Standard self storage units are sufficient for most household and business items, but your temperature-sensitive and irreplaceable goods need the added protection of climate-controlled storage. Extreme heat can melt your DVD collection and cause wood furniture to expand and crack. Exposure to humidity encourages mold and mildew growth, which can deteriorate your books, photos, and textiles. The longer these items are stored in an uncontrolled environment the more susceptible they are to damage.
Shopping for climate-controlled storage along with choosing the right storage facility requires much the same research that you would do for any type of storage unit. Climate-controlled storage protects your belongings from extreme temperatures and humidity, but you still want the security of knowing you’re protected from theft, fire, and other unforeseen events.
Shopping for Climate-Controlled Storage
Be aware that there is a difference between temperature-controlled and climate-controlled storage. Climate-controlled units are typically kept between 55 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit with a base humidity of 55 percent. Temperature-controlled means only that the temperature is regulated, but not the humidity. Depending on what you’re storing, humidity can sometimes cause more damage than temperature. Clearly, the facility that you choose should offer year-round climate control for both temperature and humidity.
Before beginning your search for climate-controlled storage, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the temperature where I’ll be storing my items drop below 32° or rise above 90° F?
- Is the facility in a climate that is subject to high humidity?
- Do any of my possessions have high monetary or sentimental value?
- Am I storing items for a long time, or am I unsure of the length of time my items will be in storage?
- Will I need to visit the unit frequently, and do I want comfortable conditions when I do?
If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, you need climate-controlled storage to protect what is important to you.
What Should I Look for in Climate-Controlled Storage?
- There are no set industry standards for climate-controlled storage. Always ask facility operators for their specific temperature and climate-control standards. They should be able to explain what they do to maintain these standards and give you this information in writing.
- Look for a facility that offers climate monitoring. The temperature and humidity should be continually monitored to verify that settings remain consistent. Ask the manager if they use generator backup in case of a lengthy power outage.
- It’s not completely impossible, but it is rare to find climate control in a drive-up, outdoor unit. If this type of unit is advertised as climate-controlled, it’s more likely that it is simply heated or cooled to some degree. This is not true climate control.
- Always read your rental agreement carefully. Storage facilities aren’t responsible for the items that you store. No facility will give you a “guarantee” that truly covers your belongings, so it’s up to you to insure your stored items. If you have a standard homeowners or renters insurance policy, it’s likely that you have off-premises coverage. Talk to your agent to verify coverage.
- Many self storage properties offer a tenant protection plan. This plan is not insurance but a contractual agreement between the facility and the tenant, with the facility assuming limited responsibility for the tenant’s belongings while they are stored in a locked unit. In other words, operators agree to pay customers for damages to belongings up to a specified dollar amount. A tenant protection plan offers an extra layer of security for your possessions.
Items That Should be Kept in Climate-Controlled Storage
Below is a list of items that might require climate control protection.
- Artwork and Craft Supplies
- Business Documents and Inventory
- Coin Collections
- Household Appliances
- Leather Furniture
- Musical Instruments
- Stamp and Comic Book Collections
- Wine (look into specialty storage)
- Wood and Antique Furniture
- Vinyl Records
If you live in an area of the country that faces temperature and humidity extremes, it’s important that you look at climate-controlled storage for your belongings. As mentioned above, always consider the sentimental as well as the monetary value when your self-storage shopping. To keep your treasured possessions free of damage and deterioration, it’s more than worth the extra expense.