Maintaining Your Piano
How long a piano lasts depends on whether or not the maintenance is consistent and suitable for the piano’s location and climatic conditions. Once you become the owner of a fine piano, it is your responsibility to learn how to correctly play and care for the instrument and to maintain it at its optimal performance level.
Positioning Your Piano
Try to place your piano on an inner wall of the room. Do not place it too close to an exterior door or window in order to avoid direct sunlight or rapid changes in temperature or humidity. Furthermore, for the same reasons, you should never put your piano on, under or around your air-conditioning or heating vents. Do not put your piano near an open fireplace or any unvented heating device You should not put anything too hard or too heavy on your piano. Such items may cause a sympathetic vibration, which will affect the tone, and a heavy object may distort the top and or scratch the finish. When placing your piano next to a wall, keep a certain distance between your piano and the wall. Upright pianos should be no closer than 4 inches, while grand pianos should be no closer than 12 inches from the wall. For the best sound performance, be sure to have enough area around your piano to allow the sound to escape. On the other hand, if the space is too large and or there are too many hard surfaces, you may need to place sound absorption materials near by, such as plants, carpet, area rugs, curtains and the like to limit the echo effect. Do not move your piano too frequently. This will help you avoid unnecessary maintenance costs and limit the chances of damage.
Keeping Your Piano Clean
When you’re not playing your piano, it is best to close the fallboard and cover your piano with the corresponding slipcover in order to protect your investment. When cleaning your piano, take care to only use a dampened, soft cotton cloth or soft brush to wipe the surface. Before playing the piano, wash your hands. Hand oils may contain acids that are harmful to piano surfaces. Clean the keyboard regularly, wipe along the direction of the keys. If stains occur, use mild soap and water with a soft cloth. Be sure to wring out excess water before cleaning. If the copper or metal parts on the outer case appear oxidized, you can use a car wax applied with a soft cloth to revitalize the metal finish. It will be necessary from time to time to clean the inside of your piano. This should only be done by a qualified tuner technician. If you need help finding a technician, please contact Pearl River’s technical service department and they will be happy to help you find a local tuner technician. If you’re not planning to play your piano for long periods of time, put some camphor (moth balls) into your piano and cover it. Even if you’re not playing your piano, to protect your investment, you will still need to tune it once or twice a year depending on location and climatic conditions.
Importance of Stable Humidity
The principle parts of the outer frame or cabinet, the resonator, action and keyboard, are made of a large number of wood, felt, wool, leather and metal parts. All these materials are very sensitive to changes in humidity. Even the smallest changes of humidity will affect the tone and touch. Therefore, the relative humidity level in your piano room should be maintained at 40%RH to 60%RH. If the environmental humidity outside is too wet or it’s overcast and rainy weather, please close the windows, the fallboard and the top after playing piano. Desiccant (a drying agent) is recommended inside your piano and should be changed regularly. It will help protect some parts being from being affected with dampness which causes distortion or oxidation. If extreme conditions require it, Pearl River also recommends the use of a device known as Dampp Chaser. This product can prolong the life of your piano and keep your service costs reasonable. If the relative humidity becomes too low, put a basin of water in the room where the piano is located. This helps keep the humidity at a constant level as the water evaporates. As a result, the piano parts and finish will be less susceptible to damage. A Dampp Chaser will also produce the same results.