Smoke and Fire Damage Pianos
The piano may be the most expensive and beloved possession in a home. Something that is soaked in memories and perhaps even passion for the recreational player or musician. Consisting of over 10,000 moving parts, most of which are a variety of unvarnished woods, felt, buckskin and leather - all materials very susceptible to the effects of fire driven smoke and heat damage. Our shop processes take the specialized industrial techniques of the restoration trade and combine them with the practices of an active piano shop to reverse the damage and remove the effects of fire in a piano.
Supporting those who are rebuilding their lives after a fire loss with professional shop services restoring the smoke and fire damaged piano!
Allegro Piano’s connection to the Fire Service
Fire damaged instruments have a special place in Brian Janey’s perspective and history. Being a former firefighter of some 20 years, and having a degree in fire science, he is keenly aware of the effects of smoke and fire damage. This backdrop, linked with his professional skills as a piano technician, makes him particularly well suited to evaluate and address the fire and smoke damaged Piano. Even holds his lifetime membership in the International Association of Firefighters.
Do not touch the piano with bare hands
The smoke is toxic and the fire residue may adversely interact with oils on your fingers or hands. If you must touch the piano, wear latex gloves. Do not attempt to wipe and clean the instrument. Using the incorrect product(s) can and will leave undesirable results.
Contact Allegro Piano Service immediately to make us aware of the situation. The sooner the piano is removed from the fire damaged home the less chance there will be for post-fire damage. A timely and proper shop assessment will help the piano make a full recovery. Please survey the damages, take pictures and contact us with the information on the checklist above.
Smoke Damage Restoration and Reconditioning
Smoke damage to the piano has long since been a devastating problem for the owner, piano technician, and insurance adjuster alike. Allegro Piano Service has successfully addressed this age old problem in reversing the effects of smoke damage in the piano. The perils of smoke damage are vast with regards to the piano. The difference in smoke damage from fire damage, is that the flames have not actually touched the piano. The process requires removing the smoke residue and odor. Please keep in mind though that the corrosive nature of smoke makes it essential to have your piano removed from the environment and cleaned as soon as possible.
Smoke is the product of incomplete combustion made visible by the presence of small particles of carbon. All burnable substances involved in the fire create complex odors. Burnt plastics, fabric, meat, carpet and draperies provide an acceptable analogy of complex odors. Smoke generally dissipates quickly after the fire leaving residue. Rapid cooling particles of the incomplete combustion will leave a difficult film and odor on and in the entire piano. Smoke is acidic causing discoloration, corrosion and overall damage to the instrument.
Types of Smoke & Odors
We generally refer to smoke as either driven or free floating. Driven smoke is what you see during a house fire as the smoke billows out the roof or windows. Often times the fire department will break a window in order to redirect the fire/smoke. If the piano is ever caught between the fire and an open window or door, then it has been the unwelcome guest of "driven smoke". Driven smoke is the hardest to clean because it drives the toxic particles deep into the piano's wooden pores. Free floating smoke originates as driven smoke but has lost the active energy. This is the kind of smoke you would see a few rooms away from a small fire that looks like a dense fog.
The odors caused by driven and free floating smoke are divided into three primary categories; Synthetic, Natural, and Protein.
Synthetic odors consist of plastics, and synthetic textiles. This form of residue in chiefly black in color and will smudge easily. Natural odors tally from burnt wood, cotton or paper products. The residue from natural odors is gray and black in color and usually form a powdery substance. Protein odors result from meat, flesh, grease as most kitchen fires promote. The residue from protein fires is greasy in nature and is yellowish to brown in color. Different processes are required to effectively remove each kind of odor. It is never a "one size fits all" approach that some restoration companies like to take. Incorrectly addressing each odor will cause it to return on a rainy/humid day.
Low and High oxygen fires also attribute to the severity of damage within your piano. A low oxygen fire is the smoldering type which leaves a wet smoky residue over every surface in your piano. A high oxygen fire produces a dryer residue and sometimes is easier to remove.
The odors caused by driven and free floating smoke are divided into three primary categories
Synthetic odors consist of plastics, and synthetic textiles. This form of residue in chiefly black in color and will smudge easily.
Natural odors tally from burnt wood, cotton or paper products. The residue from natural odors is gray and black in color and usually form a powdery substance.
Protein odors result from meat, flesh, grease as most kitchen fires promote. The residue from protein fires is greasy in nature and is yellowish to brown in color.
How the Piano is Impacted by Smoke Damage
The piano consists of assorted woods, metals, steel, felts, and plastics. Humidity fluctuations even on a low scale represent instability in tuning, tonal qualities, and overall consistency. In the event of a fire, intense dry heat is present. As the flames are extinguished, the hot, humid smoldering effect takes place. It is not uncommon to witness a relative humidity factor as low as 2% during the course of a fire. The extinguishing process could easily exert the humidity level upwards of 150% or more. As the humidity level increases, the woods found in the piano expand. The pores within the wood collect or adsorb the various malodors. Should the piano exist in the path of the air currents of driven smoke, the odors will then be driven deeper into the wood than that of free floating smoke.
Other substances within the piano are porous and highly susceptible as they adsorb odor bearing particles. The piano action for instance is greatly affected. The felts of the action serve as natural wicks for odor, the metal parts corrode quickly due to the acidic nature of smoke. The glues used are broken down making many of the action parts weak, misaligned, or completely un-functional. Should rubber parts exist, they will become hard and brittle.
Oxidation found on the piano's strings is not uncommon. The soundboard and ribs have been known to separate as well as develop cracks and pressure ridges. Structural damages partnered with offensive residue creates undesirable ramifications.
Each of the negative events that cause damage to the piano can be corrected, if the piano is attended to quickly. The longer the piano sits in this corrosive environment the more damage will occur. Eventually irreversible damage can develop if the piano is not attended too quickly.
Our processes include:
Inital ozone treatment
Disassembly of the piano and its music making mechanism or action
Application of a smoke and soot counteractant directly to parts and piano interior and exterior
Dry wiping and removal of all soot and fire debris
Reconditioning of the piano upon reassembly
Chambering and use of a warm dry smoke and soot counteractant fog to reach inaccessible areas
on site appraisal and evaluation of the fire or water damaged Piano
on site turning, repairs and reconditioning after home restoration from fire or flood.
Water damaged pianos
Evaluation, appraisal and odor removal for water damaged or mildewed pianos
Our Success Stories
He did a wonderful job tuning our piano. Took his time until it sounded perfect. I will continue using him for our piano tuning. He travelled to us in French Valley so we were grateful for that!
Thank you again, we appreciate your meticulous work.
Wonderful service as always from Brian at Allegro Piano Service. On time, extremely thorough and takes his time ensuring the piano is tuned properly. Friendly and trustworthy. Highly recommend.
This company rocks! Why? Because it's veteran owned and operated by Brian! Brian is a real stand-up guy. He's very honest and stands out from any other piano repair company that I've come across. I would highly recommend that you do buisness with this man. You won't be disappointed!
I am a local piano mover in the area. I have been referring my piano moving customers to Brian Janey at Allegro piano services for years. I have never had a complaint and have complete trust in his abilities and customer service. Rest easy he is your guy!!
Brian Janey of Allegro Piano Services does an absolutely fantastic job of a range of piano services, including tuning, repair, and maintenance. After having the same piano tuner for almost 20 years in Los Angeles, it has been a blessing, now that we live in San Diego County, to find Brian who as a musician has a through understanding of the piano. Our baby grand has never sounded better!
Mr. Brian Janey was amazing and my piano (Kimball )sounds amazing! It had not been tuned in 30years! Great Job. Thank you.
Brian Janey is a true professional. He really knows pianos, does a great job with tuning and can also diagnose and remedy many problems that you may not have even known you had with your instrument!