The business of providing climate-controlled self-storage has grown in tandem with the self-storage industry and is rapidly becoming a required offering at many self-storage locations. People are storing more of their property away from their homes. More and more of this property needs a better environment than a simple metal storage unit.
What Is Climate-Controlled Self-Storage?
Self-storage provides a secure, off-site space to store items for which people have no room at home or the office. Everything from recreational vehicles to boxes of documents is placed in self-storage units. Many units are constructed with a simple metal panel wall, shared with its neighbor, and a roll-up type door. Access is from a driveway that runs along the front of the units.
These units become hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and, depending on the region, are very dry or very humid. The interiors of the units do not protect against these environmental changes. Unfortunately, many of the items people want to store these days can be harmed by such a changeable climate.
- Climate-controlled self-storage is created using the same metal frame as a traditional self-storage unit with the addition of insulation, ventilation, and interior access.
- Climate-controlled units are located inside a building which is kept at a relatively constant temperature and/or humidity.
- The interior location of the units allows you to control the temperature and air flow around and through the units and hallways.
- Climate control minimizes the environmental changes from open doors and changes in the weather.
The interior temperature is kept well above freezing and below 100 degrees F. Typically the environment is kept at 55 degrees to 85 degrees F with 55% humidity. Some facilities have a narrower range, 65 to 75 degrees C and 40% to 50% humidity.
Other terms for climate-controlled self-storage are temperature controlled or humidity controlled. A facility may offer one, the other, or both.
Materials That Need Climate Controlled Self-Storage
Not all materials are stable in changing temperatures or in moisture-rich environments. For example:
- Wood warps and cracks in high humidity and during extreme temperature changes.
- Leather cracks if it becomes too dry or in extreme temperature changes.
- Photographs tend to stick together in high humidity.
- Fabric can mold and mildew or become musty.
- Metals can corrode from high humidity.
Electronics, sporting equipment, metal appliances, and bedding are all items that keep better at stable temperatures and humidity. Other property requiring a stable climate can include artwork, musical instruments, and wine.
Electronic circuits can corrode due to moisture as the device sits in storage. The delicate circuit chips and the metal wiring rusts or becomes covered with dust, requiring extensive repair or replacement later.
The wood of guitars, violins, and pianos will warp. Strings stretch, and retract. Poor storage impacts the tone of the instrument or even prevents it from playing. Metal instruments and pads can corrode without the proper oiling and storage. Electronic keyboards and other devices run the same risk as any other electronic device when the climate changes rapidly, to extremes, or becomes too wet.
Paper can become brittle in an overly dry environment, mold and rot in a humid one, and become home or breakfast for pests in units that cannot protect against insects and rodents. Furniture covered in fabric and items such as mattresses become moldy and mildewed if they get wet and never dry properly. Furniture and clothing are also excellent places for varmints to take up residence.
Climate-controlled self-storage protects all of these types of materials.
Benefits of Climate-Controlled Storage
One advantage of climate-controlled storage is the cost savings. If you can store something and keep it from damage, you will probably spend less on storage rental than you would when replacing the item. This is especially true for more expensive items but storing Christmas decorations so that they won't get broken or moldy can save you from buying new ornaments, lights, and tinsel every year.
- Wood suffers little to no damage due to extreme temperatures. Freeze/thaw cycles can cause wood to expand and contract resulting in warping, weakening, splitting and cracking.
- Climate control prevents yellowing and degradation of leather, fabric, and clothing caused by exposure to heat, cold, and the elements.
- Visits to the unit are more comfortable due to superior air quality and privacy you get with an interior access unit.
- Units are cleaner; less dust and dirt get into interior units compared to basic storage. Air is filtered as it's circulated and nothing gets blown into the unit from an exterior door.
- Better overall security; typically, the entry doors are locked after hours to keep non-tenants out. Many facilities have numerous security cameras set up for surveillance as well.
- You have more protection from flooding, especially if your unit is above the main floor.
The demand for climate-controlled self-storage continues to grow. Modern houses lack quality storage space and regions of extreme temperatures and moisture generally create a poor environment for storing items in the attic or basement. Many renters are happy to pay a slightly higher rental rate to keep their belongings from damage.