Storing your items in a self-storage unit is an excellent choice if you want to free up more space in your home. It is also quite useful if you are transitioning between residences, or if you have belongings that need to be kept somewhere more secure than a garage or basement. But did you know that there are some items that are incredibly sensitive to temperature changes and may be damaged if stored in regular self-storage? For these types of items, make sure to get a climate-controlled storage unit. Learn more about this type of self-storage units, and what kind of items fare best when kept inside a climate-controlled space.
What Is Climate-Controlled Storage?
Climate-controlled storage units are a special type of self-storage. The temperature inside these units are strictly maintained at 55-85 degrees Fahrenheit all year long. Unlike regular storage which can be located outdoors, climate-controlled storage units are exclusively kept indoors.
For items which are sensitive to environmental conditions or those with great value, climate-controlled storage units are the right solution. The stable temperatures gives better protection against damage, which becomes even more important if you’re storing your items long term.
If you’re not sure whether you need this feature in your self-storage unit, consider several factors such as the duration your items will be in storage, the geographical location, and the type of items you’ll be storing.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Climate-Controlled Storage
Since climate-controlled units cost a bit more than regular ones, some may hesitate before going for this feature. To help you decide, consider the three factors below before renting out self-storage:
Length of Storage
How long do you plan on storing your items? If you just need the space for a few weeks, like when you’re preparing for a move, you probably don’t need to go for climate control. Just make sure you’ll be able to retrieve your items in a timely manner since heat, cold, and humidity can eventually degrade some of them.
On the other hand, climate control is critical if you’re placing your items in storage for a long time or indefinitely. For instance, most people only bring out indoor Christmas decorations and winter clothes for a short time every year. Keeping them in climate-controlled units the rest of the time will help them last longer in good quality.
Climate-controlled storage units are a must if you’re storing your belongings in a location that experiences extreme temperature conditions.
For instance, states located in the Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest are prone to extreme heat. This puts some items at risk like CDs and vinyl records, which can warp and melt. Hot conditions can also turn wine cloudy or brown, and it can cause wooden objects to crack and expand. If you live in these areas, then such items such be stored under climate control.
On the other hand, the extreme cold temperatures experienced in the northern half of the country such as the Mid-Atlantic States, Pacific Northwest, and New England can freeze objects that retain moisture. Exposed too long to the cold, such items can crack, expand, and contract unless kept in a controlled climate.
Finally, high levels of humidity can be damaging too many items. It encourages the growth of bacteria, mildew, and mold, and can even attract small pests. Extreme humidity occurs in many areas in the country, including the Pacific Coast, South and Mid-Atlantic States, Eastern locations, and more. Climate-controlled storage units offer a clean and dry space.
One of the biggest factors when deciding whether to opt for climate control or not is the type of item you’ll be storing. Climate-controlled units work best for objects that are sensitive to temperature and those with sentimental value.
Old photographs and heirlooms can be costly, and in most cases, impossible to replace. These are best kept in climate-controlled storage unit no matter what type of item it is or where you are located.
Aside from objects with high sentimental value, climate-controlled storage can also protect certain types of items such as furniture made of wood which can crack, expand, and contract under extreme temperature fluctuations. Long-term exposure to cold and humidity can render electronics and media unusable.
In addition, items made of fabric such as toys, clothes, and upholstered furniture can mold and mildew when constantly exposed to humidity. A moist atmosphere combined with extreme hot and cold can rust metal items and fade or ruin paper.
If the items you’re planning to store fall under one or all three of these categories, then it’s a good idea to rent climate-controlled storage units for them.
10 Items that Need Climate-Controlled Storage Units
Still on the fence about climate control? Take a closer look at specific items that require this feature and why.
Wooden and Leather Furniture
Wood tends to warp, crack, or rot when exposed for too long to too much moisture. This includes wooden tables and chairs, bed frames, nightstands, tables, entertainment consoles, decor and more. If you’re not planning on taking them out for a long time, then putting them inside a climate-controlled unit is a must.
Leather is vulnerable to hot and cold temperature swings, which can cause the material to crack. It can also get discolored and moldy through moisture. If you have expensive leather pieces, it’s crucial to store them in climate-controlled storage units if you live in areas where each season brings about drastic weather changes.
The mechanical and electronic parts of household appliances are sensitive to very cold and hot temperatures. Such conditions can cause these parts to rust and crack, leading to permanent damage. Humidity can also allow mold and mildew to grow inside their inner workings. If you live in regions that experience these conditions, consider renting out a climate-controlled unit for your dishwashers, microwaves, washers and dryers, ovens, and refrigerators.
Climate-controlled storage unit is the perfect place for any special collection. Since the purpose of collecting is to preserve the object’s quality for many years, they need to be under controlled temperatures. Anything from butterflies, cards, currencies, toys, and other collectibles can be protected from damage under long-term climate control conditions.
For example, avoid storing your coin collection in the house or inside a regular storage unit. Unless you have a specially-built area in your home for your collection, you’re better off leaving them inside a climate-controlled storage space. Without consistent temperature levels, coins can tarnish, oxidize, and turn very dark.
Another notable collectible that will benefit from climate-controlled storage units are stamps. As one of the most collected items in the world, some people make the mistake of leaving them in room temperature. Unfortunately, stamps can stick and curl when exposed to high levels of humidity and temperatures. Once they are damaged, the value of stamps greatly depreciates. Climate-controlled storage units will help you maintain the integrity of your stamp collection.
For those who collect comics, especially vintage ones, it’s essential to protect the pages from environmental changes. Kept in a normal room, the pages of comic books can absorb moisture, and it can easily warp and fade old and rare collections. Climate-controlled self-storage act as a dehumidifier, preventing damage to your growing collection while still giving you access.
Temperature fluctuations can completely degrade one by extremely accelerating its aging pace. As a result, incorrectly stored wine can develop an unpleasantly metallic, oxidized taste. Not only is this unpalatable, but you also waste all the time and money that you’ve invested into your wine collection.
To avoid spoilage and support proper aging, collectors should consider renting out climate-controlled storage units for their wine bottles. It provides a consistently cool temperature (ideally at 55 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit) that’s conducive to proper aging.
High quality musical instruments are a tremendous investment. As such, these delicate items should be stored in climate-controlled conditions–no matter if it’s for a short or long duration.
For instance, percussion instruments such as the piano have keys, strings, and wooden bodies that can be damaged by humidity and temperature fluctuations. The strings of acoustic guitars will easily snap under the wrong climate conditions, and heat can damage the adhesives that hold it together.
When it comes to brass instruments, high levels of humidity and heat can be destructive. They can encourage corrosion and the growth of bacteria. Materials such as rubber, felt, and cork inside trumpets and other brass can break down as well.
For those with woodwinds, keep in mind that these instruments need a specific level of humidity, which is at 40-55%. Less than that, and the parts made of wood can shrink and crack. Too much can cause the pads for oboes, clarinets, and flutes to expand and swell, making them uncomfortable to play. Moisture can also cause mold to build up inside these instruments.
Artwork and Craft Supplies
While keeping art inside diameter tubes and file cabinets can help keep them safe from the elements, it’s enough. The ideal environment for artwork should be at 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit with around 50% humidity, and this can be found in climate-controlled storage units.
Aside from works of art, you also need to take special care of your craft supplies if you want to maintain their quality. For instance, fabric is susceptible to moisture, UV exposure, and dust. Sewing machines and other crafting equipment have belts and other parts that can be damaged under extreme temperatures, which is why keeping them under consistent climates can be incredibly helpful.
Climate control is critical when storing photos. Heat can cause stacks of photos to deteriorate and fuse together. This can also cause images to fade. Aside from storing them inside climate-controlled self-storage, make sure to use albums that have satisfy the Photographic Activity Test. Additionally, always face photos away from each other to prevent damage and ensure that those irreplaceable memories are preserved.
Buying season-specific clothing every year can be terribly expensive. It’s more practical to keep them in excellent condition under climate-controlled conditions to make your summer sweaters or winter coats last. It’s also a great choice for heirloom pieces of clothing such as wedding gowns.
Before putting your clothes in storage, clean and dry out everything thoroughly. Consider using plastic storage bins instead of cardboard boxes for additional protection against moisture. Compared to anywhere else in your house, climate-controlled storage units will help keep your clothes in good shape while freeing up usable closet space in your home as well.
Business Documents and Inventory
Businesses that produce a lot of paperwork, such as real estate agencies, should consider renting out climate-controlled self-storage for their documents. This prevents those documents from getting dissolved, discolored, faded, or rotted due to humidity.
Got stock you’re planning to sell at a future date? Protect your investment from the elements by putting them under climate control. The monthly self-storage is considerably more cost-effective than replacing your inventory damaged by extreme heat, cold, and moisture levels.
Electronic components are very vulnerable to moisture and major temperature shifts. For instance, the internal components and screens of plasma televisions are easily damaged when exposed to heat and cold, while professional audio equipment can break down due to moisture. This means that regular self-storage is not enough to keep them in good working condition.
When storing electronics like recording equipment, computers, and televisions, climate-controlled self-storage is the only way to go to prevent rust from developing and wiring from breaking down.
The objects described above are just a few of the items that will greatly benefit inside climate-controlled storage units. To determine if your belongings need temperature control, it’s best to discuss this with the storage facility operator you’ll be renting from. Ultimately, your goal is to keep your items safe and in good shape. Depending on what you plan to store, both regular and climate-controlled self-storage can help you achieve this goal.