Piano Humidity Control
Pianos are made primarily out of wood. Wood has
many benefits. It's strong, natural, light weight, beautiful and readily
available. However, if the air around it is moist, the wood becomes moist
and swells. If the air is dry, the wood becomes dry and shrinks. In the
Austin area the relative humidity will swing between 20% RH in Winter to 80%
RH in Summer. These relative humidity swings will have an adverse effect on
In Summer the piano pitch will go sharp,
strings or tuning may begin to rust and keys may feel sluggish or even
stick, making playing impossible. In Winter the pitch will go flat and keys
may start to rattle, making unwanted noises.
The repeated swelling and shrinking of action
parts will weaken them, requiring minor repairs. Eventually, major
components of the piano like the soundboard or the pinblock may become
cracked. If the pinblock becomes cracked, the piano will not stay in tune
and the pinblock will require major rework. Replacing a pinblock
generally becomes a major overhaul of the rest of the insides of the piano.
Fortunately, complete humidity control systems
designed specifically for pianos are available which will maintain the piano
at an ideal relative humidity of between 40-50%. These systems will minimize
the adverse effects of humidity changes and should be installed and serviced
by a qualified piano technician.
I can install the Dampp-Chase Piano Life Saver
System. Call me if you would like more information about this system.