In today's climate with the abundance of central heating and modern insulation, pianos before the 1960s were not designed to withstand the dry heat found in some homes in the UK. This can result in splits in the soundboard and the drying out of the wrest plank which effectively keeps the pianos tuning pins nice and tight therefore, holding the piano in tune.
The ideal humidity for a piano is 40-50%. Which in UK homes is normally around that in the summer months, in the winter months when the heating goes on it can drop to as little as 20% and with homes with under floor heating it can go down to 12%
To combat this we recommend the placing of Hydracell units inside the piano placed at the relevant points. However, a large container placed in the bottom of an upright piano filled with water will nearly do as good a job but of course, will cost you considerably less. Grand’s on the other hand do require the fitting of Hydracell units. A third alternative might be the use of radiator pans, which are easily obtainable from a local D.I.Y. store. Consult your piano tuner for more information as extreme moister can also have an adverse affect on the play mechanism.
In extreme cases such as homes with under floor heating or nursing homes. We would recommend a Piano Life Saverthese systems have heaters and special containers filled with water and are computer controlled.
The original and genuine Hydroceel can the answer to both excess humidity and dryness. The Hydroceel is a tubular device about 1 metre long designed for installation inside the piano. It is not electric but relies on absorbent material in a leak proof plastic case. At the start of the heating season the unit should be immersed in water for 1 0 minutes, the outer surface dried and then placed in the clips provided, these having been mounted inside the instrument. The Hydroceel needs filling every 3-4weeks during the heating season.
Robin Foster MABPT
Barrie Heaton MABPT FIMIT MMPTA
UK Piano Page Copyright 1999 - 2004
A collection of FAQ's and informative articles on pianos
1 post • Page 1 of 1