Where is the best place to position my piano?
When deciding where to place your beloved instrument it is a good idea to consider how climate and environment can affect a piano. The important thing to try to achieve is stability with a constant temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius (65-70 degrees Fahrenheit) and a relative humidity of between 45-60 per cent. A simple greenhouse gauge is inexpensive and will give you a general idea of temperature and humidity in your chosen room. Central heating systems can dry the air, drawing moisture from the wooden components of the piano. When the heating is switched off at night the humidity rises, and conversely, as it is switched on in the morning, the humidity drops. These changes in relative humidity cause the wood to alternately expand and shrink causing tuning instability and much worse, can be responsible for serious problems such as loose tuning pins and a split soundboard. Radiators are an obvious hazard to avoid then, as are other sources of heat – direct or indirect – such as a radiator in an adjacent room where heat may be transmitted through the wall behind the piano. Direct sunshine (blinds may be a solution here) can be a particular problem for a grand piano where the spot in which it looks perfect is that sunny bay window. If you have underfloor heating then the best advice is to consider another room although a heavy rug underneath the piano may insulate it sufficiently to survive the winter months. A separate music room is obviously the ideal, even if a little ambitious, solution to your piano positioning problems but the dining room may be suitable compromise as this will usually be maintained at a lower temperature, and have a reasonably constant humidity level. Should you feel that your piano is in an unsuitable environment and moving it is not an option, then you should consider buying either a humidifier to counteract excess dryness, or a dehumidifier for excess dampness. Your PTA tuner will be able to advise you.