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The Ideal Piano Climate?

Updated: Mar 11


How does temperature affect the piano? Many misinterpret why we need to keep a piano away from heating and cooling vents. It is true that these greatly affect the piano, however, the main reason is not the temperature itself but its effect on relative humidity or how much water the air is carrying. The real question is then...

How does humidity affect the piano?


Being comprised of wood, piano parts can absorb water resulting in expanding or losing water resulting in shrinking. One of the most noticeable effects this has on the piano can be heard. That's right, the tuning on your piano will be affected by the wooden soundboard shrinking and expanding. The more moisture the soundboard gains the more pressure it exerts on the strings causing the pitch to go sharp. As the soundboard loses moisture the string relaxes and the pitch falls flat.

Different problems may occur if piano action parts are allowed to shrink. Parts become loose causing clicking and noises when a key is played.

With dramatic climate changes, often amplified by a heat source near the piano, the wood can dry to the point of cracking and glue failure. Soundboards that are cracked are very expensive to repair or replace.

To prevent all of these issues, we must find a way to regulate the amount of water the wood is absorbing or releasing.

Finding an Equilibrium


Manufacturers tell us the piano was designed to perform best at forty-two percent relative humidity. The main point, however, is to keep the humidity level controlled and consistent.

One way to achieve this is to install complete humidity control for your house or piano room. This is an expensive venture and in my opinion not worth the trouble when other options are just as effective.

The Dampp-Chaser Company makes a humidity control system that creates a micro-climate inside your piano. The Piano Life Saver system works to create a stable environment by regulating humidity levels right at the soundboard.

Summary

Pianos require a controlled climate to help keep the parts in good working condition. Tuning will be more stable and less affected by seasonal changes if you have a Piano Life Saver System or full humidity control in your house or music room. Remember, damage can occur to the piano if it is allowed to shrink and expand with severe humidity changes.

JOSEPH RAVILLE, RPT

Dallas Piano Tuner

Up to Pitch LLC

469-554-8863

joseph@uptopitch.services

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