Climate Controlled Self Storage
The world of self storage offers customers many options, including climate control. Anything other than outdoor storage should provide a basic level of protection against the elements, but blocking the wind and rain is not always enough. Some customers or certain types of stored goods will require more protection, particularly when the storage facility resides in an area that experiences extremely high or low temperatures or high humidity. The type of climate control features available vary from one storage facility to another. Some do not offer anything while others offer different levels of climate protection. This service generally costs extra. Parts of the country that reach temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit may require air conditioning to protect items from problems like rotting or yellowing. Self storage units in areas that fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit may need to be heated to prevent cracking or warping. Places with both extremes may need climate control, including humidity protection. The longer you rent a unit, the more likely you are to need to control the unit's climate.
Types of storage facilities
- Outdoor units, by definition, don't provide anything but the basic moisture protection offered by a roof or a gravel or concrete floor.
- Some drive-up, garage-style self storage units may offer some form of climate control, but you should check with management before leasing a unit. Some will heat the units in cold months or offer air conditioning in the summer. For those who plan to spend much time in their self storage units, a little heat or air conditioning might be necessary. With metal doors and no windows, storage units can exaggerate the outdoor temperatures. In the heat of summer a hot, stuffy unit may make it difficult to spend much time rummaging for a stored keepsake once it is needed while a unit without heat in frigid temperatures may have the same effect.
- Most indoor facilities offer a basic level of temperature control in addition to blocking wind and limiting moisture. Indoor storage facilities are often large buildings with several floors in which customers enter through common exterior doors but rent private storage rooms. For many an enclosed facility will be enough to protect the items they plan to store from dust and damage. Such facilities may provide basic heat and air circulation to the whole building at temperatures slightly more comfortable than outdoors, but this may still leave units susceptible to uncomfortable temperatures that could damage certain types of goods. More advanced facilities will offer indirect heating and cooling of the whole building within a protective temperature range, or they may provide self storage units fitted with independent climate control features that can prevent the temperature from moving beyond a customer-approved high and low. In addition, some indoor self storage facilities offer humidity control, sometimes called conditioned storage, in which relative humidity levels are kept below 55 percent and temperatures are maintained between 50 to 75 degrees.
- Some mobile storage units provide climate control features. To prevent the need for management to enter your mobile storage unit, the controls may be placed on the outside of the unit. This way they can change the temperature for you when the unit is stored at the mobile storage facility.
Items that require climate-controlled storageHigh humidity may cause items containing fabric to mold or mildew or wood items to rot. Electronics may be damaged in the heat by moisture that can accumulate internally. Food and wine can spoil when warmed too much or frozen. Metal can rust and plastics melt in the wrong conditions. Consider how cold, heat, moisture or lack of light could affect your items as you select a self storage facility. Check with management for tips on protecting your goods. A few items that may suffer without a carefully controlled climate follow:
- Electronics such as computers, televisions, stereos, fax machines and DVD players
- Software, DVDs, CDs, vinyl records, eight-tracks and cassette tapes
- Musical instruments
- Perishables such as spices or food items (not recommended for storage in a self storage unit)
Precautionary stepsRegardless of the level of protection offered by your self storage facility, you may want to consider taking a few precautions of your own. Protecting your goods from climate-related damage may ultimately protect you by inhibiting the growth of odors, bacteria, viruses and mold that could be harmful to your health. When preparing a self storage unit, consider doing the following:
- Protect your items from dust, germs and scratches by placing a protective layer on the floor. You may want to use wood, cardboard, a canvas tarp or plastic film.
- Place a dehumidifier in your self storage unit if you have not chosen one equipped with humidity controls.
- Use moisture absorbing tools.
- Keep deodorizers in your unit, even old-fashioned baking soda can help keep the room fresh.
- Use traps for vermin.
- If your goods are exposed to a sprinkler system, cover your items with a water resistant tarp to prevent moisture damage in the event the sprinklers are ever needed.