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It’s impossible to talk about pianos, piano tuning, and piano care without talking about humidity.
A first step in understanding how humidity is affecting the piano, is knowing what the humidity is in the home or room where the piano is located.
If you can find one, this is the hygrometer I recommend: Taylor 5565 Hygrometer/Thermometer. I’ve learned that this particular model has been discontinued, but there are others out there. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see the two small adjustment screws on the back. Here’s another one that might work. But please give them a call first to make sure it can be calibrated!! Sper Scientific 736920C Dial Hygrometer/Thermometer
I can’t stress how important it is to purchase a Hygrometer that can be calibrated! Calibration can easily be done using a simple sling psychrometer. If you’d rather just purchase a sling Psychometer, this is the one I have: Bacharach Sling Psychrometer. Problem is that whenever you want to check the humidity in your home, or in any other location, with the sling, you only get that one spot reading. You won’t be able to just walk by and look at it to know what the humidity is. But if you already have a couple digital hygrometers, you can use the sling psychrometer to see how accurate they are . . . . or aren’t!
I’m sure there are accurate digital hygrometers out there. Most HVAC technicians carry one that costs about $400, and of course, and it checks out just fine.
Some digital hygrometers can be reasonably accurate in the midrange, maybe. But their accuracy often falls off dramatically in both extremes of dryness and wetness. An inaccurate hygrometer is of no help and can be very misleading when trying to get an idea as to the humidity in your home and around the piano.
Humidity is a huge factor in human comfort as well! If you are getting shocked when you touch a lamp, or pet your cat, or kiss your spouse, it’s too dry in your house! Adding a little humidity will make your home more comfortable and will help keep the piano in better shape and tune as well. A little attention to the humidity in your home can make a big difference in your comfort level.