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In my oldish house, it gets quite cold and very dry(30%) during winter. Indoor temperature around 18C/65F.
Summer is much more humid (50-60%) and indoors is around 22C/72F.

I prefer to save on heating in the winter in order to reduce my carbon dioxide footprint.

Assuming both pianos have a dampp-chaser installed - which would be most resistant to the low indoor temperature and swing in humidity?

I'm leaning towards the upright as I imagine the closed box can hold the moisture better during winter.


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I think it depends on the piano. My former Kawai upright was quite fickle about humidity. My Cunningham grand is like a tank, nothing moves it.


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Was that an older piano or a newer one with ABS actions? In theory companies that use ABS components such as Kawai and Mason and Hamlin should fair better with humidity and temp shifts, but in practice I have no idea.


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Originally Posted by Sail26
Was that an older piano or a newer one with ABS actions? In theory companies that use ABS components such as Kawai and Mason and Hamlin should fair better with humidity and temp shifts, but in practice I have no idea.

That won't matter if you're going from 60 to 30. There will be alot of movement.

polyfon, if you can fit a grand in the house, then get a grand. In the winter you will need a humidifier. Humidifier will cost you ~ $50 a season for the water additives and filter. I like the damp chaser concept, but I have a fear where the controller breaks and it cooks my piano, haha.

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I exchanged some notes with someone at Steingraeber re their uprights. First, they haven't got around to liking carbon fiber actions although I suspect they are continuing to experiment. When a piano is going off to very humid climes, they account for that during construction. And make it out of wood & the usual stuff.

The other interesting thing they said is that their magnetic actions were less stable than the traditional accelerated variety in extreme weather.

I didn't ask whether their uprights held up as well as grands under that sort of duress. My guess is that they have enough extra moving parts that there is more opportunity to be cranky. But that is only a guess.

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Originally Posted by Sail26
Was that an older piano or a newer one with ABS actions? In theory companies that use ABS components such as Kawai and Mason and Hamlin should fair better with humidity and temp shifts, but in practice I have no idea.
It was a brand new Kawai UST-9. Granted, it was new, so string stretching was normal. But even after that (I had it for 3 years), it still wandered bit in pitch, more so than other uprights I had. The Yamaha U1 I had years ago was another tank, LOL. Very solid in its tuning stability.


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Originally Posted by EinLudov
polyfon, if you can fit a grand in the house, then get a grand. In the winter you will need a humidifier.

Do you have personal experience using a humidifier? My house is very open, so it would need to be quite powerful. I doubt it is gonna raise the humidity enouhg, and thats why I somehow believe more in the dampp chaser as it sits inside the instrument.
However, someone here mentioned that the system didn't work that well in a grand.


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With a dampp chaser, it’s easier for the system to regulate in the more closed confines of the upright piano.


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Does the piano room not have a door that you can close? I have used a humidifier, and if you get the right sort, it can be very satisfactory. But you do not want to be humidifying the whole house.

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Originally Posted by David-G
Does the piano room not have a door that you can close? I have used a humidifier, and if you get the right sort, it can be very satisfactory. But you do not want to be humidifying the whole house.


Why not? The humidity range that is good for a piano is also enjoyed by humans.

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Originally Posted by polyfon
Originally Posted by EinLudov
polyfon, if you can fit a grand in the house, then get a grand. In the winter you will need a humidifier.

Do you have personal experience using a humidifier? My house is very open, so it would need to be quite powerful. I doubt it is gonna raise the humidity enouhg, and thats why I somehow believe more in the dampp chaser as it sits inside the instrument.
However, someone here mentioned that the system didn't work that well in a grand.

In the US we have a brand called aircare, they import the same whole house evaporative models from china, the same as the ones kenmore used to. I'm sure in your country they probably have a reseller too.

The whole house model they sell on Low fan speed is quite usable and it will keep the piano room above 40%. It will run 24/7, on low it's not loud at all a low woosh sound, I can play with it on in the room right behind me. I tried the venta airwash as well, but that did not evaporate nearly enough water for my piano room which is also open. The ultrasonic type is the most quiet, but it pumped out white dust all over the place so that's out. If you're going ultrasonic you will need the kind with 3 evaporative discs that outputs ~750ml/hour, and I recommend getting a reverse osmosis system for your water so you don't get the white dust.

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Originally Posted by polyfon
Originally Posted by EinLudov
polyfon, if you can fit a grand in the house, then get a grand. In the winter you will need a humidifier.

Do you have personal experience using a humidifier? My house is very open, so it would need to be quite powerful. I doubt it is gonna raise the humidity enouhg, and thats why I somehow believe more in the dampp chaser as it sits inside the instrument.
However, someone here mentioned that the system didn't work that well in a grand.

It will, for sure. I have a humidifier and my home is around 1500 sq/feet, I can't leave it on all the time because the humidity gets way too high and you can tell this when the windows start showing condensation. I only turn it on for a few hours a day. I highly doubt that you will run into the problem of a humidifier not being able to keep the humidity up. I prefer to use humidifiers that heat water up into steam, because this minimizes the bacteria in the water being blown into the air. It also doesn't use a filter, which means I don't have to buy new filters every year.

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Originally Posted by polyfon
In my oldish house, it gets quite cold and very dry(30%) during winter. Indoor temperature around 18C/65F.
Summer is much more humid (50-60%) and indoors is around 22C/72F.

I prefer to save on heating in the winter in order to reduce my carbon dioxide footprint.

Assuming both pianos have a dampp-chaser installed - which would be most resistant to the low indoor temperature and swing in humidity?

I'm leaning towards the upright as I imagine the closed box can hold the moisture better during winter.

In my experience under dreadful New England institutional conditions (measured RH seasonal swings from <10% - >80%) verticals with DC's did much better than grands, with the low tenor plain strings keeping within 10¢ when grands moved 30¢ or more. However, with the addition of bottom and top covers (either string or fitted top cover) the grands can do just as well, especially if the space is not over-heated. Put on a sweater and turn the thermostat down 5° and you're piano will be much happier in the Winter!


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Thanks for all replies. Very interesting first hand experiences.

My room needs to be open as i have a single air heat pump heating the entire house.

I play my piano many times a day in quite short periods between taking care of my child and sometimes during work from home.
I think removing a top cover from a grand every time would make me play less.

nhpianos, very good tip about not overheating. I already try to keep as cold as possible in winter and was worried that it would be bad for a piano. It maked sense that overheating will make the RH lower.

Apart from tuning drifting, what else have you experienced, eg. loose action or cracked soundboard?


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I can relate my experience on my first year of ownership of my Yamaha U3H. I got it on February 2020 and was tuned at the beginning of March 2020. A year later, with temperature around the same it was then, but having suffered some close to 80% RH last months, tuning was up to about 9 cents. I put a dehumidifier on the piano room and now RH is about 65%. Tuning has gone back to about 5 cents up. So roughly 4 cents per 15% less RH.

I plan to wait for temperature to rise a bit and so RH going lower to see if the piano goes closer to its original tune and, once stabilised, call the tuner.

But what I have learned is that I need to keep RH as constant as possible all the year. Not easy, but at least I need to avoid high peaks.


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I leave my grand piano cover on my piano, 95% of the time. You can have them designed with slits in the side that allow you to fold the fly lid over without removing the cover itself. If you’re using a humidity control system and an undercover on the grand piano, the one downside I noticed is it’s a lot harder to service than the upright piano version, because you have to remove the undercover and then put it back into place. The use of the undercover does make a difference in system efficacy on the grand piano system.

My current grand piano does not have a system installed and the RH at home is between 40-60% except for an occasional extreme weather day. This time of year the morning temperature might have the heat kicking on at 67 degrees in the morning and the air conditioning at 74 degrees in the late afternoon/evening. I typically tune it in May, August, and December to match the weather, barring a recording session.


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Originally Posted by nhpianos
Put on a sweater and turn the thermostat down 5° and you're piano will be much happier in the Winter!

Something needs to be said about sweaters though, it makes it so your elbow is harder to tuck against the body on crossovers. laugh

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Originally Posted by EB5AGV
But what I have learned is that I need to keep RH as constant as possible all the year. Not easy, but at least I need to avoid high peaks.

AC usually takes care of that no problem, it pulls the moisture right out. Hot or Cold.

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Originally Posted by polyfon
nhpianos, very good tip about not overheating. I already try to keep as cold as possible in winter and was worried that it would be bad for a piano. It maked sense that overheating will make the RH lower.

Apart from tuning drifting, what else have you experienced, eg. loose action or cracked soundboard?

What is the square footage of your home, if you're under 3000, humidifier can take care of it no problem. How is your house heated and cooled is it forced air or hot water.

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If I may quote Larry Fine:

‘As far as I know, they are equally susceptible’.

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