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How the garage can ruin your piano

What do you do with the family piano when you need more room in your home for an extended period of time? If you are thinking that you’d just put it in the garage, this post could save you around $12,000.

While an experienced pianist might know that the instrument needs special care, the average piano owner might not realize the type of beating that the elements can deal out to it. When you finally dig it out of the garage, it could be unplayable!

Understanding why storing your piano is a big deal takes us back to the basics of how the instrument is built and responds to its environment. The wooden components of a piano are constantly expanding and contracting with
changes in humidity. This swelling and shrinking is normal and it causes pitch change, which is why your piano needs regular tuning. What isn’t normal is the type of severe swings in humidity that will happen in a garage.

Regular humidity fluctuation sets the piano out of tune. Severe fluctuations will break the components of the piano, rendering it untenable. The most common damage that I see from pianos left out in the garage are broken pin block and soundboard. Both of those problems require extensive and expensive repair.  A new pin block and installation costs between $6,000 and $7,000. Buying and replacing a soundboard will cost you around $12,000.

I’ve seen this occur in as little as a year. I’ve also had plenty of piano buyers who’ve found an old upright at a garage sale or on Craigslist only to find out that it’s ruined.

The best way to keep this from happening to your piano is to put it in climate-controlled storage for as long as you need the space clear. Ideally a piano should be kept in a space of around 70 degrees and at between 42% and 44% humidity.

In our climate controlled piano storage facility, your piano will be kept at 70 degrees and 42% humidity all day every day. If you ever have the need to keep your piano somewhere, ask about our storage options and make sure that your piano comes back in a condition as good as it was when you put it away.

 

Photo: Impermanencia by Fran Parra Carrion

Piano sounds wonderful. Vickie Wilson
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Teacher