Have you been watering your piano lately?


The idea of watering a piano may seem like the punchline of a joke. One has the mental image of someone stepping up to the stately instrument, watering can in hand and drenching its keys with water. However, as any serious piano owner will tell you, pianos do need a little bit of moisture in their environment to keep their tone and their tuning. This is where your cool mist humidifier becomes a lifesaver.


A piano is one of the most expensive musical instruments. While your piano is unlikely to match the $400,000 price tag of the Fazioli Brunei piano, a work of art created by the world's finest authorities on wood and acoustics, you would still want it to last a lifetime. The best way to extend the natural life of your instrument is to protect the integrity of its wood.


As any carpenter will tell you, the presence or absence of moisture affects wood. A dry atmosphere will cause an object made of wood to shrink. Alternately, too much moisture may cause a wooden object to swell. In regular furniture, the effect might be minimal, but in a finely tuned musical instrument such as a piano, the slightest fluctuations in humidity can change the shape of its soundboard as well as the tension of its strings. This, in turn, would alter its tuning, tone and performance. The best strategy towards preventing any future calamities would be to control the piano's environment.


Experts suggest that you should aim for a humidity level somewhere between 45 and 60 percent in your piano room. To create an ideal environment, you would need to set up a humidifier and a de-humidifier. It is also necessary to install a hygrometer to measure fluctuations in humidity levels. Another recommendation is the adoption of some strategy to limit the occurrence of mold. Ultrasonic humidifiers can leave a white residue and hot mist humidifiers are expensive in terms of energy consumption, making a cool mist humidifier the sensible choice for most piano owners.