Did you know that every May, pretty much every piano in Colorado goes out of tune? And every October? The reason is that pianos (and any instrument made from wood) are extremely sensitive to changes in humidity.
Humid air swells all the wood in your piano, while dry air makes the wood in your piano shrink and contract. When the humidity is higher May-October, the soundboard in your Steinway or other brand of piano absorbs moisture from the air, swells, and stretches the strings, causing them to go sharp, or rise, in pitch. When the air gets very dry November-April (when we all have our furnaces running), the soundboard in your piano loses moisture and shrinks, making the strings loose and go flat or low in pitch.
Given that your Steinway or other type of piano goes badly out of tune twice a year here in Colorado, what can you do? Installing a whole-house humidifier is a great solution for dryness, although it can be expensive, and some systems only humidify your house when your furnace is actually running, which it might not be doing much while you are away at work, or on those warm Colorado winter days when your furnace hardly comes on at all.
One drawback of a whole-house humidifier is that it doesn’t dehumidify your piano during the humid summer months.
The solution that many piano owners, churches, universities and concert halls prefer is a climate control system that installs invisibly right under your Steinway. The Piano Life Saver System (formerly known as the Dampp-Chaser system) humidifies your piano on dry days, and dehumidifies your piano on humid days, keeping it at 42% Relative Humidity (RH) day and night, all year long.
The installation of a climate control system in your Steinway achieves several things:
- Your piano doesn’t go out of tune as drastically during the yearly humidity swings.
- Your piano lasts many years longer, due to the stable humidity (constant shrinking and swelling is what leads to cracks in your soundboard, pinblock, etc.)
- The metal parts of your piano, such as tuning pins and strings, are far less likely to rust, and stay shiny and new far longer.
If you’re interested in helping your Steinway stay in tune better throughout the year, consider having us install a Piano Life Saver System in your piano. Simply click the Contact Us button on our main menu here in the site, and fill out the form.