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How to Properly Store Electronics

Lubabah Memon | April 18, 2016 @ 12:12 PM

With the constant advances in technology, we find ourselves buying new electronics every few months.  All of the devices are becoming slimmer, lighter, and more sophisticated.  However, a lot of us are still having trouble parting with our beloved, bulky technology.  If you don’t want to dispose of the first computer you ever had, or the laptop you got when you graduated from high school, you don’t have to.  You can rent out a storage unit and store your electronics there for as long as you would like.

Why store your old electronics instead of keeping them at home?  It’s actually safer to store electronics because at home there is more potential for accidents. There’s also a lot more variability in the temperature, and if you’re storing in your attic or your garage, you have no control over the temperature at all.  Then there’s the risk of things like leaks and other environmental issues that can be hazardous to your equipment.  Lastly, you should take into account that there is definitely better security at storage facilities than at the average home.  This is especially important if you travel a lot, work, or are away from home for long periods of time.  After considering some of these issues, it’s safe to say that you’re better off putting your electronics in a storage unit.

This can be somewhat of a tedious process because electronics are fragile and can deteriorate over time if not stored properly.  Poor storage practices can cause your electronics to have a shorter lifespan, harm their quality, and can eventually reduce their efficacy.  If you’re unsure as to how you can store your items to get the best results, we can walk you through the process so you don’t miss a step.

The Dangers of Humidity

The first, and most important, thing you should do is rent a climate controlled unit.  This keeps the temperature between 50 and 70 degrees. This also reduces humidity, but you might still want to consider putting a dehumidifier in your unit if you live in a particularly humid city.  Humidity can be really bad for your electronics.  Let’s take a look at what heat and humidity can do to a computer.  If you store your computer in a warm place, the weather can cause the different parts of the computer to expand and contract.  The motherboard is greatly impacted by this because it is made out of plastic, fiberglass, and metals, all of which can be damaged by heat and humidity.  Expansion and contraction of parts of the motherboard can cause the circuits to break down and cause short circuits.  Without your motherboard, your computer is just a pretty box.

A Step by Step Storage Guide

There are multiple things that you have to do in order to properly store your electronics.   Here is a step-by-step breakdown of what you should do:

  • Take pictures of all of the electronics you are storing for insurance purposes; if there is a natural disaster, other damage, or theft that occurs, this will make it easier for you to make claims to your insurance company.  You should also take pictures of the wiring on electronics while they are still being used so it’s easier for you to hook things up when you take them out to use again.
  • Try to save the original boxes with the packing material that the product came in so it’s easier to pack.  We are not promoting hoarding here, but it will make things easier for you in the long run.
  • Remove all batteries and store them separately.  Leakage of battery acid can damage electronic equipment, so storing them separately can save your stuff.
  • Clean your electronics and remove any dust they may have.  Dust and debris can get stuck in air vents and create heat and humidity, which can severely damage the equipment.
  • Remove all wires but keep them with their respective electronics.
  • Use foam padding and cotton based fabric (such as a towel) to secure your electronics.  The cotton can absorb any moisture in the air and prevent it from getting to your things.  Only use bubble wrap if you are storing something short term because plastic can trap moisture and create mold over time, which can be harmful to your electronics.
  • Put the wrapped items in a box and add silica gel desiccant packets to keep out excess moisture.  It’s a good idea to save these packets when you find them from your previous online or in-store purchases.  Tightly seal the box using tape to make sure dust or insects can’t get in.
  • You can put small items like cell phones in an airtight container with silica gel to keep out moisture.
  • Do not stack your electronics.  Make sure your unit is big enough for you to keep your electronics without having to stack them.

If you take all of these precautions, your electronics should stay safe, functional, and ready to use when you decide to take them out of storage.

Recycling Your Electronics

If this isn’t your cup of tea, you should know that storage isn’t the only option you have.  If you’re only looking to store your old electronics because they’re taking up too much space and would rather dispose of them, we have an answer for you too.  Electronics can be difficult to dispose of on your own.  Leave that to the professionals and take them to an electronic recycling center so they can be disposed of properly.  This way, you can save some space, dispose of things you no longer want, and not have to pay rent on a storage unit to do so.

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