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The alternative is an inside wall next to a huge radiator, which is not warm that often and can be turned off if needed. Unfortunately that would mean getting a new settee etc....
So the question: would it be ok to position the piano next to the woodburner? What effect would the heat have?
I would be grateful for any advice! Thanks!
Temperature and humidity are important to maintain at near constant levels, if possible, for a piano. 20C and 40-45% humidity are generally reckoned to be ideal. Too much heat (ie adjacent to a woodburner) may cause warping of critical parts and will cause drying of natural moisture content, resulting in cracks. The soundboard is especially vulnerable. Too little heat results in damp problems, rusted strings, and swelling of the wood. Variances daily or weekly lead to expansion and contraction which takes the piano out of tune quickly and generally deteriorates the instrument rapidly.
As a general rule inside walls are better than outside due to more constant temp and less damp. Away from windows also advisable to minimise UV discoloration and direct sun heat.
The regular 'tuning' posters on this forum will be able to provide chapter and verse for you, but from the description you give, I'd opt for the inside wall and turn the radiator off. Get a Hygrometer to check humidity in the room and a humidifier if it falls below 40%.
The settee's a small price to pay for the satisfaction and years of pleasure you'll get from having a piano
Might be useful to know what is the typical temp and humidity range in your living room given that a woodburner will, I guess, create large swings. You can get a hygrometer/thermometer to check this for under £20 then ask you dealer's advice.
I'm completely with you on traditional v digital re looks, but it's the sound and touch between the two that are notably different. I would not persuade you one way or the other. It's personal taste and what you need that matters. Digital's have a useful role - no tuning necessary, not susceptible to temp and humidity swings (except damp) and can be played via headphones for practice without disturbance. Useful up to about Grade 5 after which greater sensitivity of action than a digital gives is generally advised.
If you can accommodate a traditional it may be more cost effective long term, but if you cannot keep temp and humidity within a reasonable range it's likely to need regular re-tuning visits at least.
My piano stays in my livingroom and save for it going flat owing to it being overdue for its six monthly, I have had no problems with it. Obviously, you do not stick it beside or in front of a radiator because that would give you very stark and harmful temperature ranges with respect to your piano. Neither should you have it near a window as direct sunlight in the summer particularly can have the same affect as will the colder, damper weather during the colder winter months. The latter is a slightly smaller point but worth mentioning. This is why you'll never find an acoustic piano in a conservatory (of any sane persons home, that is!).
Exactly. It's extremes of heat that cause problems. So keep away from direct sources of heat and check humidity is in the 40-60% range and you should be fine. 15-25C is a typical range that's acceptable.
Bart wrote "We normally switch off the heaters at night"
My heating's off at night too. Just checked max/min levels in my dining room where my Bluthner A lives (next to internal wall and well away from the radiator); temp ranges from 16 to 21C and humidity from 40 to 55%; it's as sweet as the day it arrived.
Bart wrote "place where I want to put the soon-to-be-bought new piano is far away from heaters. Do I need to worry?"
Sounds ideal to minise temp effect on the piano. Inexpensive thermo/hygro is worthwhile to keep a check on your new piano.
In an artificially heated situation, there is no available water to evaporate, so timber starts to dry out to attempt to reach equilibrium with the atmosphere, unless the house is damp and in this case when heated the humidity increases and the reverse happens. This is why the new Building Regulations call for ventilation to be designed into building construction, such as "trickle vents".
Properly seasoned timber has a moisture content of typically 15%. It can tolerate slight changes but if the atmosphere is too dry, some of this moisture is lost, causing distortion and in severe cases, warping and splitting of the timber. Likewise, if the timber starts to absorb moisture from the atmosphere, it swells. Repeated cycling of this causes permanent distortion and damage.
I would move the radiator - in any case, to be most effective, radiators should be on outside walls, ideally underneath windows, rather than inside walls. It is a job which shouldn't take a plumber more than a couple of hours. I would also recommend having a thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) fitted as this would prevent it getting too hot and it would turn itself off when the stove is on.
Otherwise, do you have a dining room or parlour room? Putting the piano in there would remove competition with the TV and the environment could be kept more stable.
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