Your piano is an investment, so take good care of it! Pianos go out of tune for many reasons, but humidity is the main culprit. Pianos are mostly made of wood, which expands and contracts as the weather and humidity changes. Not only does this affect the sound of your piano, but the wood itself can become weakened over time. There are thousands of moving parts inside your piano, each finely tuned and adjusted, and they can become damaged by humidity fluctuations, too.
Dampp-Chaser Piano Life Save System to the rescue!
What is the Dampp-Chaser Piano Life Saver System?
Maintaining a consistent level of humidity inside your piano extends its life. If you live in a climate where the weather forecast is all over the place (we do!) this is a constant battle. If you live where it's always humid or always dry, your piano's interior humidity may be higher or lower than the ideal.
That's where Dampp-Chaser comes in. Instead of running whole-house humidifiers/dehumidifiers to keep your home at a constant 45% humidity, Dampp-Chaser creates a micro-climate inside your piano.
Humidity control matters because the thousands of intricate wood, felt, and steel parts of your piano are carefully calibrated and customized for your unique instrument and home environment. That's what piano tuners do! High humidity causes the wood to absorb the moisture and swell, then shrink when the humidity is lower. This means string tension is changed, the soundboard is stressed, glue can lose its integrity, and more. Hammers are made of wool felt, which also wicks moisture out of the air. Imagine striking the strings with a soggy hammer! The steel and copper parts inside the piano can rust and corrode over time, too.
All of these things negatively wear on your piano, resulting in sticky keys, noisy actions, more frequent tunings, potentially expensive repairs, and an overall reduced lifespan.
Sure, you could set up a portable room humidifier/dehumidifier, but they are noisy, unsightly, and can be costly. The Dampp-Chaser system is quiet and discreet.
How does Dampp-Chaser work?
Your certified Dampp-Chaser tech installs the system inside or on the underside of your piano and plugs it into the wall. The device's electronic humidistat monitors the humidity of the air inside/under your piano, and kicks on if it detects a humidity higher or lower than 45%. The Dampp-Chaser system includes both a humidifier and a dehumidifier: the pads inside the water tank wick water to the humidifier to add moisture while the dehumidifier blows dry air through the piano to clear it away. Best of all, it's smart enough to know the difference.
Dampp-Chaser in upright pianos
Upright pianos have a convenient panel that covers up the action and there's enough room in there for a Dampp-Chaser system. You will never see it unless you know where to look!
Dampp-Chaser in grand pianos
For grand pianos, the system is installed near the tail of the instrument. Its placement is out of the way and has a low profile, so it's unlikely that it would be accidentally kicked or bumped.
All Dampp-Chaser Life Saver Systems have a 3-light LED panel that indicates the status of the water, pads, and power. Not sure what the lights mean? We do! Check out our blog post about indicator lights.
How can I get Dampp Chaser?
Since Dampp-Chaser systems are carefully calibrated and must be professionally installed, you will need to hire a certified installer or technician. Check with your local piano technician to find out if they are certified or search Dampp-Chaser's comprehensive list of installers. In Tune Piano Supply recommends Everett Piano Services for our local customers in Southeastern Wisconsin.
Dampp-Chaser systems have different pricing levels depending on the size and type of your piano. Installation on a small upright piano can be as low as $550 and a concert-level grand exceeds $750. Trust us, it's worth it.
What supplies do I need for my Dampp-Chaser system?
Dampp-Chaser Piano Life Saver Systems primarily need five accessories: pads, pad treatment, water tank liners, a special watering can, and clean sleeves for the humidifier. You can buy these tools and other replacement parts from your local certified piano technician, Dampp-Chaser's official website, or here at In Tune Piano Supply. We are a certified retailer and stock the full line of products.
Learn more about using the accessories and supplies in our comprehensive blog post here.
Where can I learn more about Dampp Chaser?
This post is part of our Dampp-Chaser blog series. Read more about this system at the official Dampp-Chaser website or our blog posts below:
We cannot recommend Dampp-Chaser highly enough! One of the owners here at In Tune Piano Supply is a certified technician and installer, so feel free to ask us questions.
all photos courtesy pianolifesaver.com