What Is Climate-Controlled Storage?
A Climate-controlled storage unit is kept at a temperature between 55 and 85 degrees (F). In general, climate-controlled storage is beneficial for storing valuable or environmentally-sensitive items. Climate-controlled storage units are almost always indoor, and with stable temperatures and humidity levels, your valuables will be better protected from damage in long-term storage.
Do I Need Climate Control?
Rule of Three
In deciding whether you need climate-controlled storage, consider these three factors:
- Where are you storing your items?
- What kind of items are you storing?
- How long will you be storing these items?
Where are you storing your items?
Consider using climate-controlled storage if you plan to store your items in a region that experiences extreme heat, cold, or humidity. Scroll over your state to see what conditions your belongings will need to endure.
General Rule: If you don’t want your belongings to endure temperatures in degrees over 90 or below 32, put them in climate-controlled storage.
Extreme Heat can melt and warp important items like vinyl records, CDs, and DVDs. It can also cause wooden furniture to expand and crack. Extreme heat is also hard on wine, causing it to turn brown or cloudy.
Extreme heat is likely to occur in the Southwest, Southeast, and most of the Midwest. Consult the map below to see if your state is at risk for extreme heat.
Extreme cold puts your belongings at risk of freezing. If any of your items retain moisture, they are liable to contract, expand, and crack in cold temperatures.
Extreme cold is likely to affect your storage in the northern half of the country: the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, most of the Rocky Mountain region, East North Central near the Great Lakes, New England, and Mid-Atlantic states. Refer to the map below to see if your state is at risk of extreme cold.
Extreme humidity can turn your storage unit into a breeding ground for mold, mildew, bacteria, and unwanted small pests. Fortunately, climate-controlled storage units maintain a clean, dry environment.
Extreme humidity is a risk to the Pacific Coast and the Eastern half of the country, including the Midwest, South and Southwest regions, Eastern North Central states around the Great Lakes, Eastern South Central, South Atlantic, and Mid-Atlantic states, as well as New England. See the map below to see if your state is at risk of extreme humidity.
What Items are You Storing?
If the items you plan to store are temperature-sensitive or of high sentimental value, strongly consider keeping them in climate-controlled storage. Below are some common items that often need climate-controlled storage.
Wood– Wooden objects like tables, chairs, and stringed instruments are susceptible to damage in both extreme heat and extreme cold. In heat, it can expand and crack. In the cold, wood can contract, causing it to crack when it thaws out again.
Electronics – Computers, speakers, cameras, and most other electronic devices are damaged beyond use after long-term exposure to humidity and extreme cold.
Media – DVDs, CDs, and vinyl records all lose image or sound quality in extreme heat. If you have treasured tunes or family videos, you’ll definitely want to keep them in climate-controlled storage.
Wine – Wine cannot age properly in extreme heat. After long-term heat exposure, wine can turn brown and cloudy.
Fabric – Items like clothes, stuffed toys, and upholstered furniture are at high risk of growing mold and mildew in a humid environment.
Metal – Moist air, especially when combined with extremely hot or cold temperatures, is a recipe for rust.
Paper – Books, newspapers, and photographs can yellow and fade in extreme temperatures, and can be ruined altogether while exposed to prolonged humidity.
How Long Will Your Belongings Be in Storage?
If you still aren’t sure whether or not you need climate-controlled storage, consider how long your belongings will be there. If the answer is one month or less, your items will likely be fine. Any longer than that will put your items at greater risk of damage from heat, cold, or humidity.
Strongly Consider Climate-Controlled Storage if:
You don’t know how long your belongings will be in storage.
For one reason or another, you suddenly don’t have room for all of your furniture or belongings and you don’t know when you will have space for them again. If you are storing things indefinitely, play it safe and use climate-controlled storage.
You’re storing things year-round.
If your belongings, such as winter clothes and indoor Christmas decorations, are going to spend more time in storage than out of storage, consider climate-controlled storage. These items were intended for indoor use, and will sustain damage from months of exposure to heat, cold, and humdity.
Your belongings have high sentimental value.
Put your important belongings, such as heirlooms and old photographs, in climate-controlled storage regardless of region and type of item. Remember that some items can be expensive and often impossible to replace.
You probably don’t need climate controlled storage if:
You’re between places.
If your belongings will only be in storage around a month, regular storage will likely be fine. In fact, you may find outdoor storage to be more convenient as you can often drive right up to your unit to load your belongings to take to the next place.
Frequently Ask Questions about Climate-Controlled Storage
Do most storage facilities have climate-controlled storage?
Climate-controlled storage is common, but is usually found at facilities with interior storage units. Storage facilities with only exterior or drive up storage units will typically not offer climate control.
Do all storage unit sizes have climate control?
The larger the storage unit, the less likely that climate control is offered. 10x20 and larger storage units are typically exterior storage units, and won't have climate control. 10x15 and smaller storage units can often be found in the interior of a building, and are more likely to offer climate control.
Do climate-controlled storage units cost more?
Yes. Climate-controlled storage units in cities with a population of 450,000 tend to cost 20-30% more than regular storage units of the same size. In major cities like New York City, Dallas, and Los Angeles, climate-controlled storage can cost 60-75% more than a regular unit of the same size.
Can you control the temperature of your climate-controlled storage unit?
In almost all cases you cannot control the temperature yourself. The temperature is usually kept between 55 and 85 degrees (F).