Caring For Your Steinway
The ABC of Proper Care
The ABC of Proper Care
A piano is largely made of wood and felt which, as natural materials, react to changes in temperature and humidity. It is important to keep the piano at a constant temperature and humidity level. In the short term, this will keep the tuning and regulation stable and in the longer term will avoid more serious problems such as cracks in the soundboard. The ideal conditions are a constant temperature of 20°C and humidity between 45% and 70%. Large swings in humidity should be avoided and it is advisable to purchase a thermometer and hygrometer to monitor conditions. If humidity needs to be controlled artificially we recommend using a humidifier or dehumidifier to regulate the humidity of the room rather than localising it in the piano with a climate control system.
The piano should not be placed close to a window, an outside door, a radiator or other heating source. As a general rule if the piano feels warm to the touch from any heating source (including direct sunlight) it should be moved. To avoid damage to wooden floors castor cups can be placed under the wheels. These are available from Steinway Hall, or from your local piano dealer.
Underfloor heating is becoming more common, especially in newer houses. Provided the temperature and humidity are correctly regulated, this need not cause any problems. As with all heating sources, care must be taken to ensure that the ambient temperature is kept as close to 20°C as possible and the piano should not become warm to the touch. Specialist carpet is available to place under the piano. Please contact Steinway Hall or your local piano dealer for further details.
As your Steinway piano is a valuable investment, we recommend that you keep it adequately insured. Our advice is to insure the piano for at least 70% of the replacement value with new and to update the policy annually. Details of current prices can be obtained from Steinway Hall.
TUNING, REGULATION AND VOICING
Tuning should be carried out by an experienced tuner or technician. We recommend frequent tuning during the first year, as the strings and tuning pins settle. Afterwards, your piano should be tuned at least twice a year, and if being used professionally, we recommend tuning three or four times a year. It is important that the pitch is kept consistently at A-440 as changes in pitch can cause the tuning to become unstable. In addition to regular tuning, the action and keys should be serviced regularly. We recommend servicing the piano after one year of use as the moving parts bed in. After that, the piano should be serviced once every three to five years for average use. Pianos used professionally or in performance venues are normally serviced annually. Further information of what is involved in servicing is in the servicing page of the website.
Steinway pianos are built by skilled craftsmen and are designed to last for generations. When parts do need replacing, however, it is essential that only original genuine Steinway parts are used, and are fitted by an experienced Steinway trained technician.
Remember the high value of your Steinway and only allow specialist carriers to transport your piano. Make sure that you have adequate insurance coverage.
When not in use, you should ensure that the top of your piano is closed, to prevent dust from collecting inside. Periodically, the inside of the instrument should be cleaned by a trained piano technician and is best included as part of regular servicing. The finish of your piano should be wiped with a soft, dry piece of cloth or a slightly moistened leather cloth. We strongly advise you not to use furniture polish as it contains waxes and in some cases, silicone. The keys should be cleaned with a slightly moistened, natural leather cloth. Make sure that no moisture trickles down the sides of the keys.
Relating to grand pianos with double wheel casters and brakes:
The casters allow easy movement and positioning of the grand piano. There is, however, a risk that the grand piano may move of its own accord if its casters are not locked by the brakes.
In the event of uncontrolled movement, people may be injured or property damaged. It is therefore important to lock the casters of the grand piano using the brakes as soon as the instrument is in position, particularly after being transported.