If you are considering storing some of your belongings in a self storage unit, you are in good company. According to the Self Storage Association (SSA), nearly 11 million households in the United States currently rent a self-storage unit. Finding a unit in your area shouldn't be difficult, as self storage units can be found in nearly 84 percent of all US counties, says SSA. That means you have the luxury of choosing the storage facility you prefer. One of the most important decisions you will make is whether you need a climate controlled or non-climate controlled facility. Use these facts to help you decide.
What are climate controlled units?
If your idea of climate control is air-conditioned spaces where you can lounge in comfort while you sort through your belongings, you are partially correct. Climate control does prevent extreme temperatures, but it may not be your idea of lounging weather. According to Inside Self Storage (ISS) climate control means keeping temperatures below 90 degree Fahrenheit in the summer and above 40 degrees in winter. It also means maintaining a humidity level between 40 and 65 percent. That means your belongings will be kept safe from the damaging effects of extreme fluctuation in temperatures, but you'll still want to wear a jacket if you visit in winter.
Why is climate control important in storage?
There are number of reasons climate control is important to your belongings. High humidity levels create the ideal environment for mold and mildew, while low humidity levels can cause excessive drying and cracking in your valuables. In areas where winters are below freezing, or summers are excessively warm, climate control prevents damage from freezing or from overheating. Whether your belongings need a climate controlled environment depends on the items and your location.
What type of items need climate control?
There is no definitive list, of course, but there are some items that nearly everyone agrees do best in climate controlled storage.
- Electronics - This includes radios, CD players and gaming systems, as well as computers and computer parts. Because electronics are sensitive to both temperature and humidity fluctuations, climate control is a must for preventing danage.
- Books - If you've ever opened a box of musty books, you already know why they need climate control.
- Documents, Paperwork & Photos - Like books, paper products and photos suck in moisture and are easily destroyed by mold and mildew in warm, humid weather.
- Appliances - If you intend to store household appliances, climate control is a must. Freezing or overheating can ruin the internal components and moisture promotes rust. If you expect your appliances to operate properly, consider a climate controlled storage unit.
- Musical Instruments - Musical instruments are sensitive to fluctuations in both moisture levels and temperature.
- Furniture - While wooden furniture may warp or crack due to changes in temperature, fabric on couches and beds may become mildewed if the moisture is to high.
Length of Storage
Short-term storage of items in a non-climate control unit may be appropriate, especially during the spring or fall when temperatures tend to remain reasonably constant. But, keep in mind that you may end up leaving your items in storage longer than you expected. According to SSA, only 13 percent of self storage renters keep their belongings in self storage for less than three months, with 30 percent leaving items in self storage for two years or more.
Isn't Climate Control Storage Expensive?
Climate control storage is more expensive than non-climate control storage. SSA reports that as of 2013, the average monthly rental price for a 10'x10' non-climate controlled unit was $115, while the same size climate controlled unit cost $146. Consider whether saving a few dollars now is worth the risk of damaging your personal belongings or the cost to replace them.
Consider your options carefully before placing your personal belongings in storage. Only you can decide whether a climate controlled unit is the best option for you. Continue your online research to discover more about how to find the best deal on a self storage unit.