Pianos are notoriously finicky instruments and are particularly choosy about where you place them. If they were able to speak, they’d complain incessantly about the dry heat, AC and too much sunlight. So how can you set up the Perfect Environment for Your Piano to keep happy (and performing well)?
Reduce Temperature and Humidity Fluctuations
Like any musical instrument made of wood, pianos are sensitive to fluctuations in temperature and especially humidity. Excessive humidity can cause the wood to swell and expand, while dry air will result in the wood shrinking and in extreme cases cracking. Seasonal changes in temperature and humidity affect all instruments, at a minimum raising or lowering the piano’s pitch as the wood expands or contracts. But if left unchecked, climate alone can cause much damage to your instrument.
Aside from the wooden frame, other parts can likewise be affected. The felt can be damaged from absorbing too much moisture, and metal strings can begin to rust due to condensation. Extreme heat can cause some of the glued parts to loosen, whereas cold temperatures can weaken the wooden parts such as hammers, causing them to snap easily.
You want to keep the temperature and humidity levels fairly constant in the room where your piano lives. But don’t be lulled into a sense of security by climate control. If your space uses dry heat or AC vents that blow cold air directly onto the instrument, that may do more harm than good.
Perfect Piano Temperature and Humidity
So what is the perfect temperature and humidity level for your piano? The recommendation is around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Small fluctuations of a couple degrees are ok. As far as humidity is concerned, you’d do best to stay between 40% – 45% relative humidity. These are the ideal conditions for your musical instrument that will prevent it from being damaged by the elements.
It is not enough, however, to control the temperature and humidity in the room. You must find the perfect spot for your fussy piano. Remember it doesn’t like being close to any source of heat, cold, blowing air or sunlight.
With that in mind, you should not place an instrument next to a radiator or directly underneath an AC vent. Your piano should feel the ambient temperature in the room without being exposed to its extreme hot or cold spots. Likewise you want to keep it away from open windows and frequently used doorways, which can create sudden fluctuations in humidity and produce condensation. And in the case of a sudden downpour, a forgotten open window can get your instrument soaked.
It is never a good idea to have your instrument close to a fireplace. Though it sounds cozy to play your piano next to a roaring fire on a cold winter night, your instrument will not thank you for this idea. Aside from completely drying out the wood of your piano, a wayward spark can set the whole thing on fire. Please be careful!
Read also: Is It Hard To Tune A Piano?
Finally, even direct rays of sunlight can blemish your piano’s beautiful finish, causing discoloration, fading or even cracking. If the lid of your instrument is left open, the sun can harm its soundboard and pinblock.
Respect Your Piano
A few other tips that may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often we encounter these scenarios in our clients’ spaces.
- Do not use your instrument like a shelf or storage. Stacking books, vases and picture frames on top may look nice, but these objects will vibrate with the string vibrations resulting in scratches to the piano’s finish.
- Do not house it in a very busy area. The more people traffic there is, the more possibility of spilled drinks, bumps and other accidents that can harm your piano.
- If you have pets, make sure to keep the keys and lids covered when not in use. It may be adorable to watch your cat snuggle on your piano, but if pet hair gets inside the instrument, it is likely to cause damage to its parts.
So you’ve made the decision to purchase a piano. Whether old or new, it was undoubtedly an investment. Now that you own a magnificent musical instrument, treat it with the respect it deserves. In return for your love and care, it will serve you for many years to come.
Hire Professional Technichian for Piano Repair and Tuning.