Your piano was a considerable investment and you are probably aware how much the humidity level fluctuations will damage and shorten its longevity! So, when your piano tuner recommends the addition of a Dampp Chaser system (also called Piano Life Saver) for your piano, the following facts will help you to make an informed decision.
Piano owners are also unanimous about this: since its installation, tuning is more stable and the piano sounds and plays better. The other good news is that their piano will last twice as long!
Why does the installation of the Dampp Chaser system require a professional piano technician?
The Dampp Chaser Corporation provides training and certification to help piano technicians evaluate the system’s relevance according to any given environment. Therefore, the company will not sell its products directly to the consumers who would prefer to install the device by themselves. This policy ensures that systems are properly installed based on the piano conditions, its location and specific requirements.
For these reasons, a professional installation is required for the five-year warranty coverage.
Of course, the ideal environment for a musical instrument would be a museum, with its perfectly controlled atmosphere! If your house is fitted with such a climatic control system, you actually don’t need a Piano Life Saver device. In fact, how many homeowners keep the air conditioning system working rigorously all summer long?
Benefits of keeping a constant humidity level in your piano
Few places on Earth naturally offer favourable conditions for pianos. Close to the sea, salty air and humidity cause much damage to wood-based instruments. Have you ever seen one of these pianos in Cuban hotels? On the other hand, the need for heating our homes during winter-time, due to the alternation of seasons under our Nordic climate, is as much problematic to piano care and maintenance.
Photo: Michael Eastman
The Piano Life Saver System is easy to maintain
Invisible for upright pianos, barely visible underneath the soundboard for grand pianos, the system is completely silent for all types of instruments. It has a panel with LED lights indicating that it has electrical power and blinking when a water refill is needed (about once a week during winter, less often during summer).
The exact amount of water and Pad Treatment is poured into the tank with an Universal Watering can (custom-made by Dampp-Chaser) by inserting the nozzle into the end of the watering tube. One capful of Pad Treatment added to the water inhibits the growth of moulds and excessive scale buildups.
But in any case, the system must remain constantly plugged into an electrical outlet unconnected to a light switch (although an occasional power interruption, for a few hours or days may not cause catastrophic effects).
Once a year, your technician will dismount the whole system for a thorough cleaning and inspection (cost: $45 if done along with a piano tuning).
Twice a year (according to the manufacturer’s recommendation), your piano technician must replace the humidifier pads and plastic sleeves, and, if needed, provide a replacement bottle of Pad Treatment.
The Piano Life Saver will save you money, time and hassle
The Dampp Chaser Corporation describes how its system outperforms and costs much less in electricity and trouble than any other humidifier/dehumidifier system for piano care and maintenance. Just think about the routine of filling or emptying gallons of water daily with home or portable systems, while a Dampp Chaser needs a quick refill weekly or every two weeks!
Finally, some add-ons for stabilizing your piano’s tuning
A tailor-made wool string cover will help create a microclimate for your piano’s soundboard and pinblock, without any contact on the strings and effect on the sound.
A less expensive alternative would be to spread a blanket over the piano between uses.
For your piano, how about a pretty custom-made cover like this one?
A Dampp Chaser underneath the piano and a string cover above it: both will envelop your instrument inside a protective cocoon and prevent it from damage and unstable tuning. Even if we like maintaining your piano, we’re happy for you when it stays in tune longer!