CARING FOR YOUR PIANO


Tuning

Newly strung pianos (including new pianos and newly rebuilt pianos) should be tuned 3-4 times the first year. Subsequently, most pianos should be tuned twice a year. Pianos that are used for performance or for recording will need to be tuned more often.


Temperature

Pianos are damaged by extreme heat as well as extreme cold. Ideally, a piano is kept in a room in which the temperature is normal and constant (around 68 degrees F). The temperature should not be allowed to fall below 45 degrees F and should not exceed 90 degrees F.


Humidity

Extremes of humidity as well as large changes in humidity are both harmful to pianos. Ideally, a piano will be maintained in a room in which the relative humidity remains constant year-round. In a dry climate such as is found in the U.S. Southwest, a relative humidity in the 30% range is a good objective. In a varied climate such as is found in the U.S. Northeast, the relative humidity should be kept between 40% and 45%. Room humidifiers should be used whenever possible in those parts of the world in which there are cold, dry winters. The Sears Kenmore Quiet Comfort (evaporative type) humidifier works very well (the larger the better). Dehumidifiers are essential in tropical climates. Air conditioners can also be helpful – especially if they run fairly constantly. A DamppChaser unit that is properly installed under the piano helps maintain constant humidity in a piano year round (but cannot fully correct situations that are extreme).


Sunlight

Direct sunlight harms a piano's finish (causing it to bleach and crack), while the heat that it causes destabilizes the piano interior. Therefore, if a piano must be placed in a spot where there is direct sunlight, a window shade and/or a piano cover is essential.


Interior

Keep fluids away from the piano. Juice, soda, even water spilled into a piano can do severe damage. Never touch the bass strings. Residue from hands and fingers causes corrosion, which can cause the bass strings to buzz and to lose clarity and power. Remove dust with a leaf blower or with the exhaust from a vacuum cleaner. If you live in a city, grime may accumulate over the years. Only a specialist should clean the interior of a piano.


Keyboard

The fall board should always be open to allow free circulation of air around the keys. Keys should be cleaned only with a soft cloth, dampened very slightly with water or club soda (or Windex if the keys are really dirty). Never put fluid directly on the keys


Care of the Case

The case should be dusted with a lambs-wool duster (available in many hardware stores) or a water damp clean cotton cloth. To remove stubborn smudges, use a soft clean cheesecloth or an old clean cotton tee shirt (with the seams removed). Mix ten percent de-natured alcohol in water. Do not rub across the grain and do not apply the fluid directly to the piano.



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