Pianos need to be cared for more gently than any other furnishings, says a 40+ year old Residential Cleaning Service in Evanston, Il. Mistreatment can damage or change the sound of these intricate, finely crafted instruments. For optimum acoustics, a piano should be placed in a large room with high ceilings. The more space and the less furniture that surround a piano, the better it will sound. Beyond acoustical considerations, there are several other steps you can take to prolong the life of the instrument and keep it in top condition. These suggestions are found in Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook and are as follows:
* Place the piano near an inside wall( one that adjoins with another room, rather than the outside of the house), away from any heating or cooling sources. Also, keep pianos away from drafty windows and direct sunlight, both of which can ruin the finish and lead to severe damage both inside and out.
* Extreme fluctuations in relative humidity are also harmful, since they can affect both tone and pitch. In the winter, warm air can dry out the piano's soundboard, causing the piano to go flat. In the summer, moist air can cause the soundboard to expand, causing the piano to go sharp. Moisture can also cause the strings to rust. The ideal environment for a piano is a room where relative humidity is about 50%. A hygrometer, a small gauge available at hardware stores, will allow you to accurately monitor a room's humidity level. The ideal temperature is between 68 and 75 degrees.
* Have your piano maintained and tuned by a professional, even it it is rarely played. Pianos usually require tuning twice per year- less often if they are brand new or in constant use. It may be tempting to let an unused piano go for longer between tunings, but doing so may cause strings to sag and lose their pitch.
* Keep the lid of your piano closed when not in use, in order to prevent dust from accumulating and becoming lodged between keys. If your piano is older and has ivory keys, leaving the lid open occasionally may slow the yellowing of the keys, says a 40+ year old Residential Cleaning Service in Evanston, Il.