Do You Need Climate-Controlled Storage?

When you rent a self-storage unit, one thing you have to decide is if you want the unit to have climate control. While it's a nice feature to have, it isn't always necessary. Here are some pointers to help you decide if you need it.

Clothing Can Mold In High Humidity

You may want climate control if you plan to store clothing in the storage unit, especially if the clothing is fragile or valuable. High humidity levels encourage the growth of mold, and mold thrives on natural fibers. Mold and mildew will ruin your clothing, and you may not want to risk it if you store a lot of clothing or clothing worth a lot of money. Some clothes, such as furs and those made from vintage fabrics, are so delicate that they need special storage. They should be kept in a cool, dry storage locker rather than a self-storage unit, even if it does have climate control. If you do want to put seasonal clothing in a storage unit and not opt for climate control, then hang the clothes if possible so air can circulate freely around them.

Temperature Fluctuations Can Damage Wood

Wood swells and contracts along with changes in temperature and humidity. You probably want climate control if you plan to store valuable items made of wood such as musical instruments and antique furniture. Without climate control, your wood furniture may develop cracks, or the movement of wood may cause paint to bubble or peel. Consider the season when storing wood belongings. If you are storing things for the short term during the spring or fall, they may do fine without climate control. But if they will be in storage all year through hot and humid summer days as well as the freezing cold winter months, you may want to go with climate control to avoid damage to your expensive furniture and valuable collectibles.

Documents Do Better In Low Humidity

Paper documents are made from natural fibers, so they can mold when stored in high humidity. Unless you have business documents, you may not have many paper items to put in storage anyway. However, if you plan to store old family photos until you get around to organizing them or other documents that are valuable or important, then you may want to keep them in your home instead or opt for a unit with climate control. Business documents are usually very important, so they should be stored in a unit that is kept dry and protected so the paper doesn't degrade over time or become destroyed by mildew and mold.

If you plan to store mostly tools or other equipment you'd normally keep in a garage or shed, then climate control isn't necessary. However, when you compare costs, you'll find climate control doesn't cost a whole lot more, so you may want to buy it just to have peace of mind knowing your belongings won't freeze in the winter and be subjected to sweltering heat in the summer.