When you decide to take the big step of storing your belongings in a self-storage unit, you should look for what kind of features these services come with.
Certain items are more fragile than others and can be damaged over time by humidity, high and low temperatures, and exposure to light.
You may be tempted to skip this step, but the truth is that our homes are different from storage units. A climate-controlled storage unit always tries to maintain a balanced temperature and humidity. Basically, it functions as a heater, air conditioner, humidifier, and dehumidifier all in one.
“The items that were preserved so easily in your home will need air conditioning in a storage unit as well“ – Hughes Air
If you have some belongings that you cherish and you plan to use a storage unit, make sure you look at our list of items that require special care.
1. Paintings and art collections
Extreme temperatures can make the canvas shrink, and humid environments can lead to mold and mildew growth.
Art is best stored in cold and dry environments without sudden temperature changes.
Anything made out of fabric, including upholstered furniture, can grow mildew and develop an ugly smell in a humid setting. Fabrics last longer when they are cleaned professionally and stored at 50% humidity.
Electronic devices can handle a little bit more humidity, up to 60%. But you have to be careful with high temperatures during the summer.
Above 60% humidity, your electronics will stand no chance, and you will start noticing corrosion and mold.
Many collectors choose to store their metal coins in a self-storage unit. But metal is no more resistant to humidity than other materials, not to mention that you need to keep your items away from sudden temperature changes.
In the presence of moisture, iron will rust and copper will change its color to green (hence, why your finger turns green from copper rings), silver will darken, and lead will be completely destroyed.
If you collect comics or you want to store your books and photographs, keep in mind that they might turn yellow in the winter or summer due to temperature changes.
Paper items are affected by humidity as well. Ideally, it should be below 30% humidity, and your belongings should be protected from light as well.
6. Mattress and pillows
Mattresses and pillows are tricky because there is always the chance of retaining moisture. It’s not that difficult for a dress to dry after it gets a bit humid in the storage unit, but a thick mattress will become a home to mold in a situation like this.
The humidity levels in a self-storage unit should be around 40%
7. Leather furniture
Aside from making sure leather doesn’t shrink from humidity or warp from high temperatures in the summer, you also have to make sure you let it breathe.
A thin cotton sheet works best for this type of furniture. It protects it from dust accumulation and it lets the leather breathe, which prevents pungent smells.
Perhaps one of the trickiest items to store, wines need low light, moderate humidity, and a constant temperature.
You may be tempted to store your wines in a dry environment, but it’s best to keep the humidity between 40% and 70 %. Environments that are too dry will damage the quality of the wine. They will also make the seals harden and the bottles difficult to open.
On the other hand, too much moisture in the air will change the color of the wine and accelerate the aging process. This will ruin its flavor.
9. Wood furniture and antique items
If you have some cabinets from your parents or antique items, a climate controlled environment is a must due to how wood reacts in cold and hot environments.
In a colder setting, the wood will contract. In hot temperatures, it will dilate. On top of this, the moisture in the air should be controlled as well since it can lead to mold.
Occasionally, the wood also needs to be treated against parasites and polished with oil to maintain its shine.
What can be stored in a storage unit without climate control?
If you want to store your belongings, do it in the spring or the fall, before extremely hot or cold weather arrives. Even items that would be otherwise damaged in the lack of climate control will remain intact during the gentler seasons.
The problem with this approach is that the weather is rarely predictable. You can end up with exceptionally hot days during the spring or cold, rainy days during the fall.
Other items that can be stored without any special requirements are items that are made to withstand extreme temperatures, such as patio furniture pieces, frying pans, pots, spoons, knives, and forks.
Whatever doesn’t get damaged in extreme temperatures, can be stored in a storage unit without climate control.