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#2726173 04/02/18 09:30 PM
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I'm looking for some advise in regards to whether or not a piano by a window can be made acceptable?

My primary concern is regards to the piano's wellfare. From what I can gather, having a piano by a window is a bad idea due to:

1) Direct Sunlight Damaging Finish / wood of piano

2) Direct Sunlight Damaging Soundboard if it gets directly onto it via an open lid

3) Extreme Temperature changes

4) Drafts (if the window is open and in particular if using an evaporation air conditioner and the air flowing by the piano).

5) Not as good acoustically for the piano.


I think that about covers the issues. I was wondering whether or not it's possible to address these issues in a way that would make the position suitable, and was looking for comments on the following:


a) Install privacy curtains. (Black rolldown curtains that allow us to see outside but much more dimly, and stop people from seeing inside. I figure this would diffuse the sunlight as well) (Hopefully assisting with #1 and #2)

b) Install additional heavy curtains, and outside shades. (Hopefully assisting with #1 and #2, as well as #3 in summer as well as assisting with #5 a little)

c) Installation of Comfort / Smart Glass. The glass is designed to create a barrier, and lessen the temperature transfer between the inside and the outside of the house. The glass is also supposed to be UV protectant. (Which brings me to a question - is the damage caused to the wood by direct sunlight due to UV light, or visible light)? (Hopefully assisting with #3 above)

d) Keep the window closed at all times and use another window in the room on a different wall for creating draft for the airconditioner in summer. (Hopefully dealing with #3 and #4 above)


Can anyone please comment as to whether the concerns with windows can be addressed by what I have mentioned above, if I have missed anything, or whether placing a piano against a window should be avoided at all costs regardless of what measures are put in place, etc?

Thanks & Regards

Adam.

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Adam,

Yes keeping the sun off of it and the drafts mitigated is reasonable. The more protection the better.

One other thing to remember is that heating equipment/ducts are usually on outside walls (as are windows) so make sure the piano is not in the path of that. Very important!

Pwg


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Metallic window film blocks out most of the light, all the UV, and almost all the IR (most of the heat), if you need to keep the window functional or can't cover it for some other reason.

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Originally Posted by Adam.
I'm looking for some advise in regards to whether or not a piano by a window can be made acceptable?

My primary concern is regards to the piano's wellfare. From what I can gather, having a piano by a window is a bad idea due to:

1) Direct Sunlight Damaging Finish / wood of piano

2) Direct Sunlight Damaging Soundboard if it gets directly onto it via an open lid

3) Extreme Temperature changes

4) Drafts (if the window is open and in particular if using an evaporation air conditioner and the air flowing by the piano).

5) Not as good acoustically for the piano.


Direct sunlight - Not good either for the piano case or the soundboard..
Extreme temperature changes - shouldn't be an issue assuming you keep the inside temps fairly constant throughout the year regardless of the outside temps..
Drafts - ideally the adjacent window should never be open.
Acoustics - depends on the size of the window, the type of window coverings, the position of the piano and several other factors about the room itself.

Quote
I think that about covers the issues. I was wondering whether or not it's possible to address these issues in a way that would make the position suitable, and was looking for comments on the following:

a) Install privacy curtains. (Black rolldown curtains that allow us to see outside but much more dimly, and stop people from seeing inside. I figure this would diffuse the sunlight as well) (Hopefully assisting with #1 and #2)
Is privacy an issue for you now? Why would it be any different with the piano?

Quote
b) Install additional heavy curtains, and outside shades. (Hopefully assisting with #1 and #2, as well as #3 in summer as well as assisting with #5 a little)

c) Installation of Comfort / Smart Glass. The glass is designed to create a barrier, and lessen the temperature transfer between the inside and the outside of the house. The glass is also supposed to be UV protectant. (Which brings me to a question - is the damage caused to the wood by direct sunlight due to UV light, or visible light)? (Hopefully assisting with #3 above)

How large a window are you talking about? Does it currently have an outside screen on it or curtains (other than sheers) on the inside?
My 7 foot grand has been positioned adjacent to an 8 foot long west facing bay window for 12 years now. The desert heat and glare hitting the outside wall five months out of the year in the late afternoon can be quite brutal. There are sunscreens on the outside of the windows, and large wooden slat plantation shutters on the inside which let some filtered light in but which are kept closed 99% of the time. No additional window coverings are necessary. I keep the piano lid closed (to keep the dust out), and (as an extra safeguard) cover the piano when not in use. The temperature inside the house never fluctuates more than 20 degrees throughout the year. We have central air.

Quote
d) Keep the window closed at all times and use another window in the room on a different wall for creating draft for the airconditioner in summer. (Hopefully dealing with #3 and #4 above)

Definitely keep the window closed at all times.

Quote
Can anyone please comment as to whether the concerns with windows can be addressed by what I have mentioned above, if I have missed anything, or whether placing a piano against a window should be avoided at all costs regardless of what measures are put in place, etc?
A piano can be placed next to a window but you should protect it from direct sunlight. You needn't go so far as to install new windows with comfort/smart glass. Simply do what you can with the use of outside screens and inside window coverings to keep direct light away from the instrument and/or keep the piano closed/covered when not in use. My 2 cents. smile
.


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Thanks for your replies...

Originally Posted by trigalg693
Metallic window film blocks out most of the light, all the UV, and almost all the IR (most of the heat), if you need to keep the window functional or can't cover it for some other reason.


Does that mean it's possible to have filtered sunlight actually hit the piano without it causing any issues (Filtered through film to block UV, IR and heat)? (I ask the question out of curiosity as the room we're in is a double-brick room, and the brick work pretty dark. The windows being open make the room quite light, but when the blinds are closed, it's a very dark room - even with lights on, it seems like a den).

I'm happy to make the sacrifice if it's required and keep the blinds in that area closed, however if it was possible to light up the room through that window where the piano will be without causing any damage, that would certainly peak my interest. (Not something I considered until you mentioned IR, and UV).

Originally Posted by Carey
Is privacy an issue for you now? Why would it be any different with the piano?


With these windows privacy isn't really an issue (people outside our yard can't really see right into that room).

Quote
How large a window are you talking about? Does it currently have an outside screen on it or curtains (other than sheers) on the inside?


The windows are approximately 1 m, but are in the corner, with an adjacent window connecting it around the other 90degree corner. (So the whole corner is basically a window for a meter in each direction). It has inside blinds at the moment, but I'm very happy to add external screens if that will assist!

Also - is there anything else that I should consider for the piano?

ie: Searching the net yet again, I've found devices such as Piano Life Saver, and Dampp Chaser designed to regulate the humidity in the piano. Is this something that should be considered seriously to extend the life of the piano, or is this more just for extreme environments (tropics, etc), or more a gimmick to sell a solution for something that's not really a problem?

Last edited by Adam.; 04/03/18 02:32 AM.
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My two grand pianos are located in my music room (enclosed car-port) which does have a lot of sunlight at certain times of the day due to two sets of French doors and other windows. My pianos do get some sunlight on them at certain times throughout the day, but it is minimal. I do not notice any adverse affects since the glass in the French doors and windows has the modern UV protection. Plus, the windows have heavy drapes that help block out some sunlight.

In all honestly, I do not worry about what little sunlight they get at certain times throughout the day. I consider it negligible. I think humidity control is much more important to maintain than a little sunlight, but that is just me.

However, if you are in a position to locate the piano in the middle of the room away from windows and isolated from any and all sunlight, the better.

Good luck!

Rick


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One of my pianos is located in a bay window area. The blinds are almost always closed, although I do open one blind right behind my piano bench. I have not seen any issue over the 4 years it has been there. I agree with Rick that humidity control is much more important.



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Hi Adam.,

I had to put a piano near a window and managed to mitigate the sun issue with a piece of foam core between the light-filtering shade and the ordinary glass. Here's the thread with a photo (I hope):

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...s-and-how-i-solved-them.html#Post2666665

The room has lots of light, so the loss at this one window isn't significant.

The black piano already had a Dampp-chaser when I bought it, I didn't add one to the mahogany piano. I use a room humidifier in the winter and A/C in the summer and set levels by my own comfort. The Dampp-chaser works just locally, so controlling the humidity in the room benefits the entire piano. These measures, and 3 tunings a year, seem to keep the pianos in good pitch and in general good health.

-LLW

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As mentioned earlier you can always add UV window tint or best option would be to replace the windows with double pane insulated with LowE glass and or electronic controlled window shades that you can set to close during the hours when there is direct sunlight.




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What sort of climate are you in? Dry desert heat? Tropical humidity? The frozen North? Is sunlight the only issue, or also humidity?

Heat from the sun travels in two ways: convection through moving air, and radiation. Your HVAC may control the temperature and even the humidity, and still you can have radiant heat damage. Double pane low-e glass is the Rolls Royce solution for radiant heat. That stick-on film from Israel -- the 90% heavy duty version -- is very good for a lot less money.


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Thanks all for your input and responses...

To answer the questions:

We are inland, not coastal in a low plain area. Temperatures outside can range from 20°f / -6°c on real bad frosty mornings up to 115°f / 47°c during the hottest summer days.

We don't get much in the way of humidity - except for the odd summer storms that come through, however artificial humidity can be created in the house with the use of the evaporation air-conditioner we have. I figure I can cut that down by closing the doors to the room so that it doesn't flow into the room (and keeping the windows closed as well) - but without the air conditioner it can get as warm as 97°f / 36°c during the hotter days without it.

I'm wondering if we're going to have to purchase another air-conditioner (reverse cycle) for the room (an expense I'm not wanting to spend if I can avoid), a dehumidifier (cheaper, but still an expense I'd like to avoid again if possible) or otherwise.


One thought I had (re the sunlight) was to use a white sheet against the windows to block direct sunlight but to act as a diffuser, so that it still lit up the room.


Also - I love the idea of a grip liner to stop pencils rolling into the piano!

Again, thanks to all for your input!

Last edited by Adam.; 04/03/18 06:51 PM.
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Cellular / honeycomb window shades do a good job of diffusing sunlight and add a little insulation. They're a little more expensive than a sheet but do look better. smile

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I am a strong proponent of humidity control. If you can adequately control the room, great...if not, the DC Piano life Saver system is very effective. More so if it is a vertical, but still worth it for a grand. If it is a grand, you will do yourself a favor by buying a full cover for the piano too. This will also help mitigate sun and draft issues.

Pwg


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Originally Posted by P W Grey
I am a strong proponent of humidity control. If you can adequately control the room, great...if not, the DC Piano life Saver system is very effective. More so if it is a vertical, but still worth it for a grand. If it is a grand, you will do yourself a favor by buying a full cover for the piano too. This will also help mitigate sun and draft issues.

Pwg

Wise words. But Adam, before spending money on humidity control equipment, get a good hygrometer and see how constant the relative humidity in your piano room is or is not.

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Great idea David! Thanks. It looks like I can get a thermometer / hygrometer data logger off ebay for around $30.

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Got mine near a window, but always keep the celluar blinds drawn during midday and the window NEVER opens. Period. As above, hygrometers are your friend! We've got two in the piano room


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Originally Posted by Adam.

One thought I had (re the sunlight) was to use a white sheet against the windows to block direct sunlight but to act as a diffuser, so that it still lit up the room.


In the winter, when the sun reaches the piano in my music room from a wall of windows, I add a shoji screen near the piano to block the sun. During the other half of the year, it can be put away.

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This might be totally irrelevant but I like the idea of those room coolers which have water running gently down a screen .Vertically running I`m not sure how wide or high they are but on top of cooling the room they also reduce excess humidity. I like things that are counter intuitive like that . I don`t think there are any noises or dripping sounds . Just a small electric pump . Do Steinways ever experiment with these problems ?

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Or just keep buying new pianos. How about renting nice pianos for short times and let the dealers sort out the damage. If you told them it would be placed in a hot window ----No maybe you would not mention that . In a way that might help to clarify the position . Think what a smart guy would do , and then pretend you`re that smart guy . Am I being cruel ?

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Originally Posted by Jt2nd
This might be totally irrelevant but I like the idea of those room coolers which have water running gently down a screen .Vertically running I`m not sure how wide or high they are but on top of cooling the room they also reduce excess humidity.[...]


How does running water in a room reduce humidity levels?

Regards,


BruceD
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