Storing a piano - good or bad idea?

Posted by: dougie

Storing a piano - good or bad idea? - 05/29/03 04:27 AM

I'm going to be traveling for about a year and will be moving everything in my apartment into onto of those "public storage" places that don't have climate control or anything.

Will the wide change in tempterature cause any harm to my piano? Thanks for any input!
Posted by: RKVS1

Re: Storing a piano - good or bad idea? - 05/29/03 06:13 AM

Dougie, I see you are a new member, so probably haven't seen many of the "humidity level" threads that pop up quite often on this forum. Well, it doesn't really matter, I think this idea is a REALLY bad one. You don't say in which state you live, but that probably doesn't matter EITHER, the idea is still a dangerous one.
Humidity levels should stay roughly within 15 points either way of 40. You'll be swinging much more than that, plus if rain happens to leak into the storage unit and get baked by the midday sun, it'll be like a sauna in there. Temperature swings in homes is typically , what? 30 degrees or so MAX ? Vs possible 30 degree FAST drops with storms, and perhaps 90 or 100 degree longer term differences.
I'm not a tech and don't have any actual experiences with people doing this, but I bet there are some people here who do have horror stories about it.
You'd be better off storing it in a furniture warehouse, though the cost would be more and you'd still have to check about temp and humidity swings.
Perhaps you have a friend or a friend with a friend that would like to have a piano in their home for a year. Bad playing would be better than bad storing.
A church might be another possible place that could use it and would store it for you......second choice due to possible bad pounding, etc.
Check with your music store. They MIGHT store it for you for a reasonable fee.......certainly less than the $3500 I think you mentioned you paid for it.
There are people out there looking to rent pianos. You could match or undercut the local music store's rate and maybe MAKE some money on it. (not counting transportation off course). You might feel uneasy about leaving your piano with strangers, but you'd probably be better off with a couple of scratches than the freeze thaw torture test you'll have at the Storage Unit.
Then there's this joke:

A man walks into a bank and says he wants to borrow $200 for six
months. The loan officer asks him what kind of collateral he has.
The man says 'I've got a Rolls Royce -- keep it until the loan is
paid off -- here are the keys.'

Six months later the man comes into the bank, pays back the $200
loan, plus $10 interest, and regains possession of the Rolls

The loan officer asks him, 'Sir, if I may ask, why would a man
who drives a Rolls Royce need to borrow two hundred dollars?'

The man answers, 'I had to go to Europe for six months, and where
else could I store a Rolls Royce for that long for ten dollars?'

Oh well, maybe if you had a Faziolli. \:D

Posted by: cathys

Re: Storing a piano - good or bad idea? - 05/29/03 10:47 AM

I completely agree with RKVS and think this is a REALLY bad idea and have seen the damage that can happen to much less fragile items in storage. If none of the options that were suggested are possible you may want to look into at least a climate controlled storage area. I've seen those through Uhaul and other vendors but have no idea how much more expensive they might be? No expert either just my .02

Posted by: Nina

Re: Storing a piano - good or bad idea? - 05/29/03 10:56 AM


I agree with the above... do you have a friend who would let you move your piano to their apartment or house while you're away? Even if they don't do any more than stick it in the corner, it is much cheaper (including moving) and much better than putting it into one of those storage shed thingies.

You'll probably have to pay for a good tuning (and possibly a bit more) after you return, but figure you may be out ~$400 for a local move plus tech attention when you come back.


PS: Just thought of something else... HIRE someone to move your piano. They are heavy (duh) but more importantly, the uprights are top-heavy and have a tendency to fall over if not moved correctly; moving grands is a whole other experience because the legs must be disassembled. Even if you work out every day with your 10 friends who have volunteered to help you move it, it's a bad idea. Hire a pro.
Posted by: caryn

Re: Storing a piano - good or bad idea? - 05/29/03 11:07 AM


The ideal solution would be to lend the piano to someone who has a good space for it and will take good care of it.

Second-best is a piano storage company, where at least they have climate control.
Posted by: Jim Volk

Re: Storing a piano - good or bad idea? - 05/29/03 12:32 PM

At the risk of getting beat up, I'll suggest the obvious:

Dampp-Chaser Climate Control System \:\)

Read about it here:

Posted by: Manitou

Re: Storing a piano - good or bad idea? - 05/29/03 12:49 PM

*grin* Jumping on the Dampchaser...
Sure install one but come back every 5 days to refill it...hehehe

Following the good advice above, Find a friend, or make a friend quickly, who will store it and tune it every 6 months, in their living room, back bedroom.. Somewhere IN their house, not in their garage.
You still need to kep the piano at pitch, even if no one will play it for a year...

Posted by: RealPlayer

Re: Storing a piano - good or bad idea? - 05/29/03 02:04 PM

Of course, if it's a Brambach you're storing, you can ignore all of the above. \:D
Posted by: Matt G.

Re: Storing a piano - good or bad idea? - 05/29/03 03:50 PM

Sorry, but I have to ask a couple of reality-check questions here of those familiar with industry practice. I know that most of the large-volume manufacturers have distribution centers where pianos await delivery to local dealers. Are these distribution centers climate controlled to the same extent a house is? Do the packing method and materials used for shipping a piano protect a piano from variations in humidity and temperature during shipping and/or storage? If the answer to the first question is no, and the answer to the second is yes, would it not be possible to have the piano wrapped and crated as for shipping and then stored in a less than optimal environment for this length of time?
Posted by: dougie

Re: Storing a piano - good or bad idea? - 05/30/03 03:42 AM

Ugh, I knew I should have just gotten a good digital.

So even if it's wrapped up pretty good it's probably not worth risking it? Temperates aren't too extreme here in Portland.

Renting it doesn't seem like a bad idea, although I'm thinking it might be easier just to resell the darn thing. Anyone want to rent or buy a Kawai US-50? Lol