What is climate controlled storage?! Who needs it? Well, we think you’d be surprised! There are certain items in our lives that can mean a great deal to us: heirlooms from grandparents past, paintings from far off places, or simply sentimental possessions we want to keep and remember. If we are going to hold on to our prized possessions, sometimes for years and years, we need to make absolutely sure they are not ruined because we store them incorrectly. It is important to recognize that certain items must be kept in a climate controlled environment.
There are two major factors to consider when storing sensitive items: temperature and humidity. Climate controlled storage accounts for both of these problems. Many items will be just fine if the temperature is controlled, but there are some materials that are sensitive to humidity as well. Here are a few pointers.
#1 What Items Need Climate Controlled Storage?
Electronics, collectibles, personal items, and other sensitive materials should be kept within a climate controlled storage unit. These units vary in size but all have a constant flow of filtered air through the unit to keep your belongings at a preset regulated temperature. Below are some of the most common climate-sensitive items:
- Electronics (sound equipment, cameras, computers, stereos, etc.)
- Collectibles (wines, artwork, antiques, etc.)
- Personal Items (books, clothing, photos, etc.)
- Sensitive Materials (leather, glass, metal, paper, plastics, discs and vinyls, etc.)
#2 What Temperature Should My Climate Controlled Unit Be At?
Each group of items requires different climate control. Some items are more susceptible to mold and mildew damage, while others are particularly sensitive to heat. Follow these guidelines for each group of items.
Need to be stored at temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit with 30-60% relative humidity to avoid corrosion.
Such as artwork need to be stored between 60 and 75 degrees with around 50% relative humidity to avoid changes in size and mold/mildew. Wine needs a very particular climate around 55 degrees with minimal light, and relative humidity around 50-80%. This will prevent problems with aging and the seal of the cork. Finally, antiques such as wood furniture should be stored at 55-85 degrees with humidity levels between 30-50%.
Such as clothing need to be stored at 35-75 degrees and around 55% humidity to avoid mold and mildew growth. Books and photos also need to be kept away from light to prevent fading. These items should be stored at temperatures between 35 and 75 degrees with 35% humidity.
Such as metal need to be stored 35-75 degrees with 35-55% humidity. This prevents discoloration caused by moisture.
*Note that with personal self-storage or for many self-storage facilities, it might be difficult to control relative humidity with such specificity. Experts say a humidity of around 55% should suffice for most items.
#3 Dangers of Climate Controlled Storage
- Storage areas that are remotely susceptible to flooding or water damage (this means extra caution when using a basement–the newer the better, and living in a dryer location in general helps as well)
- Pests! Take preventative measures to ensure pesky rodents and insects have ZERO access to enticing materials, such as fabrics or paper.
- Obviously making sure temperatures are consistently regulated. Too much exposure to heat or cold can quickly cause the yellowing of paper, the expansion or shrinkage of things like wood, and weakening warping of metals and other materials.
- Mold, mildew, and fungus (yuck…hence the need for dryness).
#4 Storage Tips and Techniques
- Avoid moisture on the ground by elevating sensitive items.
- Use silicon packets inside boxes to keep them dry, which will help prevent mold and mildew growth.
- Always make sure to clean all items thoroughly before storage, especially fabrics. If you want to go the extra mile on particularly delicate fabrics, wrap them in acid-free tissue paper.
- Most objects are better off with little to no light exposure, which can make basements, closets, and attics ideal.
- Make sure to oil wood so it does not split with changes in temperature or dryness.
#5 How Much Is Climate Controlled Storage?
Prices of climate controlled storage range from just around $75 to around $230 per month, depending on the size of the unit (check out more details about storage costs throughout the U.S. in 2018 on the Life Storage Blog).There are many climate-controlled storage facilities available here in Utah, and throughout the country. Although potentially awesome storage facilities, they are pretty pricey, and depending on your location and the facility you want, might be farther than you’d like.
There are a few other options for climate controlled storage. If you were to use Neighbor, for example, your monthly storage costs would drop significantly lower, even well over half. You would also most likely be able to find a storage space close to you with someone who is willing to ensure climate regulation.
Fortunately, Utah has a drier climate being a desert and all, making it easier to control storage climate in general, and also making it less crucial to choose a facility over a home. Because we do experience relatively extreme temperature changes between summer and winter, this neighbor near you could guarantee protection for your storable items without the markup in price.