One of the things I find most amazing about pianos is how long they last. We live in an era of disposable consumer goods and deliberately shortened product life-spans, yet a well-built piano can still last decades and become a true family treasure. In fact, any decent piano should be expected to last at least 70 years before needing a major overhaul or refurbishment. Many can last significantly longer than that.
However, that’s only true if you practice proper piano care. As a precision piece of engineering, with thousands of parts which are generally made of organic materials, it’s going to be greatly affected by how well you take care of it. Good piano care is essential if you want to get the most life – and the most wonderful music – out of your investment.
Piano Care Tips for Owners
I. Control Your Piano’s Environment
Pianos are quite sensitive to lighting, temperature, and humidity. You should endeavor to have your piano in a room which minimizes the harm the environment will have on it.
Place it in a room without direct sunlight falling on it. This can cause uneven heating of the piano, leading to it warping or cracking, as well as causing the finish to fade.
Avoid extremes of hot and cold. A piano which is too hot can crack, as well as making delicate pieces inside – such as the hammers and strings – more likely to break. Cold also weakens internal parts, as well as de-tuning the piano. A comfortable room temperature, around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, is ideal for a piano as well.
Limit its exposure to humidity extremes. Too little will dry it out, risking cracks and damage, while too much will detune it and risk warping it. Around a 40% humidity level is ideal. Depending on your local climate, you might want to invest in a humidifier or dehumidifier. It’s a small price to pay if you prevent costly repairs down the line.
Never place your piano too close to heating or cooling vents, and try to avoid placing it near an outside wall unless you have good insulation.
II. Regularly Tune Your Piano
Tuning is another essential part of piano care. A piano will generally need to be tuned twice a year, and this should only be done by a qualified professional. While it’s being tuned, the tuner will also be giving the piano a “check up” and can often spot small problems before they become big problems.
III. No Liquids Near Your Piano, Ever
While the image of the lonely composer laboring over his work with a glass of wine nearby is a romantic one, it’s very poor piano care. Besides the obvious risk of spills which can irreparably damage internal parts, any sort of condensation or “sweating” from a drink can get into the finish, staining or cracking it.
Similarly, potted plants and (if possible) pets should be kept well away from your piano.
IV. Clean It Carefully
Like any piece of furniture, you piano should be regularly cleaned . Avoid common household cleaners, which are generally not intended for furniture as delicate as a piano. In general, simple dusting combined with wiping down the keys with a soft cloth should be sufficient as long as it’s done regularly.
V. Sometimes Leave The Keylid Open
While you should usually leave your keylid closed, leave it open during the day once or twice a week. It’s possible for the sweat, dust, and other residue you leave from playing to turn into mold between the keys, especially if the keylid is always kept closed. Occasionally leaving it open encourages airflow and prevents mold growth.
Finally, as always, if you have any questions about piano care, please contact us! We’ll be happy to help you in any way we can.
What piano care tips have you discovered that lengthened the life of your piano?