So, you need to rent a storage unit. Sounds like a simple enough process: call the local self-storage company, ask for unit availability, figure out the size of unit you need and how much it will cost you. It wouldn’t cross your mind to ask about their climate controlled storage, would it?
Many self-storage companies out there advertise that they have climate controlled storage units. But the truth is, the definition of climate control fluctuates and varies across the industry. A lot of companies offer units that are temperature controlled, not climate controlled.
So what does climate controlled storage mean?
Climate controlled storage means that your storage unit’s temperature and humidity is managed and adjusted accordingly. A heater keeps your unit warm during the winter months and an air conditioner keeps it cool in the summer months, ultimately maintaining a constant temperature level throughout the year. Humidifiers and dehumidifiers are used to manage the moisture levels in the storage unit. This also reduces and removes dust and matter from the air.
Why is this important?
Many items are sensitive to changes in temperature, resulting in potential damage if stored over a longer period of time. These items can include:
Art– It is advised to store your artwork in diameter tubes or clear plastic bins to assist in keeping moisture and dust out. The moisture can affect the canvas and the paint, or if left long enough, can rot the piece itself.
Fabrics/Clothing– Moisture can change and/or ruin the shape of the clothing article or fade the colour.
Paper/Documents– Humidity can fade, wrinkle or deteriorate the paper, resulting in lost information.
Electronics– Plasma TV screens and internal components can be damaged by moisture in the air. This can also cause severe damage to audio gear.
Vinyl Records– Moisture and humidity will warp the record, changing the shape and ruining the sound of the music. If you own valuable records that are hard to find on the market, you don’t want to run the risk of permanent damage.
Wood Furniture– Moisture can warp the shape of the piece, crack the wood or even rot over time.
The last thing you want is to return to your storage unit ready to take your items out of storage and use them, just to find they have been damaged. Many items may be one of a kind and irreplaceable. This isn’t a risk you want to take.
How do you go about finding a climate controlled storage unit?
Here is the golden rule to carry with you in your search for a storage unit: ask questions. When you go to the storage company, come prepared knowing exactly what you need out of your storage unit and make sure you inquire about them to ensure your needs are met. If the company says their units are climate controlled, ask them if that includes air conditioning within the unit as well as moisture control. Many places offer climate controlled units that are really only heated during the winter. Temperature control is important all year round- the hot summer months can cause just as much damage as the cold winter months. Being prepared with this information is your best bet for ensuring quality storage of your items.
Climate controlled storage tends to cost more than a regular storage unit. However, the cost of appropriate storage for your valuables can be far less than the cost to replace them.