Yes. I'm a Registered Piano Technician (R.P.T.) of the Piano Technician's Guild. A Registered Piano Technician has passed a series of rigorous examinations on the maintenance, repair, and tuning of pianos.
I encourage those who use their pianos year round to do a semi-annual tuning after the seasonal change. Some others have their pianos tuned annually. Many music teachers and other professionals prefer 3 or more tunings per year. I recommend tuning intervals based on the use of the piano, climate stability, and piano age.
A tuned piano is under a significant amount of tension. (The average medium size piano has about 230 strings, each string having about 165 pounds of tension, with the combined pull of all strings equaling approximately eighteen tons!) As the piano goes through climate change, the wood expands and contracts. As it does so, the tension on the piano flexes, changing the way the tension is spread across the instrument (hence, changing the tuning). Fluctuation in humidity levels will not only knock your piano out of tune, but it can also cause serious damage that affects the piano's structural integrity. Minor damage due to humidity fluctuation includes "sticking keys", sluggish action, and loose screws. More serious damage that can occur may include issues such as string corrosion, glue joint failures that cause loud buzzing, cracked bridges, cracked soundboards, and loose tuning pins. Click to view my "Piano Knowledge" page.
AWAY from windows, doors, heaters, drafts, and out of direct sunlight. An outside wall can be OK as long as your home is well insulated.
Buy a hygrometer with a min/max feature to keep near the piano and track the climate your piano is exposed to. Keep the piano in a consistent climate, with as little air movement as possible, and have the piano tuned regularly. Humidify in the winter/dehumidify in the summer if your hygrometer reading shows a dramatic swing between seasons. Investing in a piano climate control system is a great way to protect your investment.
Yes. If the piano wire has not been moved in a while the piano will need a second tuning for stability. If the piano is significantly under pitch it will need a pitch-raise and a follow up tuning (or tunings) to properly stabilize the tension on the instrument.
I'll be happy to come look your piano over for damage and discuss your options. Occasionally I will find structural damage too great to justify the expense of "bringing it back to life". I may do a little maintenance to "get you by" while I encourage you to search for a different piano. Don't let this discourage any inquiry. I have seen many pianos that bounce back quite well.
Aural tuning means tuning by ear. I've been specially trained using this method. This method is technically and musically precise and can be tailored specifically to your piano. I use an electronic tuning fork and I tune to equal temperament. Most pianos should be pitched at A=440, and I aim to achieve this with all of my tunings. However sometimes due to seasonal change, age of the piano or neglect tuning to A440 may not be the best choice for your piano. I will always make the best choice for your particular situation and discuss your options.