Just like a car, in order to keep your acoustic piano in tip top condition, regular tuning and other maintenance procedures are required.
Your acoustic piano should be regarded as an instrument as well as a fine piece of furniture. Therefore care should be taken to keep drinks off wood surfaces, as well as the occasional cleaning or dusting with a soft damp cloth. Check out our piano care section for more information about keeping your piano clean.
Pianos go out of tune due to a combination of many reasons; however the primary reason is due to changes in humidity which alter the shape and strength of the wood used to make the soundboard and thus altering the tension between the tuning pegs and strings. Extreme changes from hot to cold and wet to dry climates can cause damage to various parts of your piano which can lead to cracked or warped soundboards, weakened glue joints and rust on the strings, tuning pegs and other metal parts of your piano.
Other reasons include simply playing the piano, having the piano moved or vastly differing climates in the area that you live in. Piano tuners recommend a tuning once every 6 months to keep the piano in optimal condition. The longer a piano stays out of tune, the more time and effort it will take for a technician to properly re-tune it. A regular tuning will usually cost around $150 dollars (more for grand pianos) which adds up to around $300 a year for tunings alone. Multiply that by the lifetime of the piano and you’ve got a hefty bill on your hands!
Overtime, the felt on the hammers of acoustic pianos will harden from their previously soft and supple state. A harder hammer gives a brighter sound to it, much like a honky-tonk piano from Old Western films and ultimately become harsh and undesirable. Left to extremes, imprints of where the strings have continuously hit the hammer will appear. If this is un-addressed for long enough the whole hammer may need to be replaced.
To get the longest life out of your piano, make sure to carefully maintain all parts and keep a watchful eye on conditions and parts.