Climate controlled storage is a type of storage unit that is specially designed to maintain steady temperatures and humidity levels.
Temperature and humidity are both important in optimizing the climate in a space because they work together to control moisture levels which can then lead to damaged belongings, mold, mildew, and insect infestations. Higher temperatures increase the ability of the air to hold on to more moisture which inturn leads to uncomfortably humid conditions. Lower temperatures, on the other hand, decrease the ability of the air to hold on to moisture thereby prompting the release of that moisture as extremely damaging condensation. Similarly, higher humidity levels increase the ability of the air to hold on to heat which inturns increases the temperature. Therefore, keeping both temperature and humidity controlled to manage moisture levels help keep your items protected.
While climate controlled storage costs a bit more than traditional drive-up storage and temperature-controlled units, climate controllled storage is engineered to protect your precious belongings better. Even the HVAC systems that temperature-controlled units rely on are simply not enough in keeping large areas protected from soaring humidity levels particularly in areas that experience large variations in temperature across the day or seasons going from cold winters with snow to hot summers.
Climate controlled facilities generally rely on commercial HVAC systems that can cover large areas, powerful dehumidifiers that can extract out moisture, customizable thermostats to adapt to the changing seasons, and thick insulation to keep temperature and humidity under control and your belongings protected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year as mother nature cycles through the day and seasons.
Items That Require Climate Controlled Storage
Basic storage units protect items from environmental elements like rain. The different items that you have in storage will all respond to temperature and humidity differently, and pretty much all items in storage will benefit from climate control, but some truly need it.
Items like furniture made out of wood, metal, wicker, leather, or upholstery
Media (DVDs, videos, vinyl records, etc.)
Clothing, particularly if it’s lace or leather, or if it’s going to be stored in bags
Collectibles (stamps, coins, comic books, etc.)
Medical supplies and medications
Makeup and toiletries
Bicycles with leather seats
Why these items require climate controlled storage becomes more clear once you start to think about how they react with moisture. Wood, for example, can become warped, cracked, or rotted from moisture exposure, while leather can become discolored and is susceptible to mold and mildew. Electronics, on the other hand, can become cracked or rusted, rendering them unusable or dangerous to use later on. And paper items (including photographs) can actually disintegrate, or become otherwise illegible.
When trying to decide if an item should be stored in a climate controlled unit, ask yourself the following questions:
Can it get mold or mildew?
Can it warp, crack, deteriorate, or become discolored from interactions with moisture?
Would high heat cause it to expand or contract?
Is it designed to be stored at a certain temperature (for example, wine or artwork)?
Is it sensitive to extreme heat or cold?
Is it rare, sentimental, and/or valuable?
If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, then it is going to be in your best interest to rent a climate controlled storage unit.
Other Reasons to Rent a Climate Controlled Unit
Sometimes the need for a climate controlled storage unit is less about the items that are going to be inside of it and more about other factors. Here are some of the other reasons that you should consider going the climate controlled route.
If you’re going to be storing your things in the unit for a long time. If you intend to store your belongings for several months, a year, or longer, then chances are that the temperature outside is going to vary quite widely in that time. Just because it’s 50 degrees and dry outside in the present doesn’t mean it will be like that later on, so take into consideration what temperature and humidity shifts might occur and, if they’ll be extreme, go for the climate controlled option.
If you live in a high heat or high humidity climate. If you are storing your items somewhere that is already prone to high heat and humidity, then it’s best to mitigate those factors if you can. Outside elements have a sneaky way of getting inside of your unit, so you will almost definitely be exposing your belongings to moisture unless you do something specific to protect them.
If you are storing business documents, collectibles, valuables, antiques, irreplaceable items. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your most precious belongings. Things of monetary or sentimental value, as well as items that are antique, irreplaceable, or part of a collection, are all best stored in climate controlled units.
As for times when you’re probably safe to skip the climate controlled storage unit, if you’re not storing any items from the provided list and you’re only storing items for a short period of time (think a month or less in outdoor storage, and three months or less in indoor storage), then you should be okay with a standard self storage unit.