You can trace just about every piano aging issue back to one problem – humidity. Because it is made of wood, humidity is the primary threat to its condition. In this post I want to explain how humidity impacts the piano and give you a couple of ways to reduce that impact.
HOW HUMIDITY AFFECTS YOUR PIANO
Even small changes in humidity affect your piano. The wood of the instrument expands and contracts. Every wooden part, from the soundboard to the action changes with humidity.
When there is more humidity the soundboard expands and the strings are stretched tighter than they were under normal conditions. Likewise, when the humidity decreases the wooden parts shrink and the strings loosen. The shrinking is more severe than the swelling, and so the piano goes out of tune.
WHY HUMIDITY IS A PROBLEM FOR YOUR PIANO
Aside from bringing the piano out of tune, that constant expansion and contraction causes damage to the piano over time. Some of the problems that can arise from this are loose tuning pins, cracked soundboards and failure of some glue joints. If left unchecked a piano can become unable to be tuned.
HOW TO PREVENT WEAR FROM HUMIDITY
The only way to limit problems from humidity is to limit exposure to humidity. There are a few ways to do that:
First, you can take measures to naturally protect your piano. If possible, don’t put the piano in a place where it will be exposed to direct sunlight. Try to avoid heating and air conditioning vents as well, or any other source of temperature extremes. These are a couple of ways that you can reduce the effects of humidity on your piano.
The second way is to install a Piano Life Saver. This is a humidity control system that we at Bruce Piano install for many customers who need to keep their piano at its best throughout the year. The Piano Life Saver fits into your piano and stabilizes the moisture content in the wood. This product ultimately keeps the piano in tune for longer and prevents damage due to moisture.
Third, if you have to store the piano, do so in a climate-controlled environment. While humidity does fluctuate inside your house, the fluctuations in a garage or a storage locker can be extreme. Plenty of folks put their piano in a storage locker for an extended time not realizing that when they get it back it might be severely damaged.
TRUST BRUCE PIANO TO PROTECT YOUR PIANO FROM HUMIDITY
If your piano is out of tune, schedule a service appointment with Bruce Piano. We’ll take a look at what condition the piano is in and recommend necessary repairs. If you’re interested in protecting your piano for the long haul, we also install the Piano Life Saver. Contact us to learn more!
Photo Credit: Humidity by Jenny Downing