This winter has been brutal on the east coast, keeping furnaces running and and keeping the humidity inside your house low…terrible conditions for any piano.
High humidity can be an inconvenience, leading to sticking keys or a sluggish action, but high humidity rarely causes damage.
Low humidity, however, can seriously damage your piano, causing glue joints to fail and wood to split. Repeated cycles of high and low humidity, say over a number of seasons in New England is frequently a death sentence for soundboards and bridges.
The wood in a piano can adjust to a constant level of relative humidity which is why cracked soundboards are not that much of a problem in Arizona. The repeated cycling between very high and very low is what really hurts and is the biggest enemy to soundboards in particular.
What’s the solution? Adding humidity. This can be done with a room humidifier or the Piano Lifesaver System which mounts inside the piano. The real key is to know what you’ve got which means buying a couple of inexpensive hygrometers at your local hardware store and placing them in various spots around the piano and then watching them every day. As it approches 30%…get nervous and act!