How quiet does it have to be when my piano is
being tuned?  

The rule of thumb is the quieter your house the better your tuning will be.

You should plan to keep the noise to an absolute minimum when your
technician is working. If you would like to do some housework and
your unsure if it might bother the tuning, please ask.  While I can work
with some minor background noise while tuning the bass and tenor
areas, some quiet time is needed to get the best tuning for the treble
section.
Where is the best place for my Piano?

"Is it wrong to place a piano against an outside wall?"  How far from the fireplace must it be?  Can I keep my piano in an unheated room?"  

These are all common questions posed by piano owners.  The answers lie in two important criteria:  temperature and humidity.

Pianos are mostly wood and are greatly affected by seasonal change.  Variations in the air's relative humanity, and to a lesser extent temperature, cause a piano to
go out of tune.  In the long run, repeated swings in relative humidity can cause damage to the finish, cracking of the wooden soundboard and even structural
failure.  So, when locating your piano, try to choose a spot with the fewest drafts, no direct sunlight and stable temperature and humidity.

Common lore says that a piano should always be on an inside wall.  This is not necessarily true.  If your home is well insulated, an outside wall will usually be fine,
as long as the piano is not directly in front of a window or close to a furnace vent or other warm (or cold) air..

Evenness of humidity and temperature is what you should strive for.  Thus, a piano in an unheated room is better off than one in a family room that's alternately
heated, cooled and ventilated with open windows.

Remember:

If the piano is facing a fireplace or heater and its surface feels warm, it's too close.
Avoid direct sunlight;  it will wreak havoc on your  piano's tuning and eventually fade and crack the finish.
Consistency is more important than the actual levels of temperature or relative humidity.

If you can't find a suitable location, have a climate control system installed in the instrument itself.  These units can greatly improve tuning stability and other climate-related problems where it's not practical to control the environment of the entire house.
  Why Piano Strings Break!

Imagine the sound of a whip snapping against an aluminum pie pan and you have some idea of the sound that occurs when a piano string breaks.  It's startling
for anyone standing nearby, but especially so if you're seated  at the keyboard!

Realize that the thin steel string are tensioned to an average of 150 pounds each and it's not hard to understand that they might break occasionally.  Though
they're engineered to withstand the high tension, three main factors can cause them to fail, corrosion, hard playing, and hard hammers.

Corrosion
Over time, especially in a damp environment, piano strings can rust.  The rust eats into the steel wire, causing weak spots which can then break during the stress
of hard playing or simply during routine tuning.  Replacement is the only cure for rusty strings.

Excessively hard playing
Bend any piece of metal far enough and often enough and it will break.  That's exactly what happens to piano strings.  Sustained hard playing, especially the
rhythmic left hand style used in many churches, can drive the piano's hammers against the strings with such force that  they eventually break.  Regular
maintenance to the hammers can reduce breakage, but very hard playing will still take its toll.  One solution is to amplify the piano with a microphone and sound
system so it can be played lighter and still produce adequate power.

Very hard and worn hammers
With use, the smooth rounded surface of a piano hammer wears flat.  Iinstead of striking the strings with the flexible, rounded shape of a rubber ball, it smacks
them with a flat, hard surface.  This can over-stress the strings, especially if the hammers are also made of very hard felt.  In this case it is critical that your
piano technician keep your hammers properly shaped and their hardness adjusted through a process called voicing.  
Gina's Piano, LLC
Piano Tuning, Service & Repair
Milford, Connecticut
Call 203-882-8082
or email
Gina@ginaspiano.com