Climate-controlled storage is a way to store your belongings that keeps the temperature controlled throughout the year to protect items from exposure to extreme temperatures in summer and winter.
Climate-controlled storage is typically kept at a standard room temperature, though there are additional forms of environmental control for storage units that may fit your needs — humidity control, cold storage or specialized storage for items easily influenced by temperature, like wine or cigar storage.
Climate-controlled storage is, for many items, the best way to keep household goods or beloved keepsakes from getting damaged. However, the added cost can be prohibitive, especially if you’re storing many items for a long period of time.
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Here’s what you need to know about climate-controlled storage:
Companies That Offer Climate-Controlled Storage
Climate-controlled storage is available across the country by storage companies big and small, but not every facility offers units with climate control.
Additionally, the size and availability of climate-controlled space may be limited depending on where the storage facility is located, either due to lack of space for these indoor units or due to high demand for better protection from the elements. Storage facility locator and comparison site Storage.com reports on its website that 10-by-20-foot storage units and larger are less likely to have climate control. If you need more space to store all your items in a climate-controlled setting, you may need to consider renting more than one smaller-size storage unit.
Here are several companies with storage facilities nationwide that offer climate-controlled storage in at least some facilities:
— Life Storage.
— Metro Self Storage.
— Extra Space Storage.
— Public Storage.
Each company’s website can offer more information about the locations of climate-controlled storage near you. If your choice of company depends on proximity to you, sites like SelfStorage.com or Storage.com provide consumers with free search options for locations throughout the U.S. with climate control across multiple brands.
Before you book a storage unit, confirm the space you reserve is climate controlled to avoid issues when you arrive at the location to unload your belongings.
Typical Cost of Climate-Controlled Storage
Storage costs all vary by company, location, size of unit and additional factors, like climate control, added security or ground-level access. Compared to traditional storage units that don’t offer any temperature control, expect climate-controlled storage to be more expensive.
Moving advice and review company Move.org reports that the average climate-controlled storage unit costs between $75 and $225 per month, compared to the $60 to $180 range of a standard storage unit. The cost of the storage unit depends on where you live and the size of the unit you rent — storage in a major city will be far more expensive than in a small town.
Storage.com reports that climate-controlled storage units will cost 20% to 30% more than standard storage in an area with a population less than 450,000 people, while in major cities you can expect to pay as much as 60% to 75% more.
If the added cost of climate-controlled storage is outside your budget, you may be able to find a storage facility that offers some additional protection from extreme weather conditions, but it’s probably best to avoid items that are easily damaged by heat or cold in those spaces.
“Although U-Haul uses dehumidifiers at many locations as a service to our customers to help protect their possessions, U-Haul considers these spaces non-climatized self-storage,” Dennis O’Connor, vice president of storage operations for U-Haul, wrote in an email. He adds that climate-controlled storage also controls humidity levels in storage spaces.
Items That Belong in Climate-Controlled Storage
How do you know if you need climate-controlled storage? If you’re moving and storage is a short-term solution, most things can last a brief period of time in standard storage. For prolonged periods, however, take stock of what’s going in there to determine the type of storage you need.
“Think of it this way: Non-climate rooms are perfect for items that you typically would store in your basement, garage or shed,” O’Connor says. “However, items that are more delicate and sensitive to humidity and weather should be stored in a unit that has climate control. These rooms provide a consistent temperature range all year, protecting your belongings from extremes and harmful humidity.”
To avoid damage to your belongings, climate-controlled storage is ideal for the following items:
— Wood furniture. Wood will expand and crack in extreme heat, and humidity can cause wood to warp or grow mold.
— Metal. High humidity leads to rust on metal items.
— Electronics. Extreme heat and cold or high humidity will shorten the life of electronics, or ruin them completely.
— DVDs, CDs and vinyl records. Picture and sound quality deteriorate when these items are not kept around room temperature.
— Plastic. Extreme heat might melt plastic, while the cold can crack it as well.
— Wax. Unless you’re OK with melted wax, keep candles in storage that won’t get particularly hot.
— Antiques. Fragile and old pieces of furniture, toys or art can be damaged in extreme heat or cold.
— Photos. Temperature fluctuations can cause photos to fade, and humidity can damage the images further.
— Keepsakes and collectibles. If you place high sentimental value on any item, it’s safest being kept in climate-controlled storage as opposed to traditional storage.
— Books, magazines and newspapers. These will get soft and possibly moldy in humid conditions, and images or print will fade when exposed to high heat and below-freezing temperatures.
— Art. Paintings can crack when exposed to extreme temperatures, and humidity can encourage mold growth.
— Musical instruments. Wood instruments will warp in the heat and cold, while a metal instrument can rust in high humidity.
— Medical supplies. Especially if you’re planning to use these medical supplies in the future, protect their integrity by keeping them from warping, cracking or otherwise being rendered useless in uncontrolled storage.
— Cosmetics. Heat and cold will crack, melt or dry out cosmetics to the point that they can’t be used anymore.
— Clothing and linens. Anything made of fabric, including upholstered furniture, risks growing mold in a humid setting.
— Personal or business records. Key documents like a birth certificate, Social Security card and medical or financial records probably shouldn’t go into storage at all, but they definitely belong in a place where they won’t be damaged by humidity or faded by extreme temperatures.
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Do You Need Climate-Controlled Storage for Your Belongings? originally appeared on usnews.com