What Are The Best Long-Term Storage Options For A Piano In A Humid Climate?

Posted on: 19 April 2016

An upright piano can quickly become the focal point or conversation piece of a room -- providing music, ambiance, and an aesthetically pleasing appearance. However, if you find yourself in between permanent housing locations or are dealing with a lack of space in your existing home, you may find it necessary to place your piano into long-term storage. For those in humid climates, the long-term storage of a piano may pose some specific challenges and issues. Read on to learn more about how best to store your piano in an area with high relative humidity.

How can high humidity levels impact the condition of a piano?

Although anyone who has moved a piano more than a few feet can attest to its heaviness, implying a highly solid nature, many of a piano's components are actually quite porous and prone to moisture absorption. Wooden pianos, like wooden floors, are designed to expand and contract slightly with changes in the surrounding humidity and air temperature.

This slight, steady movement ordinarily won't pose any harm to your piano. However, leaving your piano in a highly humid area for months (or years) at a time can interfere with this natural expansion and retraction process, instead causing your piano's wood to remain swollen, eventually warping it so that it is unable to return to its original position or appearance. 

High humidity or air moisture can also affect the tuning of your piano. As the wood expands and contracts, the bridge holding the piano strings in place can stretch these strings, changing their sound. Over time, this will cause the notes you play to sound much flatter than they should be, requiring you to tune your piano regularly.

Finally, high humidity can lead to premature rusting of the delicate metal pins that hold these strings (and other components) in place. The felt and leather padding used to cushion parts of your piano from impact can also become moldy or mildewed if left in a humid room for a long period of time. 

What should you do to reduce the effect of moisture on your piano during long-term storage? 

Fortunately, despite this wide range of potential complications, a piano stored in a climate-controlled storage unit where you've taken steps to maintain a constant humidity level should be able to enjoy years of maintenance-free care.

Your first step when storing your piano should be to purchase an air dehumidifier. This will help extract excess moisture from the air for easy disposal rather than allowing your piano to absorb this moisture.

You may also want to place packets of silica gel (the type often included inside new shoes and other moisture-prone clothing items) to place in various locations around your storage unit. This silica gel will help remove moisture from the air before it can reach your piano.

Finally, you may want to investigate the purchase of a moisture-resistant canvas cover for your piano. While this cover won't be enough to shield your piano from liquid spills or a thunderstorm, it should successfully resist ambient moisture, even in very humid regions. Combining a moisture-resistant piano cover with several other humidity-reducing devices or formulations should help you maintain your piano in perfect condition for years to come. 

For more about this topic and information about moving the piano to storage, contact piano storage companies or piano mover services. 


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