You should tune your piano regularly for the best results. The more constant you keep the room’s humidity and temperature, the longer your piano stays in tune. I can advise you about humidity control, even installing special devices if required. I can recommend you book tunings on a regular calendar basis. Ask me about setting up a regular tuning appointment. New Pianos or newly restrung pianos should be tuned up to 3 or 4 times in the first year. Afterwards, most pianos settle in and should then be tuned twice annually. Performance or recording pianos will need to be tuned more regularly.
Never leave tea or coffee on the piano. You should keep all liquids away, as juice, carbonated drinks, and even water spilled onto a piano can cause warping or other damage. Remember, only a professional should ever clean the inside of a piano, but you can remove dirt with the careful use of a vacuum cleaner. The bass strings should never be touched. Even a tiny amount of grease and dirt from your fingers can cause corrosion, which could make the bass strings buzz or lose their brightness and power.
You should always leave the fallboard open to allow the air to circulate freely around the keys. The keys must only be ever cleaned by using a soft, damp cloth. Only use water or if the keys are very dirty, an approved piano cleaner. You should never spray liquids directly onto the keyboard.
The exterior of the piano should be dusted with a soft duster, and if necessary may be wiped with a damp cloth and carefully dried. Older pianos may be french polished and therefore require greater care, using a polish reviver applied with a clean soft cloth and again polished with a soft duster.
Pianos are damaged by extreme heat as well as extreme cold. Ideally, a piano is kept in a room in which the temperature is normal and constant (68° F). The temperature should not be allowed to fall below 45° F and should not exceed 90° F.
Ideally pianos should be kept in a room of constant humidity of between 40-50%, the approximate humidity in the south of the UK during the summer months. In the winter months, when the central heating is switched on during the day, the humidity can drop as low as 20%, rise again during the night when the heating if switched off, then fall again in the morning like a seesaw, causing damage to the soundboard and the wrest plank which keeps the tuning pins tight and therefore in tune. You must never position your piano near a radiator or heat source.
Extremes of humidity and large changes in humidity or temperature are extremely harmful to pianos. You can place a container filled with water inside the piano, or use special Hydrocell units placed at relevant points inside the piano. An original Hydroceel or a full Damp Chaser system may be more expensive, but do a better job of tackling extremes of humidity and dryness. For less than £40 you can monitor your piano room’s humidity with a hygrometer, search on the internet for “dial humidity gauge” or “hygrometer”.
Position your piano away from windows, as direct sunlight will harm the piano’s finish, or even cause warping or cracking of the wood.