Pianos are made primarily of wood (85%). Therefore, with the constant expansion and contraction of the soundboard due to the climate changes, the piano is continually changing. A stable climate is essential for stable tunings. West Music recommends tuning a piano (standard pitch is A440) at least twice every year. If a piano is allowed to stand for long periods of time without service, it will go further and further out of tune and will require more time and effort to maintain an accurate tuning. A tuning is directly affected by changes in humidity and temperature. For longevity and stability, maintain a range of 35-50% relative humidity around the room. Purchasing a hygrometer (#150502) to measure relative humidity will help assess the climate of your home.
Placement in Your Home
Placing your piano on any level above ground is best. Basements are not recommended for acoustic pianos. If a basement or walkout basement is your only option for placement, using an air conditioner in humid, summer months and adding a humidifier to your central air unit will help reduce extremes in humidity. Room humidifiers and dehumidifiers (as well as units that can be placed inside the piano—Dampp Chasers) will help with humidity related disorders.
Keep the piano away from heat vents, fireplaces, and stoves. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight as this will damage the finish over time and will affect the tuning of the piano. Using blinds, sheers, drapes, or a large plant will help offset the direct light.
Finish & Case Care
For all finishes, use a clean, soft, dry cloth to remove dust. Always dust in the direction of the grain of the wood. Do not set any beverages, drinks or live plants on the pianos.
For satin finishes, use a clean piece of cheese cloth, lightly dampened with water, to wipe away fingerprints. Follow with a soft dry cloth to remove moisture from the finish. A special polish/cleaner (Satin Gloss Polish #150162) that is designed for piano finishes is available at West Music that will assist in removing the fingerprints. Do not use sprays or polishes that aren’t designed for pianos for they can harm the finish.
For high gloss finishes, use a soft, clean cloth lightly dampened with water to remove fingerprints. A high gloss polish (High Gloss Polish #150157) is available at West Music that works great, too.
For the interior of a piano, do not use any water or a damp cloth to clean the piano or rid it of dust. Interior cleaning and retrieval of items lost in the piano should always be arranged through the West Music Piano Service Department.
To clean the keys, (both black and white) one can use a lightly dampened cloth or purchase a product (Key Bright #150159) that will clean and polish ivory, plastic, and wood keys on a piano or on a computer keyboard. Avoid getting any excess water along the sides of the keys, for the moisture will expand the wood.
A thorough check of the action regulation components should be done every 2-3 years. The piano has many moving parts manufactured with wood, felt, and buckskin. Over time, these will change and require adjustments. A qualified piano technician will be able to adjust the action parts to make the action feel consistent once again.