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Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? #2771298
10/11/18 04:54 AM
10/11/18 04:54 AM
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NoGameNoLife Offline OP
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Hi guys I’m going to purchase a piano and everyone I ask including my teacher recommend an acoustic over a digital if I can afford it which I can. The thing is I’m scared about the effects of the room temperature and humidity etc. I have plenty of room for the piano but I don’t know what it would take or how to control the climate to ensure I don’t damage the piano. I live in the UK so the temperature is not that prone to extremes or anything but I just want to get an idea of how difficult it is or what I would need to keep the piano in top condition. Thank you very much for any help.

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Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2771303
10/11/18 05:29 AM
10/11/18 05:29 AM
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fluctuating temperature usually is not a big issue, I assume we're not talking about freezing but about normal living room ranges.

Humidity is more important to watch. Get a humidity meter and check it's calibrated to start with. You can simply calibrate the old-style analog meters yourself.

In my apartment, it usually stays around 55% in summer but in winter it may get very dry. especially avoiding too-dry is important. When it starts freezing outside humidity will go to 0% outside. I try to keep the room with the piano at least at 40%y.

This humidity issue holds for all wood furniture in your home anyway and your skin also doesn't like low humidity.

If your home is continuously very high, then you risk mould. you might need to (1) turn on the heating or (2) get a de-humidifier in that case. I prefer (1) anyway so if it feels a bit humid I feel cold too and turn on the heater.

Notice that when temp drops (as usual in the evening), humidity will rise. A little bit and briefly is fine but you should not get condensation etc in your piano.

>I don’t know what it would take or how to control the climate to ensure I don’t damage the piano.

My suggestion is to get a humidifier that can keep the room above 40% humidity and use the house heating system in the case humidity goes too high for longer times.

Beware of the different types, for instance you want to avoid those that spray tap water straight into the air as the minerals in the tap water will deposit everywhere in your room then.


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Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: wouter79] #2771309
10/11/18 06:04 AM
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NoGameNoLife Offline OP
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Thanks you very much. Do you have any opinions on the humidifiers that attach to the piano itself? I seen some people mention them.

Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2771316
10/11/18 06:35 AM
10/11/18 06:35 AM
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The vast majority of piano owners have never had much concern about temperature or humidity and get by fine. I didn't pay much attention to it except for an old upright which occasionally had a couple of sticky notes after a week of humid weather. We ended up putting a small piano heater in, but only turned on when it was humid.

Most Church, School and hall pianos aren't treated for humidity or temperature either.

My current and previous grand pianos have had damp-chasers, and my own experience is that the grands have been more susceptible to humidity. I'm not certain why, maybe that more of the piano is open to the elements when it is being played - plus the soundboards etc are substantially bigger.

You could ignore the situation initially, and if you end up having an issue, discuss it with your technician at the time.

Above all - enjoy your new piano.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
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Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2771347
10/11/18 08:29 AM
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Many of the correspondents in this forum are from the US. It is my impression that many homes in the US have air conditioning, and this is an important factor when discussing maintaining the humidity level. But I suspect that you, living in the UK, will probably not have air conditioning. Probably you, like me, will have central heating, perhaps in the form of radiators heated by circulating hot water.

If this is your situation, the main thing to worry about is having the heating on high during frosty nights in winter. During such periods the humidity falls very low, and having the central heating on high makes it fall even lower. My mother used to love to have the house toasty-warm - and over the years, this caused problems with my piano.

But other than that, I would say that "backto_study" has it about right. The vast majority of piano owners in the UK have never had much concern about temperature or humidity and get by fine. But just make sure that during frosty periods in winter, you have the central heating set fairly low in the piano room. Or if you want the heating higher, get a humidifier or a Dampp-chaser.

Having said that, if you go to the trouble of fitting a Dampp-chaser, or using a humidifier in winter (and perhaps a dehumidifier in autumn, when the humidity tends to get rather high), then your efforts will be rewarded by much improved tuning stability of the piano.

Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2771354
10/11/18 08:56 AM
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You can ignore the issue but if your piano is subjected to wide enough variations in T and RH it will eventually affect not only the tuning but the mechanical integrity of the piano. Sticking action is one example. The ultimate problem is perhaps a cracked sound board which, while not a life and death crisis, is better avoided.

Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2771386
10/11/18 10:26 AM
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I was worried about this too (see my thread here - Grotrian advice)

I've since had a good technician round to give the piano its first tuning and to look it over; as the humidity in my house is relatively high we elected to install a Dampp Chaser humidity control system. So far, so good - although our temperature does fluctuate somewhat (we do not keep our central heating on 24/7) the piano has held its tuning perfectly, and no sign of any problems whatsoever. My tech advised that it's the humidity that needed controlling first and foremost in my environment.

I wouldn't over-think it - go get yourself a great piano!

Cheers,
David

Last edited by Dathka; 10/11/18 10:27 AM.
Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2771423
10/11/18 12:01 PM
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Humidity is the big issue. You can get an inexpensive (under $40 US) digital hygrometer which records the high and low values. Watch it for a while before you conclude that you have a problem worth addressing.


-- J.S.

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Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2771452
10/11/18 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by NoGameNoLife
Thanks you very much. Do you have any opinions on the humidifiers that attach to the piano itself? I seen some people mention them.


I have no opinion on these but I don't like water near my piano. I prefer to have the whole room at a decent humidity because it seems more stable to me than a piano-only approach and because my other stuff including myself also doesn't like very low humidity.

Also damp chasers are very expensive, the cheapest is 400 pounds. An evaporative humidifier is around 80 punds. eg (I have no experience with this one, just an example)

https://www.amazon.com/AirCare-MA0800-Whole-House-Console-Style-Evaporative/dp/B002AQUK9S


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Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: wouter79] #2771461
10/11/18 01:24 PM
10/11/18 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by wouter79
[...] An evaporative humidifier is around 80 punds. eg (I have no experience with this one, just an example)

https://www.amazon.com/AirCare-MA0800-Whole-House-Console-Style-Evaporative/dp/B002AQUK9S



One caveat about humidifiers that use wicks, as does the above AirCare: Mold can build up on the wicks, they have to be replaced regularly, and if not replaced soon enough, the air they expel can smell foul.

That is why I use humidifiers that don't have wicks. The Venta AirWasher is my choice:

https://venta-usa.com/

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: BruceD] #2771480
10/11/18 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by wouter79
[...] An evaporative humidifier is around 80 punds. eg (I have no experience with this one, just an example)

https://www.amazon.com/AirCare-MA0800-Whole-House-Console-Style-Evaporative/dp/B002AQUK9S



One caveat about humidifiers that use wicks, as does the above AirCare: Mold can build up on the wicks, they have to be replaced regularly, and if not replaced soon enough, the air they expel can smell foul.

That is why I use humidifiers that don't have wicks. The Venta AirWasher is my choice:

https://venta-usa.com/


Yes you must keep them clean. FAIK this holds for ALL air treatment devices. Just bathe the filter frequently in chlorine, no need to replace them very often. Once a year or so is enough.

I prefer wicks above most other methods because (1) they use extremely little even when running (typical 5W or so) (2) the emit only water vapour, not the minerals in the water (3)) you can put in normal tap water (4) very little noise, only slow turning fan.


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Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2771487
10/11/18 02:13 PM
10/11/18 02:13 PM
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Studies have shown that the Venta style units emit much less (nothing is zero) mold / bacteria. Steam whole house humidifiers seem to be the absolute lowest emitters of organisms.

Last edited by dhull100; 10/11/18 02:13 PM. Reason: spelling
Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: wouter79] #2771512
10/11/18 03:52 PM
10/11/18 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wouter79
[...]Yes you must keep them clean. FAIK this holds for ALL air treatment devices. Just bathe the filter frequently in chlorine, no need to replace them very often. Once a year or so is enough.

I prefer wicks above most other methods because (1) they use extremely little even when running (typical 5W or so) (2) the emit only water vapour, not the minerals in the water (3)) you can put in normal tap water (4) very little noise, only slow turning fan.


One advantage to the Venta AirWasher is that there is no filter; the water itself is the filter. Of course this means that the base that holds the water has to be emptied and cleaned regularly, but it's just as easy as washing a dish or a saucepan. I usually clean mine with dish detergent and warm water once a month. The rotating discs that circulate the water through the air are of hard non-porous plastic and they can be rinsed with warm water each time the base is washed.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2771607
10/11/18 07:12 PM
10/11/18 07:12 PM
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I'd agree with JohnSprung - a hygrometer (which you may already have in your home if you've got a weather station etc) will show trends. Then, discuss it with your technician. You'll have the technician visit while the piano settles into the environment, and one thing they should advise on is the environment the piano is in.

My DamppChaser cost more like $1500 about 10 years ago - but local markets could be different. It's a drying and humidifying one.

Here, while there are times when humidity is low, the biggest problem I've noticed is when the humidity increases. We've had afternoon storms followed by showery nights come through in the last few days - today the humidity is in the high 70s, rather than the normal 45-55 range. I'm presently researching a dehumidifier - retailers are out of stock as they tend to sell more in the middle of summer when humidity peaks, in the meantime, I'm using my A/C on dry, which keeps the inside less humid. That's for the piano's benefit, not mine grin (HeHe).


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: backto_study_piano] #2771634
10/11/18 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by backto_study_piano
today the humidity is in the high 70s, rather than the normal 45-55 range.

Can I just ask ... is this indoors or outdoors?

Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2771648
10/11/18 09:30 PM
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I have a new piano and bought a Venta humidifier. This summer and early fall, I didn't have to humidify at all - with either A/C or no A/C, the rh has been upper 30s to mid-50s. I plan to turn the Venta on as soon as I turn on the central air heating and things get too dry.



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Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: David-G] #2771661
10/11/18 10:57 PM
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Was 75 out, 69 inside at dawn. Down to 67 inside and out at the moment (1pm). Temp is only 21 degrees, so A/C isn't going to help.

This will be the pattern for the next 3 or 4 days - then the rain will continue but with higher temperatures, and generally the RH reads lower a bit.

Which is why I'm looking at a dehumidifier.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2771689
10/12/18 01:54 AM
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Same here to have that humidifier, the past last few weeks gone over 70 up to 75 .At the moment it's 65 .But then Vancouver BC is a temperate rain forest .So a piano in a rain forest !!?

Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2771745
10/12/18 08:24 AM
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I have an AirCare humidifier and in our area we have extremely hard water. I haven't had to deal with mold or stagnation. I try to disassemble it and clean the tank regularly with bleach water to keep that down. My issue is that the wick gets crusty and hard with mineral build up do to the hard water. Since I use it about 7 months out of the year, I go thru about 5 filters every winter even though use conditioner that are supposed to keep down the mold and bacteria as well as soften the water. Otherwise, the wick doesn't absorb the water and the unit cannot keep the RH high enough. Does Venta make a unit large enough for a 2500+ square foot space?

Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2771808
10/12/18 11:11 AM
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Sorry I meant oh to have a dehumidfier .But it is getting cold here so the humidty is dropping due to the furnace heating coming on .

Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2771916
10/12/18 05:20 PM
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GC13: They do. Not a lot cheaper than whole house steam humidifier system, though.

https://venta-usa.com/shop/

KUUBE XL-T LARGE SPACE AIRWASHER HUMIDIFIER
For spaces up to 2,700 square feet, Venta brings you the filter-free Kuube XL-T Airwasher, a 2-in-1 evaporative humidifier and air purifier for large living and workspaces. We have developed Hygiene Discs to maintain cleanliness and soften the water inside the unit ensuring flawless performance with any water density. Designed for an energy-efficient operation, the Kuube XL-T features five speeds and works by drawing dry air into the unit, then releasing only humidified and purified air back into your space. Using Cold Evaporation technology, the Venta Kuube XL-T will not over humidify, nor will it produce ions, ozone or white dust as many other humidifiers in the market can produce. The Kuube XL-T features three ways to operate your unit: the digital touchscreen display, infrared remote or through the Venta App when WiFi is enabled. Easily adjust humidity levels between 30% to 70% in 5% increments, or enable the auto feature which allows the appliance to automatically regulate the fan speed based on the air quality in the room. Active for four hours a day, the built-in UVC lamp is designed for a hygienically flawless operation of the Airwasher by preventing the formation of germs and bacteria in the water. As with all our Venta products, the Kuube XL-T offers extremely low maintenance – just add water to operate. This model Airwasher will even alert you when it is time to enable its self-cleaning mode.

$1,798.00

Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: dhull100] #2771921
10/12/18 05:40 PM
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Just remember, when the wi-fi is enabled, your humidifier is monitoring your playing and will send copyright violation info to the authorities.

Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2771945
10/12/18 07:16 PM
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Prout ,Thanks you have just switched on my Paranoa. But the Paranoa may tune the piano. ! do not know if I must tune now or after I come back from a few days over Christmas when I am away .We always turn the heat down from 20 to 17 C.The piano is not very out of tune but when playing 5ths I can hear beats from some notes.What do you think .It is a new piano .

Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: Lady Bird] #2771988
10/12/18 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Prout ,Thanks you have just switched on my Paranoa. But the Paranoa may tune the piano. ! do not know if I must tune now or after I come back from a few days over Christmas when I am away .We always turn the heat down from 20 to 17 C.The piano is not very out of tune but when playing 5ths I can hear beats from some notes.What do you think .It is a new piano .
Well, at least the humidifer won’t report anything to the feds while you are away.

A small change in temp won’t won’t make much difference. Our thermostat is set so to 21.7 during the day and 19.4 at night. Even though that causes a average shift in RH from 49% to 56%, it makes little difference to the piano, which stays very close to 50% with the Dampp Chaser.

In your case, the shift in temp for a few days will cause the overall pitch of the instrument to change slightly as the piano adjusts its moisture content as a result of the change in vapour pressure. This change will not be even across the compass. However, once you return and bring the temp back up, the piano will adjust again and will return to nearly the state it was in before you left.

One thing to remember, while the rate of sorption and desorption is the same for a given temp and RH, the average rate experienced in the house is different. Moisture is absorbed about five times faster than it is given up. I did the math some years ago and found this statement to be accurate. The difference, of course, has to do with the temperature and humidity variations experienced in the interior of a house.

Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2772010
10/13/18 12:23 AM
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Thanks for the reply. It has helped. I wish I knew and could the things that you do .Since I do yet have a humidifier, I will not worry about the feds.I do sometimes wish for a magical hygrometer that can just sort out my humidity worries. However a dehumidifier will be here in the spring .Won't worry about it tracking me ,that no doubt is a later worry..Regards

Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: BruceD] #2772040
10/13/18 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by wouter79
[...]Yes you must keep them clean. FAIK this holds for ALL air treatment devices. Just bathe the filter frequently in chlorine, no need to replace them very often. Once a year or so is enough.

I prefer wicks above most other methods because (1) they use extremely little even when running (typical 5W or so) (2) the emit only water vapour, not the minerals in the water (3)) you can put in normal tap water (4) very little noise, only slow turning fan.


One advantage to the Venta AirWasher is that there is no filter; the water itself is the filter. Of course this means that the base that holds the water has to be emptied and cleaned regularly, but it's just as easy as washing a dish or a saucepan. I usually clean mine with dish detergent and warm water once a month. The rotating discs that circulate the water through the air are of hard non-porous plastic and they can be rinsed with warm water each time the base is washed.

Regards,


Bruce, Either the machine also showers the minerals into the air (bad for your house and piano) or it stays in the machine. Assuming the latter, you need to demineralize anyway.

Just simple washing won't remove the minerals from the machine. The demineralizing process is the same, you need to soak it in some acid. With a wick, they stay on the wick. I don't know where they stay with an air washer but if not on the disks than somewhere else in the machine (=more difficult to clean).

Thus the cleaning is not any easier for air washer versus wick.


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Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2772073
10/13/18 08:38 AM
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I think that concerns about humidity and temperature swings are vastly overblown. Humidity swings are inevitable in the northeast of the USA, that's just the way it is. There is no way that a residence can be kept (up) at 40% humidity in the winter, nor is there any way to keep it (down) at 40% in the summer, either. Not everyone in New England has air conditioning, and in any event pianos were being made and kept in homes successfully way before air conditioning was even invented. And don't people in Arizona have pianos, too?

I think that the kind of temperature swings that concern piano owners and manufacturers are those that occur in a church, for example, where the room is in use one day a week and left on its own the rest of the time. The kind of temperature changes that occur in a home are not, in my life of experience owning pianos, a problem, even when one turns down the heat because one is not there. Or if one does not leave the AC running all the time, whether one is home or not.

Just my inexpert two cents.

Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2772076
10/13/18 08:52 AM
10/13/18 08:52 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 926
Queensland, Australia
backto_study_piano Offline
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backto_study_piano  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 926
Queensland, Australia
Originally Posted by NoGameNoLife
Thanks you very much. Do you have any opinions on the humidifiers that attach to the piano itself? I seen some people mention them.

What sort of piano are you envisaging purchasing? Some pianos are less susceptible to the affects of humidity - eg my 1979 YAMAHA UX, and other U3s and U1s, and similar models from KAWAI I've dealt with.

But as @Rank Piano Amateur mentioned, and I had earlier - for the vast number of piano owners, humidity isn't a concern. I recall the universities where my children studied, the practise rooms were air-conditioned only part of the time.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: NoGameNoLife] #2772079
10/13/18 09:04 AM
10/13/18 09:04 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 24
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oldMH Offline
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oldMH  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 24
Humidity in poorly ventilated basements is one of the biggest issues I see. If over 55% RH, mold can grow on anything porous including wood.

We just moved from a beach environment where, despite wall unit AC 24/7 our piano degraded drastically from both corrosion and T/RH swings. And when I say degraded I mean it now requires a complete 12-month disassembly and restoration of all components.

Re: Maintaining room temps for new acoustic piano? [Re: backto_study_piano] #2772084
10/13/18 09:16 AM
10/13/18 09:16 AM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,860
Southwestern Ontario
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prout Offline
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Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 3,860
Southwestern Ontario
Originally Posted by backto_study_piano
Originally Posted by NoGameNoLife
Thanks you very much. Do you have any opinions on the humidifiers that attach to the piano itself? I seen some people mention them.

What sort of piano are you envisaging purchasing? Some pianos are less susceptible to the affects of humidity - eg my 1979 YAMAHA UX, and other U3s and U1s, and similar models from KAWAI I've dealt with.

But as @Rank Piano Amateur mentioned, and I had earlier - for the vast number of piano owners, humidity isn't a concern. I recall the universities where my children studied, the practise rooms were air-conditioned only part of the time.
Yes, but you didn’t mention that the universities employ full-time piano technicians to tune and repair the damage done by an inadequately maintained environment as well as normal wear and tear. A very close friend of mine is a university trained tuner/technician/rebuilder and is now employed by the same university maintaining the very large number of pianos in the music department. She and her co-workers each tune up to 6 pianos a day, and spend the rest of the time in the shop repairing and rebuilding.

I find it laughable that people have no problem maintaining their car - oil changes, tire changes, maintaing fluid levels and preventing rust, but seem to think the piano, which, for me to replace will cost 5 times what I have ever paid for a new Toyota, can be ignored for years on end.

Compare the cost of Dampp Chaser to the cost of 4 new tires for your car. You will, however, get 20+ years out of the DC.

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