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climate control for a stage piano storage room/box

  • 1.  climate control for a stage piano storage room/box

    Posted 04-10-2018 16:57
    What options are there for controlling humidity inside a piano storage box? Piano is used in a small symphony and spends most of its time in a storage box just off the stage. A Piano Life Saver system is an option, but I was thinking it might be easier to control the climate inside the box since it is there most of the time. Currently, the only option to plug in a PLS system when on stage is to use an extension cord. However, they are considering the option to run an outlet box to the floor where the piano would be.

    Any info is appreciated.


    John Formsma, RPT
    New Albany MS

  • 2.  RE: climate control for a stage piano storage room/box

    Posted 04-10-2018 17:20
    Hi John:
    You can use the Musicsorb dessicant. I think Dave McKibbon is the dealer. No need to add anything, just keep the bag(s) in the box with the piano. Sealed as much as possible of course. It will keep an approximate 45% humidity level if kept in a sealed space. No power required.
    Paul McCloud
    San DIego

  • 3.  RE: climate control for a stage piano storage room/box

    Posted 04-11-2018 09:55
    There are some past articles about garages but you need to assess what the climate will be year round in and around the piano. I suggest putting a data logger in the piano and running it for a minimum of two weeks 24 hours a day. Depending on the time of year and the hvac situation you could see some radical seasonal swings like I do here. Churches and schools like to "save" on the electric bill. During non occupied hours there is often minimum ac or heat. The garage may then become a hot box or a cold freezer. I am not certain how you can control the climate in the garage but at least having a dampp chaser plugged into a wired outlet connected to the garage by a qualified electrician may bring humidity control. If the piano lives in the garage there probably is no need to plug it in when on stage. An outlet under the piano is useful for plugging in a lamp and maybe the dc if piano is on stage for extended time. Installing an undercover is also a good idea to hide all of the hardware and reduce air currents. Putting a full DC system is recommended if you are getting rh indicators that are on the low side in colder months however someone needs to monitor the water level. A beeper can be put on the system but make sure the system does not run dry during a performance when it is plugged in... ask me how I know

    James Kelly
    Pawleys Island SC

  • 4.  RE: climate control for a stage piano storage room/box

    Posted 04-11-2018 13:47
    Seems to me your only prayer is to built a cocoon continuously around the piano; under cover, string cover, full damp chaser system and a marriage on the customer part to keep it plugged in and water in the tank. In spite of the fact I’ve done all this to a 6’ Yamaha in a church, I’m still tuning monthly.

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 5.  RE: climate control for a stage piano storage room/box

    Posted 04-11-2018 14:19
    I'd suggest MusicSorb. This would be the perfect situation for it. Maybe even a double application if it's a big piano. Two cassettes are usually used but four would probably be good. Here's what I've done on a couple concert grands and it's worked very well. Put black weather stripping around the rim so you create a sealed in area. It sounds weird I suppose but if it's the thinner kind and is black (assuming the piano is black) I don't think it would be noticed. With MusicSorb inside that cavity it works very well. With the cover over the piano and in that box it should protect the piano very well.

    "That Tuning Guy"
    Scott Kerns
    Tunic OnlyPure, TuneLab & Easy Piano Tuner user

  • 6.  RE: climate control for a stage piano storage room/box

    Posted 04-12-2018 09:19


    I installed a climate control system inside a storage box at a local university many years ago. It has worked very well over time for this Steinway D.

    First I lined the box with 5 mil plastic using a staple gun to seal it, top, inside doors and sides. I was thinking giant moisture shield. I placed four dehumidifiers low on the side walls and a double bucket humidifier about two feet off the floor on the most easily accessible side wall. I built a wooden barrier to protect the humidifiers and provide an inside connection to mount the buckets and mounting rods have moisture shields in place but not too close about 6 to 8 inches above the buckets. I cut a hole in the side wall for the warning light panel and the fill tube to exit. AC outlet is inside the box. We put the box along a wall of the building and ran electric into it for power supply. I also built a padded "chair rail" inside to protect everything when moving the piano in and out of the box. Depending on the ambient humidity on the stage we move the piano out of the box (sometimes it stays in the wings) up to 72 hours but usually 48 hours in advance of preparation for the concert. If the room is around 70/40 things go very smoothly which is a lot of the time in Spring and Fall.  

    We have 4 full seasons here and the piano has stored through the seasons without significant pitch drift. I sometimes let the pitch float in the summer but never above 442. The rest of the year it's always at 440. The stage manager has charge of filling and supervising the moving and after all these years (knock on wood) no tragedy has occurred. We use a piano transporter for the moving and it stays in the box under the piano ready to go. We remove it on stage. So no wires, no beautiful piano trucks. The stage manager and I worked to train the crew to remove and replace the transporter correctly and it was worth it. The cabinet is remarkably unscathed after 20 years. The only real damage came as the result of a stage light falling from the mounting bar above the piano. Fortunately damage was confined to the front piece of the lid and repair was done without much gnashing of teeth. We all learned a valuable lesson about leaving the padded cover on as much as possible. I'm not sure what the lighting technician learned but so far no more lights have fallen at this venue.

    Chris Solliday RPT


  • 7.  RE: climate control for a stage piano storage room/box

    Posted 04-16-2018 12:36
    I really appreciate all the responses!
    Chris, your suggestion is what I have recommended. This sounds like it would best match my client's situation.

    Again, thanks to all who responded.

    John Formsma, RPT
    New Albany MS