It’s a question we hear so often: Will my self-playing piano be OK in my house with central heating …?
Before we answer this question, we need to clarify where this whole piano vs central heating debate has come from and what actually does and does not affect your custom piano when you adjust the heating in your home.
Highly complex instruments, Edelweiss self-playing pianos are predominantly made of wood, felt and metal. Wood, an entirely natural material, is affected by it’s environment and in particular by the relative humidity of the atmosphere in its immediate surroundings. If humidity is higher, wood will take on moisture and swell; if humidity drops, wood will dry out and shrink. Both these scenarios can seriously damage your custom made piano and the key parameter that needs monitoring is the relative humidity in your room, not the temperature!
The two are related though, as temperature affects how much moisture can exist as humidity in the air. Warmer air has the capacity to hold more moisture, hence why we can have hot, muggy days in the summer. Conversely, in the winter as temperatures drop so does the amount of water vapour that the air can hold. From a relative humidity angle, this means that our air is always drier in the winter months. Switching on our central heating exaggerates this dryness even further as whilst increasing the air’s capacity to hold water vapour, the moisture levels remain constant forcing relative humidity to drop even lower. This is where the concern as to your Edelweiss piano and central heating originates from – the fact that turning our heating on causes a drop in relative humidity in our homes.
So is this something you should be concerned about?
If you are consider purchasing, or have purchased an Edelweiss Self-Playing Piano, you will have been provided with a hygrometer to help you monitor relative humidity levels in your room. This level will fluctuate, but so long as it remains between 40 – 60% your custom piano should be unaffected. If you are monitoring this level and notice it stays below 40% or above 60% for prolonged periods of time (weeks) then we strongly recommend having our Climate Control System installed in your piano. This ‘rule of thumb’ will also apply to all new instruments purchased from similar premium piano manufacturers.
What about underfloor heating?
Underfloor heating is the worst possible heat source for an Edelweiss piano, as constantly circulates warm, dry air straight up into the piano! That’s not to say it is not possible to have a self-playing piano in a house with underfloor heating, you just need to be aware of the risks and take precautionary steps: at Edelweiss Pianos, for example, if we know your home has underfloor heating we will always install our Climate Control System to perfectly set your custom piano up and counter the affect of this heating source as much as possible
Can a wall radiator do any damage?
This may seem obvious, do not place your Edelweiss Piano directly against/next to a radiator unless it is turned off. Not only will the air cause your self-playing piano problems, the concentrated heat source will also damage the casework / polish on your piano.
Be Realistic & Be Aware
I guess at the end of the day we have to be realistic – our homes need heating to ensure we remain comfortable and relaxed and with contemporary building standards both in terms of your house and your Edelweiss Piano, it shouldn’t be any problem keeping a self-playing piano in your home. Having read this article you are now aware of the challenges that relative humidity can cause – all you need to do is keep an eye on your hygrometer, contact us for a climate control system if needed, and sit back enjoy your custom made piano form the comfort of your warm home!!