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 concert performance or for recording will need to be tuned more often. For more information on Tuning Schedules as recommended by Your Piano’s Manufacturer, please click here…
Pianos are damaged by extreme heat as well as extreme cold. Ideally, a piano should be in a climate controlled room in which the temperature is kept at a constant 68º-70ºF. The temperature should not be allowed to fall below 45ºF and should not exceed 90ºF. Top of Page
Humidity & General Climate within your home.
Extremes of humidity (very high or low levels) as well as large changes in humidity are both harmful to pianos. Ideally, a piano will be placed in a room in which the relative humidity remains constant year-round. In a dry climate such as is found in the Southwest, U.S., a relative humidity in the 20% to 30% range is a good objective. In a varied climate such as is found in the Northeast, U.S., the relative humidity should be kept between 40% and 45%. Room humidifiers should be used whenever possible in wherever there are cold, dry winters. Evaporative humidifiers, such as the Sears Kenmore Quiet Comfort work very well (the larger the better). Dehumidifiers are essential in humid or tropical climates, while air conditioners can also be helpful – especially if they run fairly constantly, a DamppChaser can be installed by your Piano Technician. When properly installed the DamppChaser will help maintain constant humidity level in a piano year round (but cannot fully correct situations that are extreme). Top of Page
Placing your Piano in the Room
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.
Keep your piano away from heating registers, radiators, fireplaces and air conditioning vents. Subjecting it to extreme fluctuations of temperature and humidity levels can do major damage. Keeping a piano away from an outside wall was probably necessary in poorly insulated older Victorian homes, but should not be a problem these days. Top of Page
Keep plants, vases, drinks, or anything to do with liquid off the piano. Condensation can ruin the finish, and spillage of liquids into the inner mechanism can result in irreversible 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. Top of Page
The fallboard 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. Top of Page
To prevent scratches on the finish, never place objects on your piano without a soft cloth or felt.
Never use furniture polish to clean your piano. It can soften the finish if overused, and the silicone & oils present in many household brands can even contaminate the wood, despite what the labels may say.
The case should be dusted with a lambs-wool duster (available in many hardware stores). To remove smudges, use a soft clean cheesecloth or an old clean cotton tee shirt (with the seams removed). Ten percent de-natured alcohol in water or Windex may be used if necessary. Do not rub across the grain and do not apply fluid directly to the piano.
Do the same thing as above to clean your keys, but use separate cloths for the blacks and the whites. Don't use cleaning agents! Top of Page
General Service and Care of Your Piano
Ask your technician to do a minor "touch-up" regulation at each tuning. This will prevent most instances of unnecessary wear and breakage.
Have a full regulation done every 2 to 5 years. You'd be surprised at how your piano should have sounded and responded to you playing all these years.
Don't attempt any "home repairs" on your piano. Although it may appear easy to fix yourself, an innocent mistake can be costly. Let a technician do it - they have the right tools, replacement parts and expertise to do the job right the first time.
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Things to Remember!
Your piano is an investment in your future. It can bring you and your family a lifetime of music, adding immeasurable joy and beauty to your home. Since it is also such a large investment, it should be maintained with the utmost care. Regular servicing by a qualified technician will preserve your instrument and help you avoid costly repairs in the future.
Because your piano contains materials such as wood and felt, it is subject to change with climatic conditions. Extreme swings from hot to cold or dry to wet cause its materials to swell and contract, affecting tone, pitch, and action response or touch. You can reduce the severity of these effects by placing your piano near a wall away from windows or doors that are opened frequently. Avoid heating and air conditioning vents, fireplaces and areas which receive direct sunlight. Your piano will perform best under consistent conditions neither too wet nor dry, optimally at a temperature of 68 degrees F and 42 percent relative humidity.
While pianos generally fall into vertical and grand model categories, each manufacturer selects its own materials and utilizes its own unique scale and furniture designs. Every piano requires a different level of maintenance, depending upon the quality of materials used and the design and level of craftsmanship. Manufacturers can provide general advice on tuning frequency but your technician can give specific recommendations based upon your usage and locale. Here's what some of the major piano manufacturers recommend: Top of Page