Although the majority of maintenance tasks should be left to a professional, there are several tasks that an owner can take care of, such as protecting the instrument from humidity, moisture and dust.
The piano is largely made of wood, which is sensitive to humidity. Fluctuations in humidity can affect tuning, lead to cracks in various wooden parts and even warp the soundboard beyond repair.
In order to avoid the possibility of damage, piano owners would be well advised to keep their instrument out of direct sunlight and away from all cooking areas, vents, windows or heaters. If possible, it is best to use a hygrometer (a device which measures humidity) in conjunction with air conditioning to regulate humidity. Alternatively, there are several companies which produce and install in-piano humidity control devices.
If liquid finds its way inside the piano, it can damage the action, the soundboard, and other parts of the mechanism, and can lead to rot. It is best, therefore, to avoid using a piano as a surface for drinks or houseplants.
If the keys become clogged with dust, the action may be affected, resulting in an unpleasant playing experience. This can be avoided by keeping the lid closed most of the time. Note, however, that if the lid is not occasionally opened, lack of air circulation may promote the growth of mould.
Tuning & Voicing
All pianos should be tuned regularly by a qualified piano tuner, who adjusts the tension of the strings to keep them at their proper pitches, and to minimize any detrimental harmonic interaction between the strings.
A piano also requires voicing at regular intervals, to prevent the tone from deteriorating. This may involve softening or hardening the hammers to make the tone mellower or brighter, and adjusting the action to ensure an even response.