Humidity Control for Pianos
Updated: Jun 25
Pianos and Humidity
Fluctuations in humidity are the primary contributors for an instrument going out of tune. As the pianos soundboard expands and contracts with changes in humidity, it has an impact on the strings which are attached to the soundboard and bridges. The wider and more frequent these swings in humidity, the more the tuning is compromised. Keys and the wooden action parts of the instrument are also effected as they expand and contract with humidity. This will effect the feel and touch of the piano, and over time can lead to damage to these parts. Controlling the frequency and amount of these humidity swings will help keep your tuning more stable and its touch more consistent.
Protect Your Piano
For many years we have recommended the installation of Dampp-Chaser Piano Life Saver (TM) humidity control systems for all instruments. Grands and uprights in churches and schools can always benefit from this type of humidity control as their buildings often experience huge swings in humidity as air-conditioning and heating units are turned on for services and off when the building is not being used. While most homes have more consistent AC/Heat use, there are still swings in humidity which have an impact on the instrument.
Your Pianos Environment
Complete and total humidity control can be achieved by installing systems for both reducing humidity and increasing humidity within the instrument. Different regions of the country and their respective climates will dictate which system might be needed most or if both systems should be included and installed on your piano.
The de-humidification side of the equation is simple. One or more heated rods are installed in the upright or grand as heat will reduce the humidity level. These heated rods MUST be controlled by a sensor which turns on and off the rods as needed according to the humidity level it senses. The only thing you as the owner ever has to do is just make sure the system remains plugged into an electrical outlet. That's it !
Adding humidity is a bit more involved and does require maintenance. The humidifier portion of the system contains a water filled canister installed safely below the instrument (in a grand). When the systems sensor calls for more humidity, moisture is gentle added into the air increasing the humidity level around the piano. This system does require monitoring of the water level and adding water as needed.
For most keyboard instrument owners in the Dallas / Ft. Worth metroplex, better stability of your pianos tuning and performance can be achieved with the addition of just the de-humidification portion of the system. This will keep the instrument at a humidity level around 50% or below. While it will still see some low humidity levels during the winter months here in our area, the majority of the year the system will work to keep humidity from going above 50%. If you do choose to also add the humidification portion of the system, then the piano will be kept in a constant humidity of around 45-50% year round.
Install During Piano Move
The ideal time for installing a humidity control system is when your piano is being moved. This is especially true for grands as the system is easier to install when the instrument is on its side in order to be moved. When you hire PianoProsDFW as your piano mover, we will be glad to discuss the process of humidity control system installation and perform the installation during the move.