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.