Do I Need a Unit with Climate Control?

Jon Fesmire | October 6, 2020 @ 12:00 AM

Whether or not you need climate-controlled storage is a great question, one we hear frequently at Storelocal. You may be looking at unit listings and seeing drive-up units with no climate control and indoor units with climate control listed together.

There’s an obvious advantage to drive-up units. You can drive your vehicle right up to them to unload or pick up your things. Climate-controlled units, on the other hand, are indoors, so you need to park, get a hand truck, and haul your stuff into a building, perhaps up an elevator or down a long hallway, and get it into your unit. Plus, those units with climate control rent for about 30% more!

Then again, you know how much more comfortable you feel in a place with air conditioning. Your things can’t feel, but do they get any sort of benefit from the self-storage equivalent.

The short answer is a resounding yes. Let’s explore why.

What’s Your Climate Like?

If you live somewhere with a mild climate, where it rarely gets up to 90 degrees or down to 40, where it’s never too humid or too dry for comfort, you may be one of the lucky few people who live somewhere that can do without climate control entirely.

However, most places in the U.S. tend toward the hot side and regularly get hot and humid in the summer, toward the low side and typically have cold, dry weather, or have true seasons and get hot and humid in the summer and cold and dry in the winter.

If you live somewhere that hits freezing or below or gets to over 90 degrees, climate control is practically a must. Even in the dry Arizona heat, it can protect your stuff.

Why Is Climate-Control So Important?

The four weather states we just mentioned, heat, cold, humidity, and dryness, can all negatively affect your belongings and cause damage, often irreversible.

These states can harm antiques, art, electronics, books, and other paper items, clothing, leather, appliances, furniture, photographs, musical instruments, wine, metal, and media like CDs, hard and flash drives.

Many of those items are made of wood or wood products, which can dry out and crack, or get damp and become soft. During humid summers, mold and mildew can also begin to grow on all sorts of surfaces. Metal items can rust. Leather can also crack or get too damp. Electronics have small parts of varying materials that can warp at different rates and break. Heat can cause film and other analog media to break down faster.

Although storage facilities do their best to stop pests, moisture can attract rodents and bugs, which can then chew on your clothes, leather, paper, canvas, wood, and even your cardboard boxes.

If all this sounds dire, it can be. This is why climate control exists, to protect your items from all these hazards.

What Are the Temperature and Humidity Ranges for Climate Control?

So, how does climate control change the conditions inside a storage unit? It’s both like and unlike air conditioning. While your AC is meant to keep you comfortable, climate control is meant to protect your goods. Depending on your preference, you may keep your AC between about 67 to 72 degrees. Climate control has a wider range, usually from 50 to 80 degrees, although some facilities like to keep that tighter, so feel free to ask.

The humidity in a unit is generally kept between 30% and 50%, just right to make sure your things neither dry out nor get damp.

What Else Should I Consider?

Two other factors in deciding whether or not you need climate control are how long you plan to keep your stuff in storage, and what time of year it is. If you know you’re going to rent a unit for only a month or two, and it’s the middle of Spring or Fall when the weather is mild, you can probably get away with renting a standard unit.

However, if you plan to keep your things there long-term, such as four months or more, or even if you’re not sure but you might, then we highly recommend that climate control.

Even if you plan on the short term option during a mild season, some items are too valuable to put at risk. For us, that includes things with a high sentimental value, fine art, collections, antique furniture, baby books, and so on.

If you’re renting a unit for your business, you’ll want to keep your company items in great condition. A self storage unit is a great place to keep inventory, samples, yearly decorations, business records, and so on. You don’t want to head over to pick up an item for a customer only to find it moldy or cracked.

You can rent a unit with us now, online, whether or not you need climate control, and make more room at home or in your office. Remember that if you have any questions, we’re here to help.