While there are many reasons pianos go out of tune -- underuse, overuse, age, moving, and more -- the main reason is humidity fluctuations. There are thousands of wooden parts inside every piano, each carefully calibrated and tuned to your instrument's exact specifications. When the wood expands and contracts, it changes the sound and damages the mechanism. The felt and steel components are subject to weather and time, too, but the Dampp-Chaser Piano Life Saver System helps regulate your piano's interior climate.
Overview of the Dampp-Chaser Piano Life Saver System
Whether you live in a dry desert climate, a moist tropical environment, or a temperate climate that swings from one to the other, your piano's interior humidity must remain at a constant 45% for optimal lifespan.
The wood parts of the piano expand when they absorb moisture from the air, then shrink when the humidity decreases, causing the string tension to shift, glue to lose its integrity, and the soundboard to be stressed. Wool felt hammers absorb moisture and can lose shape, altering the sound of the instrument. Steel and copper components can become rusty.
At best, the result is a rattling piano action and sticky keys. Larger problems like a damaged soundboard, broken strings, and other expensive repairs can result from poor internal climate.
A humidifier or dehumidifier for your home can help, but this can be costly, noisy, or too bulky. Portable room humidifiers/dehumidifiers are unsightly, and whole-house systems may be more than you need.
How Dampp-Chaser works
Your technician will install the system to the inside or underside of your piano and plug it into the wall. The electronic humidistat analyzes the level of humidity in the immediate area and turns on if it detects ambient humidity higher or lower than 45%. The humidifier component of the system uses a water tank and pads to wick water to a heater while the dehumidifier part blows dry air inside the piano.
Dampp-Chaser in upright pianos
The wood panel of your upright piano conceals the entire Dampp-Chaser system.
Dampp-Chaser in grand pianos
Dampp-Chaser systems are discreetly installed on the underside of a grand piano's tail.
All Dampp-Chaser Life Saver Systems have a 3-light LED panel that indicates the status of the water, pads, and power.
All Dampp-Chaser systems must be installed by a certified piano technician. I am a certified Dampp-Chaser installer and vendor serving the Southeastern Wisconsin area. Please contact me to make an appointment or for inquiries.
How to maintain Dampp-Chaser Piano Life Saver System
For regular upkeep, you will need pads, pad treatment, a special watering can, tank liners, and clean sleeves to keep your Dampp-Chaser system in working order. I am a certified retailer and all Dampp-Chaser products are available for purchase here on my site. Shop Dampp-Chaser products here.
For more information, see the official Dampp-Chaser website at pianolifesaver.com or contact me with any questions.
all photos courtesy pianolifesaver.com