Of all the aspects of self storage, climate control may be the most complicated. Do you need it in your area? Which belongings are fine without climate control, and which require it regardless of where you live? You may be surprised by some items that need it.
Climate control keeps your possessions within a narrow, comfortable temperature range with an ideal level of humidity, about 55%, year-round.
Let this step-by-step guide help you determine whether you should get a climate controlled unit or not.
1. Determine if Humidity Necessitates Climate Control
Hot, humid summers are common throughout the U.S., and some areas get high humidity throughout the year. In such climates, items in ordinary storage units are prone to mold, mildew, and rust. Pests like rodents and bugs also thrive in such environments. While storage facilities strive to keep pests to a minimum, sometimes they still find their way into storage units.
In a humid area, climate control protects against all these issues.
2. Figure out if Your Possessions are Heat Sensitive
If the weather in your area drops below 32 degrees, or soars over 90, you may need climate control. This is especially true in areas where winters get below freezing and summer temperatures skyrocket.
What items can suffer damage at low or high temperatures? Antiques, art, vehicles, electronics, books, clothing, leather, appliances, scrapbooks, CDs and other media, glass, plastics, wine, photographs, and metal. Types of damage include wood cracking, mold covering books and clothing, metals rusting, and CDs, records, and other plastic items warping. Film, photographs, and slides already degrade over time. Heat and humidity speed up that process.
If weather in your area reaches such temperatures, climate control is a good idea. If your area also has high humidity when it gets hot, it becomes a necessity.
3. Decide How Long You Will Need Storage
The longer you keep items in storage in the above conditions, without climate control, the more they will degrade. If weather and temperature conditions are mild, perhaps getting above 90 for a day or two with low humidity, and you plan to store your items for a month, then you may not need climate control. If you plan to store long term, it may be a worthwhile investment.
4. Consider the Value of Your Items
Are you storing family heirlooms? A wedding dress to hand down to your daughter? Fine art? An old comic book collection? If you have such precious items and want to ensure their quality for years to come, get a unit with climate control.
5. Think About Your Comfort
Many of us rent a storage unit and go to it only occasionally. Others visit often to swap goods in or out. You may use it to store your off-season clothes, or you may use it for your business, as a place to keep your inventory.
If you are going to visit your self storage unit very often, or for extended periods when you do visit, then climate control can make it comfortable for you, too. No one likes working in the heat or in below freezing temperatures. Just ask anyone who has had to shovel snow, or who has done yard work on a hot day. In such a case, you should consider getting a climate controlled unit to make your work more pleasant.
A climate controlled unit generally rents for between 30% and 50% more than a standard unit of the same size. In environments where climate control is a necessity, the extra expense is worthwhile.