Storing electronics has its own challenges. Electronics covers a broad range of items; each type require their own storage needs. At one time electronics was a small selection of items like televisions, radios, and computers. Today there are electronic components in most of the items we use on a regular basis. Now it includes refrigerators, coffee pots, washers, dryers, air fryers, game systems as well as the traditional items. Therefore, it is best to store electronics according to manufactures recommendations. What if the original paperwork is missing or gone. There is some general guidance that can keep expensive electronics safe during storage.
Prepare For Storage
Firstly, if it has data and can be backed up, do it. Nothing is worse than storing a drive or gaming system and something happens during storage that wipes out the saved games, data, or digital photos. In other words, the best practice before storing electronics is to back them up if possible.
Secondly, before storing electronics they should be cleaned. Use a can of compressed air known as “canned air” and blow the dust and dirt from all electronic components. This may require removing the cover to access cooling fans and circuit boards. If not comfortable removing the cover take to a local technician who can clean it before storage. Next wipe down all screens with an antistatic cleaner. This will prevent dust from sticking to the screen while in storage.
Next, remove all cords, wipe them down to clean. Label and store the cords either in a separate tote or use a Ziplock bag and keep them with the electronic equipment it goes to. Use the method that works best for you.
Lastly, when storing electronics protect them. During transport and moving into the storage area is when the biggest risk of damage can occur. Bubble wrap provides an extra layer of protection. Cover all vents or access points to prevent dust from invading the equipment. If the original packaging is available this would be the best way to protect the electronics during storage. Keeping electronics protected should be the top priority.
Choosing Correct Storage
To store electronic equipment properly a few simple questions will decide the correct storage choice. What is the climate like? What time of year is it being stored? How long will it be stored? These are all important questions to ask before deciding where to store electronics.
Firstly, is it hot and humid where the electronics will be stored. If the answer is yes, only store electronics in climate-controlled storage. Moisture is bad for electronic equipment. It will cause corrosion, rust, short-circuiting when the device is used again. Humidity can cause an array of malfunctioning on electronic parts. Therefore, if storing electronics in humid climates only use climate control storage.
Next, what if the climate is cold or storage will be over freezing winter months? Most electronics are better off stored in cool, dry environments. The only exception to this general rule is if there is a chance of freezing. Do not store where freezing may occur. Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) have the greatest risk of freezing which causes irreversible damage. LCD are commonly used for flat screen televisions, computer monitors, digital cameras, and camcorders, plus an array of handheld video game systems. Other places LCDs are used is for video projection equipment and electronic billboards. Chances are the screen on the refrigerator, stove, clock, or DVD player are all LCD. Protecting these expensive items when in storage is important. In other words, do not store any LCD devices where there is a chance of freezing.
Lastly, how long will the electronic equipment be in storage? If it will be in storage for a long time only consider climate-controlled storage. The longer it is exposed to big temperature swings, the greater the chance for damage. As mentioned, moisture and dust are the most damaging to electronic equipment in storage. Hence the need for a climate-controlled storage unit. The unit will be regulated so no big temperature fluctuations will happen. In climate-controlled storage if will not have a chance to freeze protecting all the LCD items.
If stored improperly
What to do if electronics are stored improperly. First, allow the equipment to warm up to room temperature over a few days’ time. This will allow all the moisture that will condense on the circuits to evaporate. Next, inspect the equipment for any visible signs of damage before using. Then use canned air to remove any debris and dust from the equipment. Afterwards, clean the unit to prevent mold and mildew from growing in the warmer temperatures. Lastly, plug in and watch for any malfunctions before putting back into use. Monitor for the next several days for any changes in functionality. If it malfunctions unplug and replace before it becomes a fire hazard. In other words, use caution when using electronics that have been stored improperly.
To summarize, storing electronics properly requires a little knowledge about the environment in which it is being stored, plus some simple maintenance to prevent damage. When we know that dust, moisture, and temperature play a vital role in keeping electronics safe, storing properly becomes a necessity. Protect your electronic investment with proper storage.
Is Humidity Control an important consideration for climate controlled self storage?
What is humidity control?
Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air. It can’t be seen with the naked eye but it exists in the form of vapor. The amount of water vapor the air contains determines the humidity level. When the levels of moisture in the air are too high or too low damage can occur to your property in self storage. Humidity control is an important consideration for many reasons when looking for a climate controlled self storage unit in Bangor Maine. Each end of the spectrum of humidity has its own special risk.
Not enough moisture and your wooden items like furniture and musical instruments can dry, split and craze. Crazing is a network of fine cracks either on the wood or in the finish which can ruin musical instruments or wooden furniture.This same dry air can damage leather goods, like jackets, pants, wallets, handbags and sports equipment. Leather is extremely porous therefore, the amount of moisture in the air plays a huge role in the pliability and integrity of leather. Too dry and your leather will crack. Static electricity becomes an issue with low humidity levels increasing the risk of damage to sensitive electronic devices. The correct amount of moisture or humidity in the air will help prevent any damage to your stored property.
Too much moisture and artwork, important documents and photographs are at risk of damage or total destruction. Keeping the moisture in the optimum range provides ample protection for paper products. With high humidity comes the risk of mold and mildew. Maintaining the correct range of humidity prevents the growth of damaging mold, mildew and bacteria. Humidity control is an important factor for the safety of your valuables. When choosing a climate controlled unit be sure they have humidity control measures in place.
What are good humidity control measures in climate control?
The best and most consistent methods have several factors involved to control humidity. First is the type and amount of insulation the building incorporates into their facility. Spray foam will control humidity and condensation, will not rot or deteriorate plus it does not attract mold. Additionally high density insulation in the roof will counter the effects of extreme cold and heat fluctuation which assist in maintaining humidity levels. Therefore there is a big reduction in moisture and heat loss in buildings using this dual insulation method. Coupling the superior insulation with a high efficiency VRF heat pump system and humidity control becomes more consistent. VRF is a “Variable Refrigerant Flow” system, which is considered to be state of the art in low energy heat pump units. VRF systems are reliable, quiet and highly efficient. A good humidity control system will maintain the moisture in the optimal range.
What is a good humidity rate or range?
Most house hygrometers, a device used to measure humidity or moisture content in a home, have the safe range from 30% to 60%. This is considered the comfort zone. Within this range there is an optimum range from 45% – 55%. In this range the air contains enough moisture to prevent drying of your stored items and not too much moisture that it produces mildew. Therefore, when looking for a humidity controlled self storage unit ideally the range they maintain should fall between 35 and 50 percent. This range will protect your wooden items, leather goods, valuable wool rugs, artwork, important documents and photographs from the damage caused by unchecked humidity changes.
A simple hygrometer like this one pictured can be purchased easily online or locally. It’s a great tool for measuring the humidity in your home! Humidity is as important in your home as it is for your self storage unit. Keep your possessions safe from the damages of unchecked humidity!
What is climate control storage and do I really need it for my possessions?
This is the most asked question when considering self storage in Ellsworth, Maine and the surrounding areas. Climate control is when the external temperature and humidity are no longer part of the equation for possible damage to your valuables. The humidity level is kept in the optimal range of 35 to 50% to prevent damage from excessive moisture or drying from too little moisture which can be devastating to wood and leather. The temperature is kept within a range relative to the outside temperature to prevent drastic temperature fluxuations. Condensation and moisture caused by this drastic change can wreak havoc on stored items.
When considering climate control ask yourself a few questions to determine if climate control is needed for your possessions. Use the chart below to help.
|Question||If the answer is yes… recommendation||If the answer is No… Recommendation|
|Will it freeze?||Climate Control Storage||Drive Up Storage|
|Is it replaceable?||Drive Up Storage||Climate Control Storage|
|Will it be stored for longer than 6 months?||Climate Control would be best esp in extreme temp fluctuation conditions||Drive up is ok for short periods|
|Is it an heirloom?||Climate Control Storage||Drive Up Storage|
|Will moisture of any kind ruin it?||Climate Control Storage||Drive Up Storage|
|Will the temperature have drastic changes during storage time?||Climate Control Storage||Drive Up Storage|
What items should always be stored in climate control to protect them?
The following list contains items highly recommended for climate control:
- Photographs ~ moisture will destroy photographs or cause them to stick together
- Artwork including refrigerator art ~ canvas, paper and wood should all be stored in climate control
- Heirlooms ~ keepsakes and valuable heirlooms will succumb to moisture ruining them
- Electronics ~ check manufacturers recommendations for storage
- Antiques ~ moisture and dryness are both enemies of antiques
- Leather goods ~ from jackets, to furniture and sports related items if it’s leather extreme heat and/or dry air will ruin them.
- Musical instruments ~ the delicate nature of instruments require the humidity controlled environment of climate control
- Important papers or documents ~ moisture is the bane of paper, it can cause destruction beyond repair in a short period of time.
- Sports Equipment ~ especially leather in nature
- Medical supplies ~ most medical supplies can freeze causing them to become useless
- Makeup and toiletries ~ lots of makeup items will freeze ruining them or moisture will destroy their usefulness.
- Art supplies and paint
- In colder climates washers and refrigerators with ice makers any water left in the lines or pump will freeze and burst causing them to leak.
In conclusion, climate control is your best option for long term storage to help prevent damage caused by extreme temperature changes and humidity levels. If your storage needs are for a short period of time drive up or conventional storage will suffice. If you have any questions ask the facility manager for their recommendations.
PRO TIP: If you opt for outside, drive up storage, stop by your unit every few weeks during the Fall and Spring months when temperature changes are the most drastic and open the door for 5 to 10 minutes allowing the air to circulate and help reduce the possibility of condensation in your unit.