In order to decide the best place to position your piano, you need to know where NOT to put it. This article will help you choose the ideal location in your house to keep your piano in top condition and extend its life as long as possible.
Climate and environment
You need to think carefully about climate and environment when deciding the best place to put your piano…
It’s very important to achieve a constant temperature. Pianos don’t like being in a room that constantly changes (cold at night, hot during the day etc.).
Try your best to keep your piano in a room that has the heating on the low side in the winter and is not too hot and sticky in the summer.
A constant temperature of around 20 centigrade (65-70 Fahrenheit) and a humidity level of between 45 and 60 per cent are ideal. The easiest way to keep an eye on this is to buy a humidifier gauge and stick it on the wall.
Graham Howard – Author and Piano Advisor.
Email for piano advice: firstname.lastname@example.org
or Call 01327 300 016
Central heating systems
A piano’s number one enemy!
Before central heating was invented, pianos stayed in tune a lot better and had a much longer life.
Central heating dries the air and will take the moisture out of your piano’s wood. This is a big problem, because most of the parts of your piano are made from wood.
When your heating is off during the night, the humidity rises; when it’s switched back on in the morning, the humidity drops. These changes in humidity cause the wood to expand and shrink, causing your piano to go out of tune. Over a period of time, problems such as: Loose tuning pins, a cracked soundboard, split bridges, wobbly hammers and loose keys can occur.
Central heating can cause the soundboard to crack. Cracked soundboards encourage buzzing noises to appear and in extreme cases, can completely deaden the sound of your piano.
Central heating can dry out the wrest plank. If this happens, the tuning pins that hold the high tension of the strings start to loosen. This results in your piano not being able to stay in tune.
Keep your piano away from heat sources
Keep your piano as far away from a radiator or electric heater as possible.
Never put your piano in a room that has under floor heating! This will completely ruin your piano VERY quickly. If your whole house is fitted with under floor heating then all you can do is place a heavy rug underneath it. This will provide some protection for your piano.
Sunshine is very nice, but pianos don’t really care much for a tan!
Direct sunshine coming through a window can be a problem for your piano…
Apart from disturbing the humidity level in your piano, direct sunshine is the cause of another serious issue… fading.
If your piano is under direct sunlight – even for a few days – the wood will start to fade.
A high gloss polyester finish can be completely ruined if left under direct sunlight for too long. Sunshine will also knock your piano out of tune.
Solution – keep your piano away from windows that let sunlight through, or place a heavy cover over your piano to protect it.
Kitchens are also a threat
If you have an open plan room (kitchen and living room together) you must keep your piano as far away from your kitchen as possible.
Many times I’ve seen pianos sitting right next to open kitchens. The steam from cooking gets absorbed in the piano’s wood, resulting in an extreme level of humidity. This causes many problems for your piano including: Sluggish and sticking keys, slow hammers and dampers, swelling key lead and expanding felts. This excessive humidity can even cause tuning pins, bridge pins and strings to rust.
If – despite your best efforts to keep your piano away from harm – you still find you’ve got a problem, ask your piano tuner to fit a humidifier inside your piano. This puts back some moisture into your piano’s wood. If your problem is damp, then you need a dehumidifier.
Pianos don’t get on well with drafts either.
If your piano is next to a window or an outside door that lets in a cold draft, watch out! A piano that is constantly ‘blown on’ will rebel: You’ll find some keys start sticking, dampers stop working and many other annoying things that interfere with your piano’s performance. If you have double-glazing, this will reduce the problem.
Which room is best to put your piano?
For those of you lucky enough to have a purpose built music room, great.
Your dining room is probably the next best place to keep your piano. Dining rooms tend to keep a more constant humidity level and have a lower temperature than other rooms in the house.
Where NOT to put your piano:
- Next to a window that lets in sunlight or drafts
- Next to an outside door
- Next to, or in front of a radiator or other heat source
- In a room with under floor heating
- Next to an open kitchen
- Next to, or underneath an air conditioning unit
- In a garage, shed or conservatory
Please note: This article is copyright and protected. You may publish this article on your website providing you leave the article “as is” and retain the author’s biography box. All contents Copyright © 2008-2018. All rights reserved. Graham Howard, author of The Digital Piano Bible (a buyer’s guide) and The Howard Score (piano rating system).