technician install a piano de-humidifier. This
device consists of a long aluminum tube containing a heating
element which heats to about the temperature of a hot-water
pipe, and a hunidistat, which turns the heating element
on when the humidity level gets above 40% and off when
the level falls below 40%. The entire unit is installed
inside the lower cabinet of a vertical piano, or suspended
directly underneath a grand piano. Power consumption is
negligible, and the unit will last for many years. A humidifier
is also available, which plugs into the same humidistat.
The humidifier is, in most cases, not really necessary
in this climate.