Pianos are beautiful, intricate instruments that must be cared for properly in order to remain functional. Spending time in a storage unit is not always the best thing for a piano, since you won't be present to continually make sure it's not exposed to moisture, bugs, or high temperatures. However, if you take some precautions, you can keep a piano in storage with a pretty high level of confidence that it will emerge okay. Specifically, you'll want to avoid these common storage oversights.

Oversight: Putting the piano straight on the ground.

At home your piano probably rests right on the ground, so it seems it would be okay to set it straight on the floor of the storage unit, too. But the problem with this is that if moisture spills into the floor of your unit (from a neighboring unit or from outside), you won't be around to see it. The legs of your piano will get wet, which will not only strip them of their finish but also may cause rot to develop as the moisture creeps up the piano legs. Store your piano on a platform inside the storage unit to protect its legs from moisture.

Oversight: Encasing the piano in plastic.

Wrapping your piano up in a tarp or some plastic sheeting may seem like a good way to protect it from bugs and drops of moisture. However, plastic does not breathe, so if there's any moisture in the air when you wrap the piano, that moisture will get trapped near the piano's surface, possibly leading to a puckered finish and mold growth. Cover your piano with a breathable piano cover or simple cotton sheets instead.

Oversight: Figuring you'll just clean the piano when you take it out again.

Yes, you will probably want to clean your piano when you eventually pull it out of storage. That doesn't mean you should not also clean it before you put it in storage. Even a few crumbs in a groove could attract insects or rodents. Dust may slowly leech moisture out of the wood, leading to warping and cracking. Go over the wooden parts of the piano with a good furniture polish and vacuum off the keyboard before putting the instrument in storage.

If you avoid these common mistakes, your piano should be well-protected in a climate-controlled storage unit. Make sure you choose a storage company with good security and one that offers sturdy, well-maintained units.