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Top 13 Self-Storage Questions and Their Answers

Smiling woman with questions about self storage
Frequently asked questions about self-storage

Self-storage questions commonly asked by a first-time renter. Self-storage is a great solution if extra space is needed. However, if it is your first time you may have several questions about self-storage. Questions like; what is the difference between drive up and climate-controlled units? What type of identification is needed? What is not allowed to be stored? These questions are often asked by new renters and their answers can be found below.  

What is the difference between drive up and climate-controlled storage?

Typically, a drive-up storage unit is also called a traditional storage unit. This means an enclosed outside building with a garage-type door for each unit. The renter can drive up to the door and access the unit. Traditional storage units have no heat or cooling methods.  

Climate-controlled units are found inside a building and are regulated for temperature and humidity. These units have the same type of doors but are enclosed inside a large building. The temperature is watched and is best for items sensitive to heat and humidity such as photos, antiques, and musical instruments. 

Other types of storage are outside parking which is exactly as it says. A parking spot inside the gate for protection. Other types can be covered parking which would have a roof over the parking spot. Bomarc Self Storage does not offer covered parking and has limited availability on outside parking spots with time constraints due to winter snow removal.  

What size units are offered? 

Drive up storage typically starts at the small size of a 5×10 (which is the least expensive) and ranges to the larger size of a 10×30. In between these two sizes are the other sizes found such as 10×10, 10×15, and 10×20. Some places offer oversized storage spaces with higher-than-normal ceilings and extra width in a 12×20 or a 12×30 size.  

Climate-controlled storage ranges from the smallest size of a 5×5 (the least expensive) unit to the largest unit of 10×20(the most expensive). The sizes in between these two are 5×10, 10×5, 10×10, and 10×15. Traditionally the ceilings are higher in a climate-controlled building than in the outside drive-up units.  

What will fit in a storage unit? 

Each size will hold a specific number of belongings. The best gauge is the size guide on our website: https://bomarcselfstorage.com/what-size-unit/what-fits. The industry standard is a universal guide, a 5×10 is like the size of a walk-in closet. A 10×10 will hold the contents of a 1-bedroom place. Then the 10×15 will typically hold the contents of a 2-bedroom place. Lastly, a 10×20 will hold the contents of a 3–4-bedroom place. It is best to rent a unit one size larger than you think you need. Especially if there is any question about fitting all the possessions in a unit or if you have extra furnishings, or oversized items. When talking about self-storage, it is in your best interest to have more space than not enough.

What kind of padlock do I need? 

When it comes to security, a good padlock is needed. A standard padlock works to satisfy the lease requirements but what if you want more protection? The disc lock is recommended by most insurance companies offering self-storage rental insurance. Read the insurance form carefully as they all require a certain type of lock for their coverage to be valid. Disc locks are recommended because they are difficult to cut quickly. It requires a noisy grinder and thieves like to be quiet. There are many diverse types of padlocks on the market from simple key locks to ones that require pass codes to unlock them. Finding one you feel your possessions are safer with would be the best one to choose.  

What type of ID is needed to rent a storage space?

At Bomarc Self Storage you must be at least 18 years old and provide us with a form of government-issued identification such as a State Driver’s License or state issued ID. Another form of identification would be a passport. 

How do I pay for Self-Storage?

We like to offer a wide range of payment options to make paying for your storage unit a breeze. At Bomarc Self Storage you can come in to pay in person, drop a check in our convenient Drop-Box, pay over the phone, use our easy online payment portal or use AutoPay to never forget your payment again. We accept money orders, checks, American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa at all our locations.

Do I need insurance? 

Many self-storage facilities require insurance to store your items with them. We highly recommend buying an insurance policy while your items are being stored. The coverage is an added piece of mind for your possessions against unforeseen incidences such as break-ins, storm damage, structure failure, or other emergencies. We offer insurance or you can check with your homeowners or renters’ policies to see if they cover off-site storage. If not, we can add storage insurance at any time.  

When can I move my stuff in? 

Once you have signed a lease you will have access to the facility. If you are renting online, you will receive a secondary email with how to access the gate. If you are renting in person, you will receive personal instructions on the gate process as well as directions to your unit. In other words, as soon as the lease is signed you have access.

What hours do I have access to the facility? 

Bomarc Self Storage allows 24/7 access to the facility with your secure gate code. Each code is unique to a renter. For example, one code might be 4 digits long and another 10 digits long. The best part is you choose a code that is easy for you to remember. Our staff is available M-F 9am to 5pm to answer your questions and help you. All locations are well lite with 24/7 video surveillance and keypad access only.  

May I look at a unit before deciding? 

 “May I see a Unit?” is one of the most often asked questions at Bomarc Self Storage. Most self-storage facilities will offer a tour during business hours. We recommend calling our friendly staff and scheduling a tour. We offer tours 9am to 5pm Monday through Fridays. 

What kind of notice do I give when I am moving out? 

Each storage facility will have its own requirement for a move out notice. Some are 30 days and others are 15-day notices. However, Bomarc Self Storage only needs a 10-day written notice before vacating a unit. To make it easier for our tenants and their busy lifestyles, an email notice is the best choice. A quick simple email that states “I will no longer need my unit after” works the best.  

What security measures are in place here? 

All the Bomarc Self Storage facilities have cameras, keypad access to the gate, and lots of lights for nighttime security. Our facilities with climate control have keypad access only to the buildings. Each person has their own unique code. During the day on site staff bring an added layer of protection.

Are there restrictions on what can go in a unit? 

Most self-storage facilities will have a list of items that are not acceptable as storage items. These are money, priceless jewelry, firearms ammunition, and perishables. At Bomarc Self Storage our list includes food items like sugar, flour, cereal, rice etc. This list extends out to dry cat food, dog food or wild bird seed. Rodents are attracted to these items, and we do all we can do to discourage a rodent population. Our pest control guys would be incredibly grateful for your help in this fight. We also do not allow toxic chemicals, explosives or any living in the units.  

Each storage place will have its own list of items not allowed. They may have different security measures in place as well. Therefore, it is best to call and ask these questions before renting a unit. 

How To Prepare Furniture For Storage

How to prepare furniture for storage especially for long term storage.

Preparing furniture for storage is critical. Furniture is expensive. Not preparing it properly before storing, will ruin the furniture. Who has the extra money to replace ruined furniture. There are several things that can be done to prevent damage. As with anything going into storage, furniture takes a little prep work. Firstly, knowing what types of materials the furniture is made from is important. Next, what types of cleaners work best on the material. Then the proper way to clean it. Lastly, once it is cleaned and dried what final steps can be taken to protect the furniture going into self-storage. Therefore, preparing furniture for storage will help save your investment.  

Materials: 

Furniture comes in many styles and materials. First it is important to know what type of material before cleaning. For example, wood requires a few steps, but plastic or plastic resin furniture is a wash and dry method.  

Wood requires cleaning and polishing to be prepared for storage.

Wood furniture should be dusted first with a damp cloth. Next, wash with a mild solution of soap and water. Murphy’s oil soap is a great cleaner for all types of wood. Then allow to thoroughly air dry. Lastly, oil or polish furniture. Cleaning ensures that no contaminants like food or mold and mildew follow your furniture into storage where unchecked they can damage wood.  

Resin or plastic furniture should be dusted first. The best method is with a vacuum cleaner and the soft bristled brush attachment. Especially as most resin furniture is textured. Next mix a solution of mild detergent and water. Hose down the furniture and then wash with the solution. Then rinse thoroughly and allow to completely air dry. If the hose option is not feasible, hand wash the furniture. Then use a sponge and clear water to rinse. Be sure to rinse sponge several times to remove all the detergent.  

Metal furniture is easy. Inspect for rust and remove as this will continue to oxidize during storage. Next, wash with a mild non-detergent soap, rinse, and completely dry before storage. If the rust removal took place, repaint the damaged area to further protect the metal.  

Leather furniture should be stored in climate controlled; leather is extremely porous and will succumb to moisture and heat. If climate controlled is not available be sure to use a good leather cleaner and follow with a great conditioner. Accessing the storage unit a few times a month will allow fresh air to circulate through the unit helping keep the unit dryer.  

Cushions or Fabrics: 

Cushions come in two kinds, removable covers and non removeable. If the cover is removable, remove it and wash in the washing machine. Then prepare a solution of mild soap and water in a bucket. Wash the inserts and rinse thoroughly squeezing as much water as possible from them. Allow them to air dry. It is particularly important to allow them to dry completely. They will mildew in storage if not completely dry.  

Non removable covers take a little extra work. Sometimes the best option is to use an upholstery cleaner, for the fabrics that can be cleaned with one. If after the patch test the material shows it should not be cleaned with an upholstery cleaner, it will require hand washing. A patch test is recommended if the material has never been cleaned before with an upholstery cleaner. The patch test consists of testing a small area first to see if it damages the material.  

preparing furniture for storage may require upholstery cleaning.

If a patch test shows you cannot use upholstery cleaner follow these steps to clean the cushions. First, brush any crumbs, dirt, or loose material from the cushion. Next, mix a solution of mild soap and warm water. Then wet the cushion and brush gently with a soft bristled brush to remove any stains or grime. Once the exterior of the cushion is cleaned, gently submerge the cushion in the solution and squeeze. Remove from the water and rinse in clean water until there is no more soap in the cushion. Finally, allow to air dry until the cushion is thoroughly dry.  

For best storage of cushions, wrap in plastic or if they are too large then place them together and cover them with a tarp, sheet, or other covering to protect them from dust.  

Glass Tops: 

Glass comes with its own cleaning requirements. Use cotton gloves to avoid greasy fingerprints. Grease can cause mold and mildew when being stored. Clean the glass and remove it from the base if possible. Wrap the glass in a protective layer. You can use bubble wrap, furniture pads or blankets. If the top is round, use cardboard to create a box for the wrapped top. This will help prevent rolling and add an extra layer of protection.  

How to prepare furniture for storage would not be complete without talking about glass topped furniture.
Storage Hints: 

Now that the furniture is clean and thoroughly dry. Let us look at how to prepare the furniture for self-storage. First, is the furniture easy to disassemble? If it can come apart take it apart! This step will save space in storage. For example, a table taken apart will require less space to store than if it was fully assembled. Next be sure to secure all hardware to assemble the furniture in a zip lock bag and tape to the backside of the furniture. When it comes time to assemble the furniture after storage everything you need will be with the furniture.  

Next, if the furniture has drawers, such as a bureau, take them out. Moving the furniture will be easier. Once it is in storage put the drawers back. Do not forget to use that extra space for storage! This will provide an extra layer of protection for fragile items. To utilize this space, wrap fragile items in bubble wrap and pack into the drawer, then close the drawer. Any added layer of protection for fragile items is a bonus! 

Lastly, for items such as couches, cover the couch with a sheet, or other covering. This will help keep the couch from getting dusty. Also, it is best to add a dryer sheet or two to help keep the couch smelling fresh. When the items come out of storage allowing them to spend a little time in the fresh air and sunshine will assist in freshening them up.  

Added protection: 

During the moving process damage can occur to furniture. Things like scraps to the finish, a leg can break off, or any number of things can happen. One of the best ways to prevent damage is to use furniture blankets. These handy blankets will protect finishes and can be used as covers in storage to prevent scratches and dust.

preparing furniture for storage may require furniture pads or blankets.

Another moving must, especially for sizable items is the furniture dolly. These come in several sizes and styles to assist in moving furniture safely. One is a two-wheel dolly. These are great for moving midsized items. 

Next are little four-wheeled dollies. These can be used individually or in combinations based on the size of the furniture. They make moving bulkier pieces a breeze. Therefore, If the item is an oversized piece, consider renting a furniture dolly to assist with moving. 

flip flops are not recommended but the 4-wheel dolly is an invaluable tool in moving large pieces of furniture.

If the furniture has any value, go with a climate control unit. The units are controlled to prevent excessive temperature changes which can damage wood, leather, and other materials. When the furniture is less than valuable and will be stored for a brief period, an outside drive up or traditional storage unit will work. As always, make sure the items in self-storage are covered with a homeowners or renters insurance policy. If not, purchase it at the self-storage location.

In other words, everything done to prepare furniture for storage is a step towards protecting your investment. A little prep work and insurance goes a long way towards making sure the money spent on furniture is not wasted.  

How to Store Photographs

From Antique photos to modern digital images how to store photographs properly is important.

How to store photographs correctly is an important question. It is particularly important when trying to keep old family photos in decent shape. In today’s digital world the storage needs for images is vastly different from those of a traditional photo. Take the first images created in the early 1800’s. These images were on a polished silver or glass sheet. Therefore, they have unique needs, different than a modern photograph. Despite their differences most photographs have similar handling and storage needs. Also, there are three very damaging conditions for photo images. Avoid these conditions when storing photos of any kind. The conditions are direct sunlight, moisture, and extreme temperature changes. These all will cause damage to your stored photographs. How to store photos correctly depends on the type of photo it is.  

First, let us look at how to safely handle a photograph. When handling photographs of any type be sure to have clean dry hands. Do not touch the image. Use cotton, lint free gloves for the best protection. It is best to handle photos by their edges. Particularly because the natural oils in our fingertips will break down the photograph over time. Likewise, keep food, drinks, and children away from the images.  

Next, there are some general things you can do to protect an image. For example, use a number 2 pencil to write information on a photograph. Markers and ink pens will bleed through the image over time. Also, the chemicals in the ink will damage the image. Number 2 pencils are graphite and will not bleed though to the image and will last forever. Then protect the image in an acid free sleeve and store where the temperature and humidity are controlled. Climate Controlled Self Storage is an ideal solution for photograph storage.  

Types of Antique Photos and How to Store Them: 

Daguerreotype (/dəˈɡerəˌtīp/) 

From 1840 until 1860, these photos were popular. The mirror-like image is on a polished silver sheet. These photos are small, typically 2.75 inches by 3.5 inches, with a protective case. They are fragile and should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Direct sunlight and extreme temperatures will cause damage. Therefore, climate-controlled storage is best for these photos.  

Daguerrotype Photograph are on delicate silver polished sheets.

Ambrotype (ăm′brō-tīp′) 

From 1855 until 1865, brought the popularity of the Ambrotype photograph. The image is created on a glass sheet instead of the polished silver sheet. The other difference is that they do not have the mirror-like reflection. Plus, they are kept in a hinged case. Climate controlled storage is recommended because these images are fragile.  

Ambrotype were on glass sheets and in a small hinged case for protection.

Tintypes (ˈtintīp) 

1855 until the 1900’s, tintypes were popular. They were on iron plates instead of glass or polished silver sheets. Tintypes were durable which is why they were popular for over 30 years. The tintype started out with hinged cases but soon were kept in paper sleeves or envelopes. They had delicate surfaces that could scratch easily.  

Cartes des Visites (kärt də vēˈzēt) 

From 1859 through 1870, Cartes des Visites was in demand. Cartes des Visites are albumen printed and mounted on thick paper. Albumen printing is egg white and silver nitrate spread on a paper. This forms a light sensitive layer. A glass negative is put on the paper and light is cast over the image. These were popular during the Civil War. 

Cabinet Cards 

From 1860 through the early 1920’s, cabinet cards were the photograph of choice. They were larger than the Cartes des Visites. Although, the images were created the same way, stiffer cards were used. This allowed the photographer’s information and advertising to be applied to the back.  

In 1900, Kodak introduced the first camera to be sold to the public. This changed photography, it became a popular hobby for many. With this change came another challenge on to how to store photographs properly. 

How to Store Modern Photographs  

After the introduction of the Brownie Camera photography equipment and technology changed quickly. One thing that has not changed is the process to protect them. All the rules above still apply today to any printed photograph. With the introduction of photo albums and scrapbooks came a new threat to photos. Many of the papers or sleeves used were not archival safe. The glue in the photo corners used to secure photos to the paper caused damage. Over time better acid-free paper and photo safe glues were developed. Therefore, when shopping for an album or scrapbook check that it is acid-free. Protecting photos before storage is as important as when they are being stored.  

First let us look at storage solutions. Today there are a lot of storage containers for photos. Acid-free boxes, plastic totes, photo albums, and scrapbooks to name a few. As mentioned above, be sure to check that all options are archival safe. The last thing anyone wants is to accidentally ruin photos in storage because the wrong method was chosen.  

Next, is the proper way to store pictures in their box. Standing the photo up protects the image. Stacking the images one on top of the other causes warping and the images to stick together. Standing keeps them safe from warping over time. If the box cannot be filled so everything is standing, use a filler to keep them on their edge. If you must stack the images, only stack a few on top of each other. Always keep the negatives with the photos if one becomes damaged it can easily be replaced. Hint: using an acid-free index card as a divider helps keep the images organized and protects them from sticking together.  

Last, knowing light, moisture, and temperature all cause damage over time, choosing the best location is important. The attic is not a good place due to the wild temperature changes that happen. Likewise, the basement will have moisture issues. A closet inside the house will work but the best option is climate-controlled storage. Climate-controlled storage is kept within the correct temperature and humidity range. In other words, to protect your photos choose climate-controlled storage.  

The invention of the Brownie Camera changed photography. It was nearly 80 years before another big change evolved.

How to store instant/polaroid images. 

As photography advanced along came the instant photo. It was wildly popular because you had your image instantly or within a few minutes. The film came coated with the chemicals needed to process the image. This presented a different problem because the chemicals could dry out over time. It was recommended to refrigerate the film to slow down or prevent this from happening. Freezing the film did not extend the life of the film instead it caused the chemicals to crack inside the film. Once the picture was taken it slowly developed. The colder the film was when the photo was taken, the better the quality of the picture was after it developed. The cold film slowed down the chemical process.  

Correct storage of these instant images was important to maintaining them. It soon became apparent that light and heat where the biggest dangers. Heat and sunlight caused the images to warp and change color. If left exposed to these conditions long enough the image would disappear from the photo. Therefore, the ideal storage is in an album or upright in a box protected from light and heat. A dark closet or a climate-controlled storage unit are the best options for storing instant photos. 

How to Store Digital Photography 

In 1990 an innovative technology joined the photography family. Digital photography debuted and took the world by storm. Within ten short years it was on every cell phone. This put a camera in the hands of 7.26 billion people worldwide today. With the development of digital images, no longer did you have to wait for the film to be developed. The image was available instantly. It did not cost anything to develop it nor to share it. They could easily be manipulated with photo editing software to create stunning images.  

This overabundance of images held its own issue. How do you store so many images safely? First, each device has a storage card. It was easy to download the images onto a computer for safe storage. But was it truly safe? Computers can die and with it all your important photos. As a result, hard drives separate from the computer were developed. Now you could download all the thousands of photos onto an external hard drive and keep them safe.  

Next, there are many thoughts on the proper storage of digital images. One such rule is to keep the original SD card from the camera or phone. Use the little tab on the side to lock the card so it cannot be overwritten. This can be expensive if you take hundreds of pictures a day. Therefore, the next rule might work best for you.  

Second method is to download the images onto a computer. Organize them, then copy them onto the external hard drive. This method works best if you take many pictures every day. The thought is if you lose the SD card, the image is on your computer. If the computer dies the image is safe on your external hard drive.  

Lastly, if every image is not a keepsake for you, choose the best image or images of the day. Then delete the others. Have the best image printed or developed. Then download the images onto your external hard drive. Display your best or store them with the external hard drive. This brings up a good question, where is the best place to store an external hard drive? 

External hard drives have a few enemies. The number one is static with moisture being a close second. Store external hard drives in an anti-static storage bag. Once in the bag they can be stored anywhere. The only exception is if you are storing an original with the hard drive if so, choose an appropriate location for the safety of your original. 

Digital photography can be altered and enhanced or it can be raw and natural.
Summary 

As seen photography has been popular for hundreds of years. Therefore, preserving the images across the ages is important. Keeping all forms of photography safe is important for having images to show to future generations. The best option is climate-controlled storage to preserve the past for future generations.  

Why Spring Cleaning is Good For You

Spring cleaning is good for you so enjoy it with a little music and fun!

Why is spring cleaning good for you? Firstly, there are proven health benefits to spring cleaning. The increased movement involved in spring cleaning and the mood improvement from a clean, organized home environment all contribute to improved health. Secondly, removing pollutants will improve the air quality and improve your immune system. Lastly, spring cleaning has been proven to reduce stress. Let us face it, we can all do with a little less stress in our lives. Therefore, spring cleaning is good for you!

When Did Spring Cleaning Originate 

Spring cleaning began many centuries ago. Originally the Jewish tradition of cleaning all non-kosher items from the home before Passover was the first reference to spring cleaning. Couple that with the Chinese practice of clearing negative energy before the beginning of the Little New Year and it becomes clear spring cleaning has been around for an exceptionally long time.  

Locally, spring cleaning became a necessity during frontier times. After a long winter with candles, fireplaces, and indoor cooking the house was dusty, sooty, and stale. When the first warm spring day arrived, it prompted the settlers to open windows to the fresh air. Then to wash the long winter buildup of soot from the walls and furnishings. This practice still happens today but with many modern conveniences that make the task easier.

Health Benefits of Spring Cleaning 

Spring cleaning is good for you because of the health benefits. Whether it is the better air quality or the increased heart rate, spring cleaning improves overall health. Furthermore, it also helps your mental health!  

First, the air quality inside of a house is constantly bombarded with toxins and pollutants. Cleaning products with harsh chemicals and candles which infuse the air with scents and soot are all pollutants. Couple that with mold and mildew from being closed all winter and a house is a ticking time bomb, especially for those with allergies. Next, speaking of allergies, dust, pet dander, mold, and mildew build up over the winter months. Clearing the home of this buildup will help reduce the allergens inside a home. Thus, making the air easier to breath. In other words, the pollution inside a home can be worse than outside. Spring cleaning helps cut pollution inside a home.  

Second, Spring cleaning increases movement and cardiovascular health is improved. This movement also helps alleviate depression and stress. Spring cleaning is good for you and your health.  

Lastly, Spring cleaning has been shown to increase focus and productivity. When the house is in order and clutter has been removed it is easier to focus which increases productivity. Therefore, spring cleaning your office or workspace will help your job. Why spring cleaning is good for you becomes clear when we look at each benefit closer.  

Allergy Relief with Spring Cleaning 

Over the winter months, dust from the furnace, mold in damp places, dander from any pets builds up and can trigger an allergy attack. Spring cleaning clears these contaminants from the living space which will reduce the possibility of an allergy attack. Damp places like the bathroom and basement can increase mold and mildew in a home. Taking some extra time cleaning all this out can reduce the chances of an allergic reaction. Furthermore, removing these contaminants from the air will boost your immune system which can lessen an allergic reaction.  

Once the house is cleaned there are several things you can do to help keep the allergens down. Regular vacuuming and dusting help keep the top allergens to a minimum. Also consider adding a few easy-care air purifying plants to your home.  

Spring Cleaning Work out 

After a long winter, anything you do to increase your activity is a bonus to your health. Therefore, turn your spring-cleaning activities into a workout. First, dress in some comfortable clothes. Next, choose some of your favorite music and crank the tunes. Moving to the music while washing walls and cleaning the ceiling fan increases movement. This in turn creates a feeling of well-being and reduces stress. Hint: if you want to go hard core add weights to your wrist and ankles!  

Have a Spring-Cleaning Plan  

Find a method that works best for you. Maybe start in one room and go from top to bottom cleaning the entire room before moving on. Alternatively, another method would be to work in the worst area and go from there. It might be best to tackle the worse area first when you have more energy. Imagine the feeling of accomplishment when the worst room is finished!  

Decide ahead of time if you are just cleaning or are you decluttering at the same time. Because Spring cleaning is the best time to declutter. Time constraints may prevent you from decluttering but seriously consider it as tearing things apart once is better than doing it twice.  

If you opt for decluttering have donation boxes ready. Mark each box with the place the contents will be donated to. This saves you time when it comes time to deliver the donations. Consider a self-storage unit for the items you no longer use but want to keep. Next, be honest when you go through the contents of your house. Nothing will change if everything goes back. Also, throw away anything that is broken. A neat, organized space creates peace, increases productivity, and creativity. Therefore, you can apply the same principle to your workspace.  

Summary 

Even though Spring cleaning has its roots far in the past, the health benefits are still relevant today. Therefore, take some time and plan a spring cleaning. The health benefits are as important today as they were then. It could be said the benefits are more important today as we live in a vastly different world than our ancestors did. In other words, start your Spring-cleaning project today. Your house and your body will thank you!  

Heat Pump Dryers

Heat pump dryers help protect your clothes from extreme heat

Heat pump dryers are new in the United States, but heat pump dryers have been in use in Europe for a while now. Heat pump technology has been around since the 1940’s and has evolved. Now many appliances in the home have this technology. Whether it is a heating/cooling system, hot water heaters or a heat pump dryer this technology is saving money and reducing our carbon footprint. Let us face it the savings alone with most of these systems saving 50 to 60% in energy usage is reason enough to consider this technology for any new appliance purchase. While each of these systems save money, they all have a few drawbacks as well. Therefore, do some research before making the final decision.  

Heat Pump Dryer Technology 

Heat pump dryers use the same technology for drying clothes as a heat pump water heater does for heating water. The air is pulled into the unit and heated via a compressor then forced at a higher temperature into the drum. This pulls air across the clothes which dries them. The water in the moist air is collected when the air is passed back through the compressor to complete a cycle. The water is deposited in a compartment for easy removal and emptying. Some larger heat pump dryers offer a drain tube which can be installed to drain into any septic system.

Diagram of the heat pump dryer system

The removable compartment is a great option as the collected water can be used to water plants or any number of other uses. This saves water and is handy in areas where water consumption is of consideration. The compartment needs to be emptied after a few loads. If this is not in your lifestyle then it would be best to choose to install the drain tube which will automatically drain any water collected. The drain tube can be installed into the washer drain or into a sink drain.  

Another notable feature of the heat pump dryer is that it does not require a vent to the outside. This means that it can be used in small areas including a closet. Along with the fact most can be plugged into a 110 outlet. While other dryers require a 220 outlet. These features open a whole new world of possibilities for dryer ownership.  

As a bonus the clothes dried in a heat pump dryer are softer and have less wrinkles due to the type of heat produced. This helps save money because clothes do not wear out as quickly and need replacing. Towels and sheets are super soft and feel like new.

Heat Pump Dryer Things to Consider 

Some things to consider before purchasing a heat pump dryer. This technology takes longer for clothes to dry. Therefore, if you have a large household with a lot of laundry the heat pump dryer may not be a viable choice. The average drying time is between one to two hours depending on the size of the load and the type of material being dried. Also, the drum size is smaller than electric or gas dryers. 

Secondly, the upfront cost is higher for a heat pump dryer. The typical cost of an electric dryer is between 500 and 750 depending on the features of the dryer. The typical cost for a heat pump dryer is between 1,000 and 1500 depending on the features of the heat pump dryer. While the upfront cost is higher the energy savings help offset that cost and eventually recover some of the added expense.  

Thirdly, heat pump dryers have a secondary filter to collect lint. This extra lint filter will require being cleaned after every 5th load of laundry. The one closest to the drum will need to be cleaned before every load. In addition, the compartment where the condenser is located needs to be vacuumed or brushed once a month. Keeping the lint filters and compressor clean help reduce drying times and keep the efficiency level high.  

Lastly, if the incorrect amount of laundry detergent is used to clean the laundry a smell may develop. This smell can be removed by a secondary rinse and adjusting the amount of laundry detergent being used. Buildup on laundry can go unnoticed in a conventional dryer and cause clothing to deteriorate faster. Once the correct laundry detergent is gauged the second rinse can be discontinued.

Before Deciding 

To summarize, making the decision to purchase a heat pump dryer will help the environment as well as reduce the cost of drying clothes. Saving money and helping the environment is a win, win situation. Make sure a heat pump dryer will work for you and your schedule. If the maintenance will not fit into your schedule choose a different option. Knowing the pros and cons will help you make the right decision.  

Finding A Local Mover

Three strong young men moving boxes into a moving truck on moving day.
Local Movers loading boxes

Finding a local mover has many considerations to explore before deciding which one to hire. First, it is best to remember that each situation is unique. No move is like any other move. Second, there is no cookie cutter formula to finding the best local mover. It will take finding the best local mover for your situation. While each situation is different there are some basic questions that should be addressed before deciding. In other words, finding the best local mover is purely a personal endeavor.  

First step is to do a little research online. Especially in this day of technology most movers are online or have a website. Spend a little time researching local movers and checking their website for reviews. Reviews are a terrific way to gauge how a mover interacts with their clients. The website can also be a great resource for what information should be gathered before making a call. Once the research is finished, start calling local movers for more information before deciding

What information is needed before calling a local mover. 

Concise information is critical to a mover. Having most of the information before you call will save valuable time for both of you. So, what kind of information should you have ready? In addition to the obvious information such as name, address, phone number, date of move, and destination a mover will need a general idea of the type of contents being transported. Equally important is if any of the belongings are oversized such as a pool table or grand piano. Not only will this require additional help but may require specialized tools to move them. Oftentimes when thinking about contents to be moved the garage and basement are overlooked or the self-storage units are forgotten. Remembering these additional spaces will help the local mover provide a more accurate estimate. Therefore, having all the information will save time and result in a better estimate. 

What questions should be asked before deciding on a local mover? 

Before calling the potential mover, have a list of questions ready to ask. Remember each situation is unique and add any questions needed to cover your situation. Some of the most important questions to ask are: 

Do they have their local license? Typically, each state has some sort of licensing. There are seven states that have no license requirements. Maine is one state that has no license to be a local mover. Be sure to verify if your state has a license requirement and if the mover has a current license. To help avoid a fraud situation, request a copy of the license for your records. 

What insurance do they carry? Like the local license it is best to request proof of insurance for your protection.  

Do they have a cancellation policy? If so, what is it? This is important as situations do arise that are out of our control. Knowing ahead of time about any charges will avoid a surprise if something does interfere with the move.   

What type of payment options do they offer? Most local movers require a deposit on a job. Others might offer a 3 pay program. Each local mover will have their own payment plan. In addition, know what types of payments they will accept. 

Would they prefer to pack any specialty items like televisions or other electronics? A local mover will oftentimes offer this extra service as added protection against damage. Due to the fact they could be held accountable for this damage. As experts they have the knowledge to protect delicate electronics.  

Additionally, these questions would be important. How to contact the mover during the move? If they have references. How long do they estimate the move will take and what is their current availability? As each situation is different there may be other questions to ask.  

Deciding is a personal matter 

Cost can be the biggest determining factor when choosing a local mover. Sometimes the lowest estimate is not the best deal. Other determining factors may make cost a secondary aspect of the decision. In other words, the unique needs of this move may require a mover with more experience. Therefore, all the information that has been gathered should be examined to help you decide on the best local mover for your situation. 

Once a local mover has been chosen, things to expect

A reputable mover will want to do a walk through to give an accurate estimate of the cost. There are a few situations where it may not be necessary. If the contents of the move are already in a self-storage unit. The local mover would know without looking what size truck would be needed based on the unit size and type of contents. Furthermore, they would know how many workers to send to complete the job easily. In general, most moves require a walk through. 

Next a local mover may require you to sign a contract with them for the move. This is a wonderful opportunity to review the contract and ask any questions to clarify what is expected from each party. As always, read the contract in its entirety before signing.  

Then expect a follow-up call a few days before the scheduled move. Good movers are busy. Therefore, do not panic if no contact happens between the signing of the contract and the few days prior to the move. Whenever your situation changes, contact the mover as soon as possible.  Additionally, contact the mover the day before the move if you have not heard from them. At this time, it would be prudent to discuss any specific needs such as the self-storage unit being loaded first as it is going to be stored at another location.  

Moving Day  

The big day has finally arrived. The local mover you chose has arrived. Now what? Communicate with the supervisor any specific needs discussed at the pre-move phone call. Then trust the experts and let them do the job you hired them to do. The best thing to do is let the supervisor know where you will be, in case there are any questions. They know how to load the truck to keep everything safe, it is why you hired them.  

Hybrid Heat Pump Hot Water Heaters

Two male technicians installing a hybrid heat pump hot water heater
Two technicians installing a hybrid heat pump hot water heater

Hybrid heat pump hot water heaters do not generate heat like a conventional hot water heater. Instead, they use electricity to move heat from one place (ambient air) to another (hot water tank). To move heat, they work like a refrigerator only in reverse. Hybrid heat pump hot water heaters use the air around the unit to generate the energy needed to heat the water but at a higher temperature conversion rate. Therefore, heat pump hot water heaters are more energy efficient than conventional hot water heaters. Increased efficiency means lower energy bills and greater savings over the life of the heater. Typically, 20% of electric bills are for heating hot water, a hybrid heat pump hot water heater cuts the cost of producing hot water by 73%, thus saving money.  

How Hybrid Heat Pump Hot Water Heaters Work: 

Heat pump technology has been around since 1948 and over the years has seen major improvements. The units are smaller, quieter, and more efficient than before. In 1948 American inventor Robert C Webber was experimenting with his deep freezer system and accidently burned his hand on the outlet pipe of the cooling system. As inventor minds go, he worked on a way to utilize this wasted heat. Before long, the first heat pump was built and used to heat his house and provide hot water for his family. Since then, technology has advanced, and the first large systems are now smaller and are more efficient.  

Heat pump technology uses the ambient air around the system to heat or cool homes and businesses. Ambient air by definition; is air immediately surrounding of or relating to the immediate surroundings. The principle is the same as how a refrigerator cools but in reverse. A heat pump uses a compressor to take heat from the surrounding air and transferring it into a room. It uses this same principle to transfer heat at a higher temperature rate into the storage tank to heat water. Whereas a refrigerator uses the compressor to remove heat from the inside of the refrigerator and transfer it out into the air. Heat pump hot water heaters have a backup system of resistance elements. Resistance elements are used in conventional hot water heaters. The elements will be used when the ambient air temperature in the room is not high enough to operate the hybrid heat pump hot water heater efficiently. The ambient air temperature range for heat pump hot water systems is between 40°F (4.4°C) to 90°F (32.2°C).  

What Size Hybrid Heat Pump Hot Water Heater? 

Hybrid heat pump hot water heaters come in a variety of sizes. Which one will work best will depend on usage and family size. First determine the typical usage of the household. Is there a dishwasher, washing machine, how many showers a day are all things to consider before purchasing a system. Once there is a general idea of the type of usage choose the one that will suit those needs. If in doubt chose the next size up to be safe.  

The most popular sizes for heat pump hot water heaters are 50-, 66-, and 80-gallon systems. The 50-gallon system is best for a two-person household. Then the 66-gallon system will work for a three to four-person household. Lastly the 80-gallon system is best for households of five or more people.

Components of a hybrid heat pump hot water heater

Settings and Features 

Each system has a user interface or control panel. This easy to operate panel controls temperature settings, mode of operation, and diagnostic error reporting as well as providing the user with several programming options. Many have up to 99 programmable days available. This provides the user with many options for ultimate savings.  

The modes are Efficiency, Hybrid, Electric, and Vacation. First, Efficiency Mode is when the system relies on heat pump technology or the compressor only to heat the water. Next, Hybrid mode will automatically adjust between the compressor and elements to match the demand for hot water. This means it will use the compressor to heat the water but when the demand is greater it will switch to the heating elements to meet the demand. The next setting is Electric Mode. Electric Mode is using the elements only which is the same as a conventional hot water heater. Lastly is the Vacation Mode. Vacation Mode drops the temperature of the water to 60 degrees. This will save money while away from the house for extended periods of time. It will also offer freeze protection while away.  

Heat pump hot water heaters are insulated with an environmentally friendly non-CFC foam insulation. CFC is Chlorofluorocarbons which are used to propel the foam insulation onto a surface. They are recognized as a major contributor to ozone depletion. The Stratospheric ozone layer affected by the CFC’s helps protect the Earth and us from harmful ultraviolet rays. Therefore, the heat pump hot water heaters help save on electricity and protect the Earth from ozone depletion.  

Another environmentally friendly aspect is the type of refrigerant used in self-contained heat pump units such as hot water heaters. The heat pump unit situated at the top of the hot water heater uses environmentally friendly R134a refrigerant. This type of refrigerant has zero ozone depletion. Lastly, each system has a safety feature called a dry fire protection control. This system checks to ensure water is present before firing the system. Therefore, it protects from burning up the elements prematurely.  

Warranty and Other Useful Information 

A conventional hot water heater typically last 8 to 12 years with the average warranty being about 6 years. The hybrid heat pump hot water heater typically last 13 to 15 years with a 10-year warranty. Not only does the system last longer, but the warranty also gives 4 extra years of peace of mind. As a bonus many manufacturers are offering rebates which helps reduce the price difference between a conventional hot water heater and the heat pump technology systems.  

UEF is used to determine the efficiency of any electrical appliance. UEF stands for Uniform Energy Factor. In this case the UEF is the percentage of energy turned into hot water. The higher the UEF number, the unit will be more efficient and the less it will cost to operate. As an example, the typical UEF for electric hot water heaters is .65 – .95 and a hybrid heat pump hot water heater is 3.42 for a 50-gallon system, 3.52 for a 66-gallon system, and 2.73 for the 80-gallon system. Therefore, it is 300% more efficient than the conventional system resulting in lower heating cost.  

How does a hybrid heat pump hot water heater last longer than a conventional system? Inside each system are anode rods. Anode rods attract the contaminants such as minerals and sediment in the water which protects the tank from corrosion. The ones inside the hybrid system are made with a stainless-steel core which last longer and offers better protection against corrosion. Inside the 66 and 80-gallon tank are two rods doubling the protection.  

Things To Consider: 

A hybrid heat pump hot water heater is taller than a conventional hot water heater. Make sure it will fit in the space designated. While the heat pump hot water heater is great for basements or garages it is best to remember that they are electrical equipment and generate noise. If installing in a small space, which can be done with an air duct adapter kit, think about if the noise will be bothersome. The noise is equivalent to a window A/C unit running. The systems become less efficient the lower the temperature is, therefore, if the area goes below 40°F consistently, it might be better to locate it in another place. Lastly, a little regular maintenance such as washing the filter will go a long way to keep the system running efficiently. Filter maintenance is minimal but important. Two times a year take a damp cloth and wipe the filter, then rinse it under running water and allow to air dry. This simple step will keep the filter clean and the system running efficiently.  

Hybrid heat pump hot water heaters, while more expensive to purchase, offer greater savings on electricity cost. Thus, paying for themselves quickly. Deciding to use a heat pump hot water heater has many benefits and a few things to consider before purchasing. In other words, make sure a heat pump hot water heater will meet the hot water needs before purchasing. As always, use self-storage to help with any remodeling projects.  

When The Check Engine Light Comes On: A Call To Action

When the check engine light comes on call a mechanic who can fix the issue

When the check engine light comes on what do you do! The answer depends on several factors: firstly, is the light flashing? Secondly, is your vehicle running any differently? Thirdly, did you recently fill your tank with gas? What does number three have to do with anything? One of the most common codes tripped by the diagnostic system and stored in the onboard computer is “small evaporation leak.” This code is commonly caused by an improper gas cap seal or a broken gas cap. Therefore, tightening the gas cap will make the check engine light go out if this was the reason for the code.  

Check Engine Light is Flashing 

When the check engine light is flashing it is a sign of a significant issue. The flashing light is to gain your attention. Do not ignore this warning. The onboard computer is letting you know that something serious is wrong with the vehicle. Sometimes this will cause loss of power, known as “Limp Mode.” Limp mode is your vehicle protecting itself from severe damage. When this happens do not push your vehicle. If you are towing something, unhitch and slowly proceed to your mechanic or call a tow truck. It would be highly recommended to call the tow truck as any strain on the engine could cause more damage.  

Issues that cause a flashing check engine light range from transmission issues to catalytic converter problems or failure. The most severe issue would be a total engine failure. Each issue puts you and your vehicle in danger, if you ignore the flashing red light on the dashboard. Therefore, in the case of a flashing check engine light, call the garage immediately. A certified mechanic can diagnose the problem with his OBDII scan tool. OBD stands for on board diagnostics tool, it communicates with your onboard computer where the codes have been stored.  

There are many handheld OBDII tools available for personal use. A certified mechanic has thousands of dollars of diagnostic equipment plus their years of experience to assist them. Therefore, they are the best option for a flashing check engine light.  

NOTE: If the check engine light is normally yellow but now is orange or red. The red is the same as a flashing check engine light. Not all vehicles display the same symbol. It is best to know by checking the owner’s manual for the current vehicle.  

Is The Vehicle Running Differently 

Is the vehicle running any differently? If the answer is no, set up an appointment to have the vehicle diagnosed. The mechanic will attach the code reader to the onboard computer via a port under the dashboard and retrieve the codes. Some of the most common codes are O2 sensor failure, Large Evap leak, misfires and MAF air flow sensor failure. Oftentimes the evaporation leaks will require a “smoke test” which is simply a smoke machine attached to the evaporator system and smoke blown through the tubes and connectors. Smoke will escape through any breaches in the system, alerting the mechanic to the precise location of the problem. Replacing the worn or broken parts will save money in fuel costs and help fix any performance problems.  

If the answer is yes to the question, is the vehicle running any differently. Do not wait, call your mechanic immediately. This issue is more serious than a weak sensor or random misfires. It could be failed coils, wires, a transmission speed sensor or a MAF mass air flow sensor. A failed MAF sensor will dramatically influence performance and can cause more damage if not replaced.  

Four Common Issues Explained 

Four common components that cause most of the codes in a system are MAF sensor, O2 sensor, coil/wires and Evap system. Oftentimes codes are not singular but have two or more that surround a component. This is where the knowledge a certified mechanic has, comes in handy. Knowing how an engine works with all the components helps narrow the issue down for the mechanic. If the code is a singular code than more than likely that specified component has failed.

Mass Airflow Sensor

Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF) sits on the top of your engine between the air filter and the intake manifold. It measures the air flow going into the engine, relaying this information to the on-board computer (ECM) which in turns delivers the correct amount of fuel to the engine for peak performance. The ECM will also use the MAF readings to determine when the transmission shifts. If the MAF is not working properly it may cause the transmission to shift differently. MAF sensors can be contaminated with debris, water, or even packed with snow during a storm. Cleaning the MAF sensor is a delicate task and should only be done by a mechanic. The components are delicate. When the MAF sensor fails the engine might not start or start and instantly stall. Another issue will be poor acceleration and odd shifting patterns for the transmission.  

Oxygen Sensor aka O2 Sensor 

O2 sensors measure the amount of oxygen that is unburned in the exhaust/emissions system. They survive in temperatures over 800 degrees and tend to fail, on average, around 50,000 miles of use. Most newer cars have 4 oxygen sensors. They work together to monitor the emissions system for issues that will affect performance and emissions. If you need to pass an emissions test for inspection and your oxygen sensors are not working properly you will fail the inspection. Non-working sensors will cause increased emissions and lower performance in an engine.  

Miss Fire Issue 

Coil and wires are a common reason for a misfire code. Once these systems are compromised the only solution is to replace them. Misfiring can cause damage to the engine oftentimes catastrophic, if left unchecked. A misfire is when the fuel in a cylinder is left unburned or partially burnt. This will cause a hesitation in the running of the engine. There are other components in the system that can cause a misfire so it is best to have a mechanic diagnose the problem.

EVAP Leaks Large and Small 

The EVAP system, or evaporation system, is the emissions control system. The EVAP system is a sealed system of lines, valves, connectors, and a gas cap. This system recirculates the gasoline vapors in the system thus preventing them from escaping into the atmosphere. When something goes wrong in the system it is categorized as a small or large EVAP leak. A sizable percentage of small EVAP leaks can be the result of a poorly seated gas cap. If removing the gas cap and installing it correctly does not fix the check engine light it could mean any one of the many parts of this system have failed. This will require a smoke test to determine which part or parts need to be replaced. If these parts are not replaced expect to lose fuel via evaporation and a constant check engine light on the dashboard.  

Whether it is a common check engine light issue or a severe issue never ignore a check engine light on the dashboard. A check engine light is the vehicles computer or monitoring system alerting that something is not right. Taking care of a little issue now could save the engine from catastrophic failure. In other words, when the check engine light comes on call a garage and make an appointment for a proper diagnostic before it is too late and the engine is ruined. Having peace of mind is worth the trip to the mechanic. 

6 Safe Driving Tips In Ellsworth Maine

6 Safe Driving Tips In Ellsworth Maine

Brunette woman intently watching the road while driving her car, being alert is safe driving tip number one.
Being attentive while driving is the best safe driving tip.

Ellsworth is one of Maine’s fastest growing cities, with a land mass of over 79 square miles the potential for greater development is possible. Ellsworth has seen consistent growth and development over the last years.This progress has produced an increase in traffic and traffic related accidents. So how do you stay safe on Ellsworth’s streets and roads? Follow these six safe driving tips to avoid traffic accidents.

#1 Safe Driving Tip: Distracted Driving Numbers Rise

Stay alert, put away the distractions. Things like cell phones, umpiring the argument in the backseat, checking your hair or putting on makeup while driving, all lead to your attention being on something other than the road. Remain alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. If the distraction demands your attention, pull off the road, deal with the situation before you continue driving. Being distracted is the leading cause of traffic accidents.

#2 Safe Driving Tip: Safe Travel Distances

Space, space can save lives. Leaving enough room between your vehicle and the one in front of you can make a huge difference when avoiding a traffic accident.  The average person requires 0.25 seconds to react to a situation. The few extra seconds of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you, allows you the time to react and avoid a collision. 

#3 Safe Driving Tip: Looking Ahead

Looking ahead and not just at what’s immediately in front of you is a great defensive driving skill. Watch three or four cars ahead of you for telltale signs of brake lights or upcoming turns. Seeing the whole picture of what’s going on around you can help you make better driving decisions. This forewarning of traffic changes will help you safely navigate the roads.

#4 Safe Driving Tip: Enter and Exit Safely

When entering traffic flow or crossing lanes to exit the road, be aware of the speed vehicles are traveling. Allow enough time for you to enter or exit the highway safely without hesitation.  When in doubt don’t pull out! Intersections create their own hazard zones. Expect the unexpected when approaching an intersection and slow down. Racing the yellow light to make it through the intersection can turn into a bad situation quickly. 

#5 Safe Driving Tip: Safe Speed For Current Road Conditions

Speed plays an important role in safety. When the road conditions are less than optimal, slow down. Water, snow, wet leaves, dense fog and other road conditions warrant slowing your speed. Hydroplaning on a wet road can be avoided easily with a reduction in speed. No matter how good your tires are if you are going too fast on wet roads your tires will lose traction causing you to hydroplane out of control. 

#6 Safe Driving Tip: Proper Two Way Turning Lane Usage

Ellsworth now has several two way turning lanes aka suicide lanes. These were designed to help traffic flow, they are not passing lanes. How do they work? When a motorist has to cross over the oncoming traffic lane they can safely move into the two way turning lane allowing the traffic behind them to continue and allowing them the freedom to wait for an appropriate break in the flow of oncoming traffic to cross safely. Using the lane inappropriately is dangerous. Not using this designated lane to turn but dashing across all the lanes can result in a collision. Using it to pass a slow motorist is an inappropriate use of the two way turn lane! If a motorist pulls into the lane and leaves the back half of their vehicle in the travel lane it becomes a huge target for an accident. 

Proper Use of Two Way Turning Lane Explained

The proper way to use the two way turn lane is to turn into the lane before your exit point keeping all of your vehicle in the two way turning lane, allowing traffic to keep flowing on either side of your vehicle. This can help you when you need to cross a lane to enter traffic flow. First, pull across the first lane of traffic into the two way turn lane. Next, wait for a break to pull into the flow of the traffic headed in the direction you need to go. Therefore, saving you the time and risk of waiting for traffic to be clear in both directions then shooting across to the correct lane. In other words, if used properly the two way turn lane is the safest option for entering or exiting the road.

There are hundreds of scenarios that can arise on a drive from being caught in another driver’s blind spot during a lane change, to having the sun obliterate your vision. Each one has the potential to end in a collision. What you do and how you react will alter that possibility. Being alert at all times is your number one defense against a tragedy. Be aware of what is happening ahead of you on the road. Drive like everyone else on the road is on their maiden voyage with a learners permit. Becoming complacent and thinking everyone has driving skills and road manners like you do is a big mistake. Ellsworth is a fast growing community with increased traffic possibilities for years to come, so stay alert and be safe. 

4 Tips on Mattress Storage in Ellsworth, Maine

attractive woman joyfully bouncing on a mattress, happy it was safe in self storage
Tips on Mattress Storage in Ellsworth, Maine

Let’s face it, a mattress is an investment. It is a financial investment for your sleep and overall health. A good mattress takes time and energy to find. Once you find a good mattress in Ellsworth, Maine, you want to protect it and extend the life of your mattress for as long as possible. So what do you do if you find you must store your mattress. What is the best self storage option for your mattress? Taking a few steps to protect your investment just makes sense. Following are four tips for storing your mattress.

Mattress Storage Tip #1: Cleanliness is Mandatory

Take a little time and thoroughly clean your mattress. A clean mattress will resist mold and mildew from developing during storage. 

  1. Vacuum thoroughly using the upholstery attachment cleaning every crack and crevice.
  2. Remove stains with upholstery cleaner following the manufacturer recommendations. (See DIY methods and Memory Foam Mattress recommendations below)
  3. Allow to dry and sprinkle with baking soda, let it set overnight if possible.
  4. Vacuum baking soda off Mattress 
  5. Flip mattress and clean the other side using steps 1-4

Certain stains require a different approach. Biologic stains like urine, blood, vomit, sweat and other bodily stains are best approached with an enzyme based cleaner. Spray enzyme based cleaner on a clean cloth and blot the stained area. Remove the cleaner with a clean cloth dampened with cold water until the stain lifts.  

DIY Tip: Mix up some dish detergent and water but only apply the foam from this mixture to the stain, remove soap with a dampened cloth of cold water. Another solution is a 50/50 mixture of cold water and hydrogen peroxide. This works great on blood.

Memory foam has become the most popular type of mattress. Memory foam isn’t supposed to be wet, so clean with caution. All the methods above will work on memory foam mattresses but work on the principle; less is more. If you should accidentally use too much moisture in cleaning your memory foam mattress, sun and fresh air is the best practice for thoroughly drying before storage!

Mattress Storage Tip #2: Protection

The best protection is a plastic mattress cover. Once your mattress is dry from cleaning, install a plastic cover. This will prevent moisture from humidity or other sources from damaging your mattress. PRO TIP: add a few of your favorite scented dryer sheets in with the mattress. The fresh scent will discourage pests and be a welcome addition when you remove it from self storage.

Mattress Storage Tip #3: Self Storage Duration

A few things to consider before choosing a self storage unit, will it be a short term storage situation of 3 months or less, or will it be stored for longer. For under three months a drive up storage will work but for anything longer than that use climate controlled storage! Climate controlled storage offers greater protection against humidity. Pro Tip: If you store in an outside drive up storage unit, stop by your unit once a month and open the doors for about 15 to 20 minutes. This will change the air and allow any moisture that may have accumulated to evaporate. Unzip your mattress cover and check for any dampness, the fresh air will keep your mattress fresh smelling.

Mattress Storage Tip #4: Correct Storage

To prevent any damage to your investment it is recommended that the mattress be stored flat with nothing heavy on it. If you have room, lay the mattress on the floor and stack other mattresses on top. If you need all that space, create a flat platform with your totes and boxes to put your mattress on top of. The goal is to prevent any structural damage to the inside material. Nothing would be worse than putting the absolute most amazing mattress in storage and when you take it out, find that the boxes or other items that were stored on top of the mattress rendered it useless.  What if you need all the space and laying the mattress flat is not an option. If it’s a short term storage you can prop the mattress on its side, flat against a wall. Make sure it is straight with no bends or sags! A bend of sag will damage the structural material inside your mattress. TIP: If you have a box spring you can wedge the mattress between the box spring and wall to assist in keeping the mattress straight. Speaking of box springs, they can be stored on their side as they have no coils or other structural material to damage!

When it comes time to remove your mattress from self storage, open the protective cover and air the mattress out in the sun and fresh air. Sunshine is great, the UV rays kill mold or mildew spores and any moisture that may have invaded your mattress. If by chance there is a lingering odor from storage you can retreat with baking soda. Baking soda absorbs moisture and odors! Vacuum after allowing the baking soda to sit on the mattress for several hours and reassemble your bed. Make your bed with your favorite sheets and bedding to reacquaint yourself with your favorite mattress!