Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#640580 - 02/08/09 12:12 AM Radiant Heat and Pianos
Jerry Viviano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/07
Posts: 263
Loc: Cary, NC
I was reading the article "WHY PIANOS GO OUT OF TUN (FASTER THAN THEY SHOULD)" by Erni Juhn, RPT in the PTG PACE Tuning Examination Source Book. Near the end of the article he recounts a case where a piano owner claimed that her piano was stable for 4 years, then suddenly became unstable and neither she nor her normal tuner could figure out why. Ernie came in and asked if the piano had recently been moved from a different house and the answer we yes. He then found out that the current house had radiant heat, and that was the answer as to why the piano's stability took a nosedive. He didn't detail how much of the cause was the radiant heat, but my interpretation was that it was the main culprit.

Is radiant heat generally bad for piano stability? I had not heard this before.

Radiant heat is a form of heating where a heated liquid is pumped through tubes just under the floors of living spaces. The heat is transferred by radiation rather than conduction or convection. It does tend to heat objects sitting above it more than forced air heating does. For instance, it's common practice not to run the tubes under the location reserved for the frig. If that's the case, I guess it does make sense that it could be a no-no for pianos. But if it is, I'm surprised that I've never heard of this before.

If it is bad for pianos, is there a way to have a piano in a house with radiant heat? Perhaps a piece of shiny sheet metal under an upright would work, as shiny metal is used to reflect radiant heat. But what could be done with a grand? Shiny metal under the carpet?
_________________________
Jerry Viviano
V. I. Piano
PTG Associate Member

Top
(ad PTG 568) Grand Action Regulation in 37 Steps
Grand Action Regulation in 37 Steps
#640581 - 02/08/09 11:41 AM Re: Radiant Heat and Pianos
Robert Scott Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/03
Posts: 283
Loc: Minnesota
My guess is that radiant heat is just as uniform as forced air heat in most cases. What makes a difference is the fact that radiant heat has no chance to add moisture to the air, while a forced air system can have a humidifier on it. Even if a house has no humidifier, forced air circulates the air and humidity that arises naturally from everyday living, such as cooking, house plants, showers, cleaning, etc. With radiant heat, the humidity from daily life many not propagate to the "music room".

Robert Scott
Ypsilanti, Michigan
_________________________
Robert Scott
Hopkins, Minnesota
http://www.tunelab-world.com

Top
#640582 - 02/08/09 11:55 AM Re: Radiant Heat and Pianos
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
In a case like this, I always question whether the piano was actually "stable for a 4 full years" or whether it eventually just went out far enough for the client to finally be able to hear it and so, now, all of a sudden it "just went out." How often haven't we all heard this one? "It just all of a sudden went out?" No, I didn't. It has actually been going out all along but, finally became bad enough for your ear to just now, hear it....

The reason IMO, the pianos tuning took a nosedive was because it was moved from one home to another. One home with a certain RH to another with a different RH factor.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

Top
#640583 - 02/08/09 04:34 PM Re: Radiant Heat and Pianos
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
That's what I think too, FWIW. RPD
_________________________
MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
Piano-Tuner-Rebuilder/Musician www.actionpianoservice.com

Top
#640584 - 02/08/09 05:17 PM Re: Radiant Heat and Pianos
Jerry Viviano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/07
Posts: 263
Loc: Cary, NC
All,
I just found that there is another thread on this same topic from a little over a year ago. It's at http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=004322;p=0 .
There are a lot of opposing views presented in it. They can be broken down into two categories: 1) Why radiant heat should or shouldn't be bad for pianos from a theoretical standpoint. And 2) Experiences people have had with pianos and radiant heat. Unfortunately, for both categories, there are numerous views both for and against. So it's not very conclusive.
_________________________
Jerry Viviano
V. I. Piano
PTG Associate Member

Top
#640585 - 02/08/09 06:26 PM Re: Radiant Heat and Pianos
Les Koltvedt Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3195
Loc: Canton, MI
My question is how far out does a piano have to be to be considered "out of tune"... 0.5 cent, 5.0 cents? more than 10.0 cents? If a tuning forks frequency can change with just a few degrees, just how much can one expect a piano to stay "in tune" and for how long.

Is there (and I'm sure someone has researched it) data on this subject. Is there someone that has taken a piano in a controlled temp/RH environment and recorded info? just curious
_________________________
Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate

Top
#640586 - 02/08/09 08:37 PM Re: Radiant Heat and Pianos
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
No offense to anyone but, to me, I think it's silly to try and guess when we can hear it and when it considered out of tune and by what measurements or standards. There are far to many variances from one human ear to another.

What one person thinks sounds marvelous, the next might think, well, it's passable and the next might think it sounds terrible. That's why we hear every day after finding a piano that hasn't been tuned for 20 years "it sounds okay to me yet!"

In my, not so humble, opinion, ;\) to me, if and when, the piano is out of tune even less than half a beat, IF, to a well trained piano technician's ear it sounds a little out then, it's out of tune. \:D Doesn't matter what measurements are what.

If it is not on pitch well, then, technically, it is also out of tune IMO. I'm sure others might disagree with that one but, it doesn't matter. Sure, it can be in tune with itself and off from pitch however, were we to change the pitch, we would then also have to change everything else too which means, A/439 is not, A/440...

It changes very drastically with the environment and from state to state. Day to day, heat up, heat down. Heat blowing on the piano? Cold air blowing on it? Sun hits it? Open a window near it? A door opens up, some kid leaves it open.. All of it knocks it out quickly. Move it to an uneven floor? Moving it back and forth a lot, bumping into walls in colleges etc... To many factors involved to say well, it will stay in tune for x amount of time. BANG on it and it'll change.

That's why we tune before, during and after each concert. Within a couple hour period, it'll drift. Hot lights above? Hard piano playing for a long time? The list is almost endless.

Dampp Chaser has taken controlled stats of pianos with and without their systems on it. I don't recall where the evidence is located, perhaps on the Dampp Chaser website?

So, how long will it stay in tune? Not very... To a well trained ear.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

Top
#640587 - 02/08/09 08:47 PM Re: Radiant Heat and Pianos
Keith Roberts Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 1984
Loc: Murphys, Ca
Radient heat is more stable than forced air. It uses the thermal mass of the concrete to keep the temperature uniform. If you live in a humid area in winter, forced air dries out the air but radient won't. There is not much air circulation with radient so miniclimates could become a factor. Air circulation is the mixer for the humidity in the air.

She says: "The piano was stable for 4 years." Translation: "I haven't had it tuned in 4 years and it sounded ok to me." It was just sitting on the edge of a cliff ready to go.
_________________________
Keith Roberts
Associate, PTG
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca

Top
#640588 - 02/08/09 09:07 PM Re: Radiant Heat and Pianos
nhpianos Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/07
Posts: 99
Loc: NH/US
 Quote:
Originally posted by Keith Roberts:
Radient heat is more stable than forced air. It uses the thermal mass of the concrete to keep the temperature uniform. If you live in a humid area in winter, forced air dries out the air but radient won't. There is not much air circulation with radient so miniclimates could become a factor. Air circulation is the mixer for the humidity in the air. [/b]
I had always understood there to be a definite and predictable relationship between air temp and RH. IOW, when you bring cold, outside air in and heat it, the RH drops, being relative to the temperature of the air mass. Is this somehow not true with radiant heat?

The few pianos that I have encountered in radiantly heated spaces seem to do poorly, but these spaces were (IMO) overheated, so I couldn't make any definite judgement.
_________________________
Mark Dierauf, RPT
NH Pianos
Piano technician & rebuilder since 1978
www.nhpianos.com

Top
#640589 - 02/09/09 12:35 PM Re: Radiant Heat and Pianos
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3200
Loc: Virginia, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by nhpianos:
I had always understood there to be a definite and predictable relationship between air temp and RH. IOW, when you bring cold, outside air in and heat it, the RH drops, being relative to the temperature of the air mass. Is this somehow not true with radiant heat?

[/b]
Certainly that is true with radiant heat. A psychrometric chart is a good visual way to understand it.

However that assumes no additional moisture added or subtracted. This is area where the systems might differ. If a furnace is drawing combustion air from the space, then it is being continuously replaced by outside air at colder temperatures. When that outside air warms up, it will have a low RH, and mixed with your inside air will bring down the overall RH.

Either radiant or forced air may have a furnace, and either may draw combustion air from the space or from outside. (You can see this if you have a fireplace, which draws all the combustion air from the house, and sends it up the chimney. You feel warm in front of the fire by radiant heat, the rest of the house becomes ice cold.)

The rest of the fresh air that enters does so by infiltration - coming through the leaks in the walls, windows, roof, floor, etc. The pressure changes caused by pumping heated air into the space and withdrawing "return" air might make that worse. But also houses vary greatly in how tight they are due to construction practices. You could easily have a tight radiant house and a loose forced air, or vice versa.

It is true that forced air is far easier to add a humidifier to. I've never liked this, as control is difficult in the average system, but it can work.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#640590 - 02/10/09 11:36 AM Re: Radiant Heat and Pianos
Thomson Lawrie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 283
Loc: Grimsby ON Canada
Everyone is making the assumption that the piano hadn't been tuned for 4 years but that's not the way I read it. Ernie Juhn knows his stuff. I don't think he would have made that observation if the owner hadn't been tuning the piano regularly.

In my experience, grand pianos do very poorly with radiant heat. It collects under the sound board. If a customer put a piano on top of a heating rad we would be all over them about the placement of the piano. With radiant heat the whole floor is a heating source. If you live in an area that doesn't experience much cold weather then it may be OK but here in the great lakes area it's a problem.
_________________________
Piano Technician
www.pianotech.ca
Piano tuners make the world a better place, one string at a time.

Top
#640591 - 02/10/09 07:39 PM Re: Radiant Heat and Pianos
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
There are surely more threads on this topic, I remember seeing a few...
In my experience, anyone putting a piano on that kind of a floor is asking for trouble. Tuning instability is just the start of it. The next phase can be soundboard and tuning pin torque issues, etc.

You can debate whether it is possible or not until the cows come home, what counts is what is actually happening.

Note: I am not saying bad things "will" happen, I am saying they "may" happen. Just don't be surprised...
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

Top
#640592 - 02/10/09 08:35 PM Re: Radiant Heat and Pianos
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3867
In my experience, forced air with a good furnace humidifier beats radiant heat 10 fold. Radiant heat does make a piano very unstable. There will be a measurable change in pitch from winter to summer.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






Top
#640593 - 02/10/09 08:39 PM Re: Radiant Heat and Pianos
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
Radiant heat can be bad for pianos. One of my customer newer Baldwin upright developed a crack in the soundboard. I installed a Dampp-Chaser system and the crack closed up. You have to remember you have a constant 90-100 degree heat source and the piano is sitting on it. You are bound to have tuning problems and other issues like crack bridges, soundboard etc. I would always recommend a Dampp-Chaser system in these cases.
_________________________
Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

Top

Moderator:  Piano World 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
ad (Casio)
Celviano by Casio Rebate
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
New Topics - Multiple Forums
I can only Trill well on good grand pianos....
by Paul678
09/22/14 11:48 PM
Is Bondfix just as good as Hotstuff CA glue?
by Paul678
09/22/14 10:42 PM
What's up with Paulello?
by jim ialeggio
09/22/14 10:13 PM
Kawai RX-2 and RX-2 BLAK
by myip
09/22/14 08:15 PM
UVi Grand Piano, cant get the MIDI Files help?
by JungleJim
09/22/14 06:23 PM
Who's Online
82 registered (ando, Adypiano, AEMontoya, 23 invisible), 975 Guests and 15 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76290 Members
42 Forums
157700 Topics
2316395 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission