Caring for your Piano
Convenient, efficient and increasingly common in modern homes and extensions. As a piano tuner I come across it more and more often and only find out it is fitted by the way the piano I am tuning reacts to it. A tuning that only lasts a couple of months or maybe even weeks is surprisingly common in an underfloor heated room with an unprotected piano.
Let me explain. Whilst the design and construction of the piano has changed over the years, with different modern materials being used to give a more stable and reliable instrument, the piano still relies on a stable temperature and humidity in its immediate environment to remain in tune and to prevent the deterioration of its working parts.
Underfloor heating, by its very efficiency, makes for a very unhappy piano as it is able to transfer its heat directly into the bottom of an upright and across the whole underside of soundboard of a grand piano. This will result in a very unstable tuning and eventually damage to the timber used in the construction of the piano. Soundboard cranks are common. The pins will start to become loose and eventually other components within the action will also suffer.
So can I have a piano in a property with under floor heating? The answer is yes, but precautions should be taken to prevent as much exposure to sudden temperature changes as possible. The first sensible step would be to lay a heat mat under the piano. This reflects some of the heat back into the floor and helps to prevents heat build up in the piano. You might also consider the fitting of Damppchaser system which will help keep the humidity in the piano stable. It would also be wise to keep the use of the underfloor heat to a minimum in the room where the piano is kept.
However it is controlled you should always make your tuner aware of the heating system to allow them to help you get the most from your treasured instrument.