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What Happens If Your Piano Gets Wet?

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.This is a question that might have come into your mind when having an accident with a spilled glass of water or other liquids over your piano. Or maybe it’s a leaky roof, busted water heater, etc., or literally anything where liquids came in touch with your piano. The question then is can you just wipe it away or will it require professional help and simply: What happens if your piano gets wet?What happens if your piano gets wet

First of all, you need to know that whenever your piano is exposed to water or other liquids it can be heavily damaging. This actually does not only apply to water but any kind of change from its current state, like sudden changes in temperature or humidity, that are poison for piano and result in requiring lots of tuning sessions and piano action regulations to undo and reverse the effects of those impacts so you can play and enjoy your piano again.

If you just spilled a glass of water and wipe it away right away, you’ll probably have nothing to worry about. But you have to make sure that you cleaned every wet spot and it’s dry again.

But let’s assume there was water damage in your house and everything up to the level of the piano case or even higher is fully underwater. In this case, it is highly likely irreversibly damaged so that even restoration or replacements of specific parts won’t be able to undo what happened.

This has especially to do with the glue. Whenever the strings and action, the soundboard, and the case have been underwater, the glue, playing is an important part of the overall structure, gets weaker.

This applies most critically to the keybed and the rim, which are fundamental parts of a well-functioning piano. The glue will start to disintegrate when these are exposed to water. They cannot be repaired effectively anymore.

You need to know that all the strings are holding together a tension of a few tons of pressure. Once any liquid is disrupting this force, it heavily compromises the playability of the piano.

Even if you don’t see it immediately, it does not mean your piano is fine. When it comes to water damage it sometimes can take half a year or even longer until you see the effects of the damage. Even if everything dried out and seemed fine at first. This all applies to more severe cases.

But if the water is only a few inches high and has not been to the level of the case yet, it’s different. There still might be a chance to repair the piano. Keep in mind that moisture will always cause some kind of damage that can lead to things like contraction, expansion, or rest. So restoration is often times the only thing you can do for your best chances to get everything back to where it was before, back to a stable, safe, and working condition.

Click here to see one way to protect your piano.

What happens if your piano gets wet?

  • Due to the humidity and moisture, all the metal parts inside the piano can rust. This includes the action, pins, strings, etc., can form rust
  • Furthermore, glue joints of the soundboard can be affected and cause expansions and contractions. This can result in cracking of the wood.
  • Moisture can also lead to bacteria and mold throughout the entire case
  • But also the finish can always be damaged and impact the way it looks from the outside.

The above mentioned mostly applies to upright pianos as their case is closer to the ground. With grand pianos, you will have fewer problems. The only thing close to the ground is the legs and the pedal system. The latter should be your main concern in those cases.

A lot of mechanical action is going on there. You need to make sure that that part of your grand piano wasn’t affected by the water damage. If yes, you can try to get it replaced. The same applies to the legs. When it comes to digital pianos we are talking about electrical damage of course. Check your warranty in those cases.

Whatever happens, the sooner you take action the better your chances to fully restore your piano. If you are unsure about the potential damage, have a professional come in. They can evaluate your case and make your recommendations. It’s important to act fast in such cases!

You should also think about contacting your insurance agent regarding possible reimbursements.

So, don’t worry, not all is lost but at least now you know what happens if your piano gets wet.

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Eric Chang

Piano and music blogger

Hi, I’m Eric. I’ve been playing piano for 15 years and wanted to share everything I have learnt with the world.

Eric Chang

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