Dr Piano Tells All 



Piano Humidity Control


And then there’s the issue of humidity control.  Well, I have to say that a lot has been written about this, and I’d like to put in my two cents.  Those of us who live in areas where the humidity doesn’t fluctuate more than 10-20% over the course of the year probably don’t need to pay much attention to this, unless of course, you live in a place where the humidity is abnormally high (over 50%) or abnormally low (below 30%).  So that means just about all of us. 


How do I know what the relative humidity is in my home?  Get a battery operated hygrometer (humidity gauge) to tell you that.  They cost about $30, are reasonably accurate, unlike the brown plastic ones that don’t have batteries that everyone used to get at the hardware store.  You can get one at any store which sells humidifiers or dehumidifiers.   Do not try to convince yourself that one of those old ones will tell you what you need to know.  It won’t.


“My grandparents (parents, sister-in-law, etc.) never used one of those things and they never paid attention to humidity control and I never saw that any harm came to their piano(s)!”  My answer to that is that while you may not see the damage to the piano (exception cracked soundboards, ivories popping off the keystock, or veneer cracking and peeling off), you sure will hear it.  And when your tuner/technician tells you that your piano isn’t tunable anymore, you will know it where it really hurts, in your wallet.  Because repairs to correct humidity damage are extremely costly and many times exceed the value of the piano.  I will also say that there are a large and growing number of rebuilders (of whom I am one) in many parts of the U.S., precisely because none of the aforementioned grandparents, parents, or sisters-in-law ever did pay any attention to humidity control. 


Although I certainly make a good living out of restoring what humidity has damaged in pianos, some of the things I see every day break my heart.  It is so easy to avoid this if you have the knowledge.  I want to give you that knowledge.  There is no reason why, with a small amount of care (and I am not talking about tuning the piano once a year), your piano shouldn’t be around for your grandkids and maybe their kids.


Please see  How to Achieve Humidity Control for Pianos for more information.