How the weather and humidity affects your piano

Maintaining your piano is crucial to keep it sounding beautiful and playing smoothly. However, the seasons can have a significant impact on the tuning and playability of your piano. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the effects of humidity changes and how you can combat them.






How humidity changes affect the mechanics of a piano

The biggest change occurs in the middle section of the piano close to what piano tuners call the ‘centre break’. In an over strung piano, the bass strings run over the mid and treble strings and at the point this happens this is called the centre break. The pitch change often occurs from the break through to about an octave toward the middle of the piano.
Some piano makes are affected more than others, with younger pianos being affected more than an older piano. Generally, pianos with a bright active tone and a high dynamic range will be affected more.

Winter months:

During the initial few weeks of winter, as the weather gets cold and wet, the piano will start to go sharp in the mid-section. However, if you are running the heater, the mid-section of the piano will go flat. In damp conditions the action of pressing the keys could also become stiff and harder to play. This happens due to swelling of the wooden flanges and felt bushing in the cold temperature.

Summer months:

During the initial few weeks of summer, as the weather gets warm and dry, the piano can start to go flat in the in the mid-section. In dry conditions the action of pressing the keys could become loose and sloppy as notes can stick. This occurs due to the wooden flanges shrinking in the heat and therefore becoming loose.
The ideal humidity safety zone for a piano is between 35% and 55%. Pianos will stay in tune very well in this range.


Combatting Weather Effects on Your Piano


So how can you help your piano?

In the years Gary has been tuning pianos, he has noticed that the performance of the piano is directly affected by its position within the house. There can be two houses with the same piano, one will hold its tune well and the other the won’t.

Keep Out of Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight can cause the wood in your piano to warp, which can affect the sound and playability. If possible, keep your piano away from windows and direct sunlight. It is also important to make sure the piano is away from drafts and up against an inside wall where the temperature and humidity is more stable.

Get Regular Piano Tuning Services from Gary at Piano Magic

Regular tuning by a professional piano tuner such as Gary can keep your piano sounding great throughout the year. During winter months, Gary can pitch down the mid-section of a piano before tuning it. Alternatively, in Summer, Gary can pitch raise the mid-section before tuning the piano. If you notice pitch changes in your piano due to humidity, get in touch with the team at Piano Magic today.

Invest in a Humidifier (Life Saver System)

A Piano Life Saver System made by Damppchasser is a great investment for maintaining the humidity levels in your piano. The humidistat measures the humidity levels in your piano and turns on a heater to lower humidity or a humidifier to raise humidity accordingly. It continues to cycle, keeping your piano at a stable 40 to 55% humidity, sounding nice all year round.
There are a few things to be aware of with humidity control. Once installed, it’s important to then tune the piano 3 to 4 week later. Often the piano will correct itself within a week or even days.
It is important to get in touch with the team at Piano Magic if you a looking to invest in a Life Saver System.

If a Piano is Not Being Used, Keep it in a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit

If you’re not using your piano for an extended period, consider storing it in a climate-controlled storage unit. It will protect the piano from humidity changes and temperature fluctuations that could affect the tuning and playability. Piano Magic provides comprehensive long-term storage solutions for pianos of various shapes and sizes. If you are looking for long or short term piano storage, get in touch with the Piano Magic team today!

Maintaining your piano’s sound and playability is crucial to ensure it remains a beautiful instrument. Humidity changes due to seasonal weather can significantly impact the tuning and playability of your piano. By following the tips mentioned above, you can help stabilize the humidity levels in your piano and combat weather effects, allowing you to enjoy playing beautiful music all year round.