“We shouldn’t place the piano on an outside wall” – how accurate is this statement? Let’s find out since there is a lot of misconception about this issue which is baffling people over and over again.
Can A Piano Be Placed On An Outside Wall?
Yes, you can place the piano on an outside wall.
However, there are a few conditions. Before we talk about them, you need to understand why people were advised not to put a piano against an outside wall.
Remember that the piano is not a new-generation instrument. It is over 300 years old. It is not a distant past but this time duration is more than enough to create confusion among people when it comes to its placement. It was that time when we had no air conditioners and didn’t have good insulation in the walls either. Plus, the heat used to come from the wood-burning stove.
The conditions were different.
In that time, or just a few decades back, it was correct to say that one shouldn’t place the piano on an outside wall.
Because the warm air is the enemy of the piano. It doesn’t matter where it is coming from. It can be direct sunlight or heat from the stove; the issue is it can dry out your piano and cause damage. Therefore, it was advised not to place this instrument anywhere near any heating source.
An outside wall is also a great heating source. It receives direct sunlight all day, every day. This is where your home will be its warmest.
The Side Effects
The real question – what are the side effects of placing the piano on an outside wall?
- Loss of Tuning: The first one is the loss of tuning. When the piano receives the change in the humidity constantly, it goes out of tune. Though this is a gradual process, you start feeling it when you play this instrument. There is a gradual loss of tension in its springs. We all know it is important to have periodic tuning if we want our pianos to work well, but the heat makes it go out of tune faster. Experts recommend two to four tunings per year, but if you are doing more than that, it is time to change the placement of your piano since that might affecting the tuning retention.
- Swelling of Wood: The body of a piano is a beautiful piece of artwork. This is the first thing that attracts us and compels us to appreciate its creation. There is some mesmerizing thing about it which we can’t avoid. But when the wood expands and shrinks due to moisture, it loses all its charm. The swelling of the wood or the shrinking of the wood also happens due to the change in the humidity level. Particularly, in the summertime, the humidity causes the wood to take on the more deadly moisture. It doesn’t only cause the wood to change its shape but also makes the keys to stick. If you are dealing with the sticking keys issues, there is a high chance the wood inside your piano is expanding or shrinking due to humidity.
- Mechanical Failures: Humidity or exposure to intense heat will cause some mechanical failures also. For example, you will start noticing some rattling or buzzing sounds – not just with one key, but with all the keys. It reveals that the moisture or the humidity has wreaked havoc on its structure and it is time to contact the technician immediately to resolve the issue. Second, the group of notes will start having issues. One (or more than one key) will fail to sound a note. This can be a hammer issue too, which can be maintained rather easily but if the issue is growing and the technician is working with the metal mechanism inside, it means it is most probably the humidity issue, and it will bring back the same issue again.
- High Restoration Cost: No one wants to restore or rebuild their favorite piano. It costs a lot. You can probably do that once but not again and again. If your piano is taking more money out of your pockets, it is time to either change it or change the placement to check out whether humidity is the concern. The cost of restoration or rebuilt can cost between $3,000 to $9,000, depending on the model. The technician will repair or add different things like pin blocks, soundboard, bridge, keys, etc to restore it. If it is just tuning, it isn’t economical either. The average rate of tuning is between $220 and $300.
These are some side effects which you can face if you place your piano on an outside wall.
It is not necessary you’d deal with them especially if your home is built in the last 10 to 15 years. Because now generally the windows are thicker and the insulation is better.
You won’t deal with these kinds of issues.
The Best Place To Put The Piano
Lastly, what’s the best place to put the piano at home?
You can place it anywhere that doesn’t receive direct sunlight. The direct sunlight exposure won’t just cause a mechanical issue but it is also bad for the finish of the piano, especially pianos that have wood finishes .
Some people think that placing the piano near any inside wall is the only good option. They are right but the thing they forget is there shouldn’t be any exterior door with high traffic either.
The constant flow of traffic will blast your piano with air time and time again and it will keep on facing the change in temperature. The fluctuation of temperature also causes slight changes in the soundboard. Besides, the strings are also much more susceptible to these changes.
In our opinion, it doesn’t matter where you are placing the piano. Just ensure there isn’t anything that can cause significant temperature change.
If you care for it, you will find your piano to last for many, many decades.