When it comes to keeping your piano safe, in tune and in fantastic condition, room humidity is a key component to consider. Generally speaking, almost everyone in the acoustic piano industry agrees that it’s not a good idea to keep a piano in a room that is actively damp.
If your instrument is kept in a room that gets damp or filled with moisture, the piano can become water damaged overtime. Excessive or fluctuating humidity can cause tuning pins, bridge pins and strings to rust and leave the response of the piano feeling sluggish with sticking keys, slow hammers and dampers and expanding felts.
There’s one key word in that sentence. Excessive.
Excessive changes are found in areas with dramatically changing climates, high humidity and moisture in the air. However if we’re being honest, unless you live in the Amazon rain forest, on the equator, or in an area with extreme weather, for most of us in the UK, room humidity usually isn’t a giant problem and is generally consistent throughout the year.
Of course, there are some exceptions to this - for example those who live on seafronts, however one increasingly common trend we have seen some piano retailers recommend is getting a Dampp Chaser system fitted to your piano before it reaches your home (often at an extra cost).
Today we wanted to explain our reasoning behind why you likely don’t need a Dampp Chaser or Piano Life Saver System and the things you should know if a piano retailer does recommend having one fitted.
What is a Dampp Chaser?
Dampp Chaser systems are a mechanical system that essentially act as dehumidifiers and heating systems for your acoustic piano, bringing in moisture and preventing it from seeping into the woods and mechanisms of your piano, then warming it to keep the piano at a constant temperature.
Whilst this sounds brilliant and something any piano lover would want, as we’ve mentioned, in order to actually feel or see any results from this system, your piano would either need to be located in: Kuala Lumpar, the Amazon rainforest or a house full of water - in which case that should be the least of your worries!
READ MORE: The importance of tuning your acoustic piano, or explore the best places to position your piano in your home.
Do I need a Dampp Chaser?
If you are debating whether or not you will need a Dampp Chaser, one way of looking at it is: “Do I want to put my piano through intrusive surgery?” or “Is the room affecting my piano’s playability?”, if the answer is a necessary yes, then perhaps a Dampp Chaser could be an option, however if the answer in any way is telling you no, speak to a trusted technician first.
Likewise, if a piano retailer is offering you a Dampp Chaser before the piano has even reached your home, or knows about the condition of the room it’s going in, that’s a big red flag. As mentioned, these systems are generally pretty pricey and unnecessary for many homes.
What is a better approach is to allow your piano to settle into the room it is living in and once fully settled (after around 6-8 weeks), call in your trusted piano tuner and ask them to perform a service on the instrument. They will be able to tell you almost instantly if your instrument needs a Dampp Chaser system, or if it perhaps just needs lightly moving or repositioning to prevent any external source impacts.
Want to speak to a piano technician to evaluate the room your piano is being kept in, or want to book a tuning or service? Contact our expert technicians today!