The whole set of piano strings tighten up in the summer when wood that controls the tuning swells with higher relative humidity. Then, they loosen in the winter when the soundboard wood shrinks. Meanwhile, individual notes are varying in comparison to one another, causing an out of tune sound.
These piano humidity control and climate control factors are root causes of why pianos require tuning and why atmospheric conditions and humidity matter to your piano.
The swelling and shrinking over time causes damage, cracks, warping, parts distortion and failed glue joints. When you add in rusting, bursting case parts, mildew, or insect and rodent infestation, challenges arise for piano technicians and piano owners.
The modern way to maintain pianos includes having a piano humidity control system built into the piano. The combination dehumidifier-and-humidifier is a mainstream part of the piano service industry. In fact, the Dampp-Chaser system has been around for some 40 years.
I am still directly involved with the manufacturer of the piano climate control system, having been awarded Certificates of Merit in Recognition of Outstanding Performance in 1991 and 1993. Piano humidity control systems are proven to be effective and are favoured by piano technician professionals at the highest level. They allow for a degree of control that leads in time to a much higher level of service for the instrument.
Piano builders speak highly of the system. A Who’s Who of manufacturers have given favourable written endorsements of the Dampp-Chaser system, including: Baldwin, Bechstein, Blüthner, Bösendorfer, Fazioli, Hailun, Kawai, Pearl River, Petrof, Sauter, Schimmel, Seiler, Steingraeber, Steinway & Sons, Yamaha, and Young Chang.
Rebuilders the world over preserve their piano restoration efforts by adding a climate control installation. The rebuilt piano is protected. The quality of the work is preserved.