(The following information is taken from the Dampp-Chaser Corporation materials.)
Richmond Piano is pleased to sell and install Dampp-Chaser Humidity Control Systems for your upright or grand piano. Since 1947 Dampp-Chaser Corporation has provided the best technology available to protect pianos from the damaging effects of environmental changes. Dampp-Chaser Climate Controlled Systems are installed out of sight. As a pianist, the only difference you will notice is greater tuning stability. Major piano manufacturers agree on the benefits:
The best way to preserve the value of fine grands and uprights is to automatically regulate the relative humidity right within the instrument . . . with a System from Dampp-Chaser. Nikolas Schimmel/Schimmel Pianos
Why is humidity an issue?
Your piano is made primarily of wood. Just as doors and drawers become tight with high humidity, the keys of your piano may stick when humidity is high. In contrast, when your piano environment is too dry keys may seem to rattle when played. Additionally, the responsiveness of your piano keys, how the keys cause the wooden hammers to strike the piano strings known as the action is also affected by humidity. High moisture levels cause the action to become sluggish, so keys feel unresponsive to your touch.
What other damage is caused by fluctuating humidity?
Humidity can also damage your piano's soundboard and pinblock.
Bridge & Soundboard. The soundboard is the single largest piece of wood in your piano. It vibrates to amplify sound produced by the strings. The bridges of your piano are joined to the soundboard and support the strings. Permanent damage can be caused to the bridge and soundboard by environmental fluctuations.
In moist conditions, as the soundboard absorbs moisture from the air, it swells, producing an upward bulge. This bulge puts additional tension on the strings and causes the pitch to be too high in the lower mid-range and extreme treble strings.
In dry conditions the soundboard shrinks and flattens and the tension of the strings over the bridge is relaxed. The pitch of the mid-range and treble strings then goes flat. Over time, humidity fluctuations and shrinking and swelling damage the integrity of the soundboard. This damage becomes apparent in the form a crack in the soundboard.
Pinblock. Piano strings are held tightly in place by pins in the pinblock. When the pinblock absorbs moisture it swells, causing the wood fibers to be crushed against the pins. In dry conditions the wood shrinks away from the pins, causing the strings to loosen and sag. When these wet and dry conditions alternate over time the wood fibers in the pin holes lose their resilience and the wood can no longer provide the required snug fit to hold the pins in place.
Strings and pins. High humidity causes strings and pins to rust. Rusted strings wrapped around rusted pins can form a corrosive bond. Strings in this condition can snap when stretched during a tuning.
Dampp-Chaser Systems maintain your piano environment at the recommended 42% relative humidity, eliminating these destructive fluctuations.
How does a Dampp-Chaser work?
The system has three main components a Humidistat, a Dehumidifier, and a Humidifier - which work together in your piano to control humidity levels, regardless of external conditions. The Humidistat is a brain that senses moisture or dryness. The Dehumidifier carries moisture away and the Humidifier moisturizes dry wood when humidity levels drop. The System also comes with an easy-fill watering tube if additional water is needed.
How is a Dampp-Chaser installed?
Installation must be by a qualified piano technician who can position the system for optimal effectiveness and protection. Unless the system is install at the time of purchase, after-purchase installation is done easily at your home. The process takes approximately 3 to 4 hours.
Where is the Dampp-Chaser installed?
The System is installed out-of-sight, inside your piano. Installation has no effect on how your piano plays. The difference you will notice is improved tuing stability.