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|How to take care of your piano
The best possible environment for a piano is a dry climate, if the piano lives there all its life without any change of temperature, humidity.
Manufacturers build pianos for an "average" climate with relative humidity of 40~45%; but technicians from other parts of the country have a hard time believing their eyes when they first encounter Victorian and early-twentieth-century pianos that have lived all their lives in dry parts of Colorado,New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and other are as where rust doesn't occur under normal circumstances.
Wood remains as white as a new piano, metal remains shiny, soundboards don't come unglued from the ribs, bass strings still sound good, and tuning pins even stay tight.
The next best climate is one that stays somewhat humid all year, An average relative humidity of 60% all year long is better than a humidity level that swings up and down with the seasons.
The worst possible environment for a piano is one that alternates from high humidity in the summer to very low humidity in the winter - such as a humid location within adequate air conditioning or dehumidification in the summer, and dry heat in the winter - causing the wood and felt in a piano to expand and contract.
Expansion and contraction from seasonal humidity variations are a major cause of many piano problems, including loose glue joints, checked varnish or lacquer, loose tuning pins, a cracked sound-The very worst thing that can be done to a piano is to keep it in a very humid climate for years and then move it to an extremely dry climate, where it will fall apart. Protecting A Piano From Enviromental Changes. Never place a piano over a hot air register or next to a radiator. Never place a piano in front of a window. When possible, locate a piano against an inside wall.
This will minimize the effect of temperature changes and condensation when the outside and inside temperatures are different.
Avoid placing a piano on a damp concrete floor. Never place a piano in direct sunlight, which call bleach the finish, warp the keys and keybed, loosen the tuning pins, crack the soundboard, and cause many other problems.
To preserve a piano in the best condition for the longest possible time, control the climate particularly the humidity - surrounding the piano.
If an effective building or room humidification /dehumidification system is out of the question, the piano may be protected somewhat by installing a moisture control system such as "Dampp-ChaserTM ,"available from piano supply companies.
The Dampp-ChaserTM system includes a dehumidifier, humidifier, and humidistat control, the dehumidifier and control might provide adequate protection. In climates having more extreme changes, use the entire system.
If you use a humidifier, refill it with water faithfully.
It is better not to use a humidifier at all than to forget to fill it some of the time, as the resulting humidity fluctuations could cause more damage than would probably have occurred in the course of nature.
Unfortunately, most player pianos, reproducing pianos, and orchestrations which might benefit by the installation of a humidity control system have no space available inside the cabinet.
So it is especially important to have an effective humidity control system in the room or building where these instruments are housed.
Many people place a small jar or pan of water in the bottom of a vertical piano, or a plant on the floor under a grand, in the mistaken belief that this will significantly help to stabilize the humidity in the piano.
Neither of these adds enough water to the surrounding air to be of much help.
In addition, jars of water placed in vertical pianos often get spilled, causing far more damage than benefit. A steam or cold water mist vaporizer.
placed close to a piano is even worse; the moisture from one of these is so concentrated that it will ruin the finish, swell and buckle veneer and other wooden parts, and cause glue joints to come loose.
The picture below shows worst place for the piano
There's two major opinion about the pre-owned piano which was imported from the asia by cargo.
One is from the official dealer.
(The people who selling the brand new pianos.)
The other is from the used piano dealer.
(The people who selling the used piano after repair it like new.)
And here's scientific report from Australia.
Extract from a technical discussion concerning the effect of humidity fluctuations on the piano - by Leroy Edwards - Piano Technician USA
A fundamental point, often misunderstood or ignored when working with wood, is that the physical size of a piece of wood is affected by it's moisture content. Not only affected, but greatly affected. This is what causes furniture drawers to stick or rattle and soundboards to crack or lose tone. The facts and figures that follow are taken from the book "The behaviour of Wood" by R.Bruce Hoadly.
A tree contains water, a lot of water. Once it is felled, it starts losing moisture to the air. The amount it loses depends on the amount of moisture in the air. Nature's goal is to have the moisture content of the log and the air become "equal".
The water in the log is stored in 2 different ways. One is the water in the cells and fibre construction itself. This is called "Bound Water". The other is the water in the cavities between the fibre constructions and is called " Free Water". A good comparison would be a sponge. When completely wet it has free water that you can squeeze out, and after the best job of squeezing has been done, all the free water is gone. What remains keeping the sponge wet is bound water.
In most freshly cut logs, water will account for 70 - 80% of their weight. In the drying process, losing all the free water (which happens first) will reduce the water weight to approximately 28%, regardless of the type of wood. Losing free water does not affect the dimension of the wood. If a piece of wood at it's fibre saturation point (around 28%) is placed into an oven, virtually all of the bound water can be removed, and during the oven drying process, the shrinkage of wood occurs in three different ways. It shrinks less than 1% along it's length, about 4% across the grain, and 8% with the grain.
When wood is seasoned to some specific EMC (Equilibrium Moisture Content) and the parts of a desk, table, piano or whatever are cut to specific sizes, they remain at those specific sizes only as long as the EMC of the wood does not change.
All furniture and piano makers have found that the environment in North America and Australia creates a situation that necessitates seasoning of wood to around 7% or problems will occur. In fact the extremes of low relative humidity in some homes in Australia can dry the wood below the 7% figure. 7% EMC is a point around which the EMC in homes in North America and Australia centres. Some days the wood will absorb moisture and the EMC raise above 7%, somedays the opposite happens. Wood has an elasticity function that allows some movement without cracking, but if the limit is exceeded, damage occurs.
We need to be aware that the hundreds of moving parts in a piano action are machined to very exact sizes, (particularly when compared to a drawer in a Chest of Drawers), and even small changes in sizes can cause problems. Other parts of the piano, such as the sound board and pin block can also be affected to varying degree.
SEASONING REDUCES THE MOISTURE CONTENT OF WOOD
Yamaha seasons timber for piano manufacture, depending on the relative moisture content in the major cities in the country in which they will be sold. For Asia to 11% EMC.For Europe 9% EMC. For North America and Australia 7%.
3.5% CHANGE IN EMC CREATES A 1% PHYSICAL SIZE CHANGE
DAMAGE CAN OCCUR TO A PIANO BECAUSE OF LOWERING EMC AFTER CONSTRUCTION
If the soundboard becomes smaller, a small amount of shrinkage means the curvature becomes less (some crown is lost) which causes loss of tone quality. More shrinkage means greater loss of tone quality. Still more shrinkage can cause cracks in the soundboard, and buzzes and vibrations in the sound.
As wood in the action shrinks, the excellence in the touch that Yamaha is renowned for is lost. The keys don't stop working, but a prime reason for buying a Yamaha piano is their exceptional "action" or "feel" and this will be lost.
As wood in the pin block shrinks, the pins can become loose, and therefore the piano will go out of tune.
As wood in the body shrinks, glue joints become stressed and can finally fail. Cracks may appear in the basic construction of the piano - back posts, curved rim, etc. Some back posts may no longer touch the rim. Polyester finish may crack or lose adhesion to wood surfaces.
Relative Humidity (RH) is the percentage of water in the air compared to the maximum it could hold at that temperature. Reports on TV or newspapers quote outside RH not inside.
To keep wood at 11% EMC it is necessary to keep the room at a constant 60% RH.
To keep wood at 7% EMC it is necessary to keep the room at a constant 35% RH
4% EMC change = 1.14% shrinkage in size of wood
This means that every piece of wood in a second hand imported Japanese piano will shrink or be under stress to shrink just over 1% just to meet USA/Australian standard.
Wood parts that can shrink include soundboard, action parts, cabinet parts, tuning pin block and any part not glued to another part. Wood that is under stress and trying to shrink includes parts that are glued together like laminated wood. Even parts that are glued together will shrink an amount and can finally break the glue joint.
FIGURES TO REMEMBER
60% Relative Humidity (RH) produces 11% EMC. 35% RH produces 7% EMC.
25% RH change produces 4% EMC change.
4% EMC change produces 1.14% size change.
Yamaha go to enormous trouble to season their pianos for different climates.
They need to ensure that all the timber required to produce the piano is ready at the same time, and then they produce pianos for a particular climate. This means that orders need to be placed months in advance from each country. After manufacture, the pianos are kept for 14 days in a humidity controlled area in the factory to stabilise. Then they are sealed in a moisture proof bag inside their box, and shipped out. You can imagine all the extra work, planning and therefore expense this causes. Yamaha would not do this unless they knew it was important.
It is quite humorous that people selling second hand imported Yamaha pianos actually will tell you to buy Yamaha because they are the best pianos, and have the best action, and the best tuning stability, the best sound etc, etc. This is clearly because Yamaha have done such extensive research and use such precise manufacturing processes. Then they will say to you "Oh, by the way, don't bother about this made for Australia business - Yamaha don't know what they are talking about" What a joke! Yamaha do know what they are talking about, that's why they make the best pianos! You can't have it both ways!
Yamaha are the experts on Yamaha pianos, and they are warning you not to buy a second hand imported Yamaha. Don't be misled!
Who's the expert on Yamaha pianos
In my opinion , by experience, and recording.
The humidity of the Canada in the house is less than %25 in winter.
(without any humidifier.)
In this case, the piano which were seasoned for North America is best.
but if you will buy or already bought the piano which was seasoned for asia climate.
Make sure if there's any crack inside of the piano before buying it, especially on the bridge.
Also buy the humidifier which cost $200 CAD in Home Depot or Canadian Tire.(which has a sensor with it.)
And set the sensor on 40~50% is recommended.
Then you can keep it's condition without any trouble.