Piano Care & Maintenance Suggestions
Conder's Piano Service suggests certain Care and Maintenance of your piano for optimum performance and longevity.
A Guide to Purchasing a Piano Piano Care & Maintenance Suggestions
Vintage & Pre-Owned Piano Sales Piano Tuning & Voicing
Event Rental and Rent-to-Own Piano Repair & Regulation
Piano Brokerage, Estimates & Appraisals Piano Restoration & Refinishing
Piano Moving & Moving Suggestions
About Our Business
Frequency of Tuning, Regulation, Voicing
Under normal circumstances, a piano in your home, in a constantly controlled climate, and not frequently moved or repositioned, should hold tunings very well. However, whether it is played or not, all pianos should be tuned at least every two (2) years in order to “maintain the pitch” at A440.
Depending on the circumstances, if a piano is repeatedly moved around, subjected to temperature variations, etc., it could require tuning as often as every month in order to remain “performance ready”. More information is available under “Piano Tuning & Voicing”.
As pianos are played, over time, points of contact of key and action parts wear, and the piano can lose consistency of touch from key to key. Through a variety of adjustments, these problems can be corrected. In our experience, under normal use, if minor adjustments are made to “touch up” the regulation every 2 - 5 years (when the piano is tuned), major regulation is not required for many years (25+ years). More information about regulation is available at “Piano Repair & Regulation”.
Over time, as a piano is played, the hammers become worn and compressed. This creates a loss of consistency of volume from note to note and also a deterioration of overall tone quality of the piano. Various treatments to the hammers can correct this problem. The frequency of need for “voicing”, on average, is almost identical to “regulation”, as outlined above.
The need for both regulation and voicing are determined by the required performance of the piano desired by the pianist. However, keep in mind, as more time passes and the problems gradually become worse, the time required to execute the adjustments to bring the piano back to proper condition increases, as does the expense of the service.
More information about voicing is also available at “Piano Tuning & Voicing”.
Cosmetic Care of Finishes, Keys, etc.
There are many different kinds of piano finishes that require different treatment for optimum longevity and appearance. However, all finishes are subject to problems due to some common mistreatment.
Try to avoid polishes that contain wax. The constant application of wax over time creates a hazy build-up on the finish. We suggest that products such as Endust, or a nice oil-based polish be used. If you are dusting anywhere inside the cabinet (such as inside the lid of a grand piano), it is important that no cleaning product is directly applied to the surface. Instead, apply product to a soft cloth and then wipe surfaces.
Keys can be cleaned with a damp cloth. However, it is very important that the cloth is not too wet. Wring excess moisture from cloth until it is damp. Moisture is your piano’s greatest enemy. If moisture gets between the keys, there could be devastating effects to your piano.
We suggest, in order to minimize the need to clean the keys, or the inside of grand pianos, that when the piano is not being used, the cabinets remain closed (lids and fallboards). We realize that the exposed keys (and strings on grand pianos) can be attractive, but dust can build up over the long life of a piano. There are “unreachable” places on a piano that cannot be cleaned thoroughly without extensive rebuilding of the piano.
Brass rollers, pedals, knobs, hinges, etc. can be cleaned with brass polish. You must, however, be careful to properly mask the finish of the cabinet to avoid any contact between the polish and the wood finish of the piano. Most piano hardware is solid brass and with enough effort, can be cleaned as good as new, regardless of the extent of the tarnishing.
Positioning or Repositioning Your Piano
Before a piano is moved the first inch, to avoid damage, the weight of the piano should be lightened off the rollers by physically lifting the piano. If a roller jams for any reason, the piano legs could break, or the top-heavy piano could flip over!
Within the first few inches of movement, you should be able to determine if the rollers are functioning well enough to allow movement without damage. However, lifting should always be repeated over any uneven floors, thick carpet, thresholds, etc. While the entire weight of the piano is on the rollers, any sideways pressure on the roller could easily bend it or break it.
When choosing a place to position a piano, you should take a few things into consideration. In older structures (not well-insulated), inside walls are preferable. In more modern structures (well-insulated), this does not apply.
A piano should never be in the direct path of a heating or air conditioning vent. Piano finishes can be damaged by long term exposure to direct sunlight. You should avoid placing your piano in the vicinity of a window that would subject the finish to ultraviolet light. More information about moving pianos is available at “Piano Moving & Moving Suggestions”.
Environments and Situations to Avoid
Moisture of any kind causes serious problems with any piano. You should avoid setting beverages, vases containing water, houseplants, etc. on a piano. If liquid is accidentally spilled into the piano, the damage can be extreme. In some cases, the piano can could be damaged beyond repair.
You should also avoid placing any objects on the piano that could fall into the piano, such as coins, paper clips, etc. On most grand pianos, the music rack is suspended over a very vulnerable area. If small objects fall off the music rack (and into the piano) they could create numerous problems, such as “buzzing”, “rattling”, etc. For example, if an ink pen falls off the music rack into the piano’s action, it could jam keys or even break fragile action parts. This is a very common problem that is easily avoidable.
Pianos should never be stored for an extended period of time in a damp environment, (such as a basement) or in close proximity to any device that produces steam (humidifiers, kitchen equipment, saunas, etc.) Also, any environment subject to drastic temperature changes should be avoided. Drastic temperature changes can cause condensation to form on the metals in the piano (such as the strings and the cast iron plate) which can promote rust. Rust problems in a piano can require major rebuilding to correct.
Another enemy of pianos is the moth. Left unchecked, moths can do an enormous amount of damage to a piano in surprisingly short period of time. To reduce the risk of these problems, a piano should never be stored in a garage or storage shed.