What is Climate-Controlled Storage? Do You Need Climate-Controlled Storage?

Climate-controlled storage provides extra space for your things where the temperature and the humidity are kept within a certain range. These units are usually enclosed spaces inside a building instead of open cages or garages.

In most cases, climate-controlled storage offers a temperature range between 55- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit, keeping your things from freezing temperatures at one end of the spectrum and high heat at the other. Almost as important as temperature is humidity. You don’t want your things drying out and cracking and you don’t want mold growing in moist air.

Do You Need Climate-Controlled Storage?

Climate-controlled storage costs more than other kinds of storage because of the expense of running and maintaining the HVAC equipment including heaters, air conditioners and de-humidifiers. While it costs more, climate-controlled storage can end up saving you money because it protects your valuables from damage. If you don’t need it, however, climate-controlled storage is just a drain. 

Here are the key factors in considering your storage options that answer the question: Do you need climate-controlled storage?

  • Where is the storage facility you are considering?
  • What kind of items do you plan to store there?
  • How long will you keep the items in storage?
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Factor 1: Location of Storage Unit

If you plan to store your items in a part of the country that gets very hot, very cold, or that has problems with dryness or humidity, you might find climate-controlled storage to be worth it.

High heat can melt or damage things like records, DVDs, some electronics and furniture. Wood can expand and crack. High heat isn’t just a southern thing. Weather in parts of the Midwest and Northeast and even Alaska, can bake your belongings. 

Very cold temperatures put your belongings through freeze and thaw cycles that can destroy your valuables. Extreme cold is encountered in the Pacific Northwest, Planes States, Rocky Mountains, and from the Midwest over to the Atlantic States and up into New England.

Humidity breeds mold, mildew, and attracts pests, from insects to rodents. It can occur in cold areas along the Pacific and East Coast, and in sultry climates down through the South. Some areas around the Midwest near rivers and lakes can have humid micro-climates.

Consider what you are storing before using climate controlled storage

Factor 2: What Items are You Storing?

The types of items you are storing should weigh on your decision to choose climate-controlled storage. If you have things that are highly sentimental, climate-controlled storage is probably worth it.

Beyond that, think of things that are affected by temperature. Materials such as wood, fabric, paper and metal are affected by moisture and temperature changes. Media, like DVDs, CDs, and vinyl records can degrade in heat and humidity. Electronics will also suffer damage in an uncontrolled environment. For things that are impossible to replace or are expensive to replace, climate-controlled storage is the better choice.

Factor 3: How Long Will Your Belongings Be in Storage?

The last factor is how long you think you will need to store things. If you are stashing stuff for a few months, you probably won’t experience extremes in climate. The short storage period limits exposure and thus lowers the risk of damage. Storing year-round or over multiple years does increase the impact of climate on your things.

A Few Last Words about Climate-Controlled Storage

If you are looking for climate-controlled storage, look for facilities that offer interior units. These are enclosed within buildings. Though smaller and more expensive, they offer greater protection for your belongings. Expect to pay a premium of 20-30%–more in cities like New York or Los Angeles. 

Consider your options, the three above factors, and your budget to make the right decision about climate-controlled storage.