Relocation Considerations: Climate-Controlled Storage [Guest Post from SelfStorageDeals.com]

What follows is a guest post from SelfStorageDeals.com:

If you’re here reading the PetRelocation.com blog, then you know that there are some things -- namely, your pets -- that are worth that little extra expense to ensure their well-being. After all, you wouldn’t just stick Fido on an un-air-conditioned truck and ship him off across the country -- you’d make sure that he was in a safe environment managed by trustworthy hands (which means you’re reading the right company’s blog).

I’d also wager that there are a few other things you value enough to go the extra mile to ensure their safety during a move, things like paintings, photographs, heirloom jewelry, antique furniture, electronics, and fur and leather clothing. And, if you’re like many people planning a move, placing these items in a storage facility is part of your process, even if it’s only for a short stint. You might be wondering how to best protect these valuables for their stay in the unit -- can you simply put them into a basic, outdoor storage locker, or do you need a climate-controlled unit?

Consider the Climate

Climate-controlled storage units are designed to keep your unit at a stable temperature between 55-80° year-round. This means that climate control is an indispensable choice for anyone living in a location where temperatures can exceed 90° or drop below freezing. But for many of your belongings, humidity is a greater danger to their well-being than temperature itself. High humidity can warp furniture, mildew important papers, paintings, photographs and clothing, and can render electronics unusable. Doing your best to help airflow through the unit with techniques like spacing items out, adding protective pads, and coating metal items with an extra layer of polish can help, but if you live in an area with high humidity then even these precautions won’t be enough -- you need climate control.

The Garage Test

Here at SelfStorageDeals.com, our customers frequently ask us whether or not they need a climate-controlled unit to guarantee the safety of their belongings. We answer their question with one of our own; we call it the ‘Garage Test.’ Would you store these items in your garage? If yes, then you’re safe with a regular storage unit. But if there’s a single item among them that you would never trust to your garage, go with climate control.

If the Garage Test still has you stumped, here’s a more detailed list of items that should be stored in climate-controlled units:

  • Electronics (including computers, audio and video                                  equipment—i.e. TVs and cameras)
  • Paintings, photographs, and important documents
  • Clothing and textiles (particularly anything fur or leather)
  • Furniture (particular any wood, leather, or cloth)
  • Media (DVDs, CDs, software, vinyl records, cassette tapes)
  • Musical instruments
  • Tools and machines

If you place any value on the above items (and you must, if you’ve been considering paying for storage in the first place), they really ought to be kept in a climate-controlled unit.

Other Perks of Climate Control

Climate-controlled facilities are easily discernible from those without climate control, primarily because each unit is typically housed within the same multistory building rather than being spread out in long, single-story rows. This is because each unit itself doesn’t feature its own air-conditioner (which would be terribly inefficient), but rather is tied into the building’s central air system. Such a set-up comes with a few extra perks -- the benefits of a more contained and controlled environment.

Such facilities are typically lit, which means you may access them at night (though you should confirm with your facility first) and that you won’t be fumbling around in your shadowy 10x15 unit. Because they’re all contained within one building it’s easier for the staff to monitor security, and facilities like these are more likely to have cameras, fire alarms, sprinklers, and electronic security systems. They’re far better protected against flooding and snow damage, as well as the intrusion of insects and vermin (as well as other human beings). Finally, since there’s an extra enclosed hallway between the entrance to your unit and the outside world, your items are almost guaranteed to stay cleaner.

Finding Climate-Controlled Storage

The internet has made cheap climate controlled storage units easier to find than ever. But if you’re just driving around your neighborhood to take a look, remember that facilities that spread out in single-story rows (much like airplane hangars) usually do not feature climate controlled-units. If you see a facility that is mostly contained within a single, enclosed (likely multistory) building, then you can almost be sure that they’ll have climate-controlled units on offer.

Brian Shreckengast is a writer at SelfStorageDeals.com, the price-focused search engine for finding cheap self-storage units.

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