If you own an acoustic piano – or you plan to buy a used one – you need to know the right room conditions in which it should be kept. Use the following guidelines to help you create or update a piano room to both complement and protect your instrument:
1. Maintaining the Right Temperature for a Piano
An ideal piano room is a constant 70-72° F (21-22° C); going too much higher or lower upsets tuning, weakens delicate internal glue, and contributes to long term wood damage. Make sure you can control the temperature of your piano room, avoid climate fluctuations:
- Keep your piano from exterior walls, drafty windows and doors, fireplaces, and climate-control vents.
- If your area has temperature extremes, keep the room protected and well-insulated, especially if your climate-control will be off at night.
- Placing an area rug beneath a piano is helpful on cold floors, and can also help balance out an overly-bright piano.
2. Ideal Humidity Levels for a Piano
A piano fares best in 35-45% humidity, but up to 55% is acceptable – so long as it’s constant. Fluctuating humidity causes wood – including the ever-important soundboard – to swell and release, leading to tuning issues, changes in timbre, silent keys, and a host of other costly, avoidable problems.
- Tip: If you own an electric piano, keep the humidity level at 55% to prevent static electricity damage.
3. Limit Exposure to the Elements
Windows and doors can allow a string of threats to casually wander in and destroy your piano:
- Condensation – a particular threat to electric keyboards – can be avoided by keeping windows and doors well-insulated; both of which should remained closed when less than 4 feet from a piano.
- Dust, pollen, and smoke all reach the piano’s fragile interior easily, and – with the help of condensation – coat it with a sticky, bacteria-happy residue. Keep the piano lid closed, and invest in a quality cover for your electric keyboard.
- Direct sunlight should never touch a piano – electric or acoustic. Indirect sunlight can help prevent mold and yellowing keys in acoustic pianos, but be sure to monitor the temperature in a sunny piano room.
4. The Best Room for Your Piano StyleYour piano room should enhance your piano’s voice. “Bright” pianos – which sound clear, treble, or even mildly piercing – are balanced by absorbent surroundings like carpeting and wall hangings. Subtle, mellow piano voices are complemented by wooden floors and other hard surfaces. Consider the following:
- Hard-wood floors are great because of their versatility: You can add or remove area rugs to customize the sound of the room.
- Electric pianos depend on the strength and quality of the speakers used; a small room works best with built-in speakers, but external speakers can always be toggled to suit a room.
- Correct vibrating surfaces such as windows, loose shelves, or picture frames to avoid harsh tones or falling objects!