Sometimes it is just too hard not to go for that latest gadget when it comes out. Will the extra camera on the latest iPhone genuinely make me a better photographer? Maybe, maybe not but, darn it, it looks cool! There are some categories I just can’t help myself with, and I find myself in a common predicament – I have gadgets and tools piling up but nowhere to put them. (I like having a clean house ya know!) Sometimes the best thing to do is simply to put your items into storage until you find someone to give or sell your old items to.
The good news is that “self-storage” facilities are almost definitely within a short drive of you no matter where you are in the USA. And if you’re anywhere close to a large city, they’re probably less than 5 minutes from your house. If you’ve never noticed them before, they tend to be outdoor structures that look like a string of garages all next to each other. Once you see them once, you’ll start seeing them everywhere.
Self-storage can be a very handy tool; but, if you’re planning to store any electronics (or any important possession with an electronic panel on it), it’s so important to make sure you choose a facility with climate controlled features. When moisture gets into electronics, your device may not be too much longer for the world. Anyone that’s ever put their phone in a bowl of rice knows all too well what I’m talking about. The reason this happens is that water found in nature often carries minerals (like Magnesium, Iron, and Copper) that produce electrical charges that then lead the electronic panels to short circuit. Once that happens, there’s no coming back.
So how does moisture come about in a conventional storage facility? In a word, condensation. This occurs when the ambient temperature swings rapidly in an area of high humidity. Essentially, gusts of cool and hot air have different ‘dewpoints’ (the temperature at which gaseous vapor becomes liquid water) and the colliding of the wind gusts leads to a lower temperature at which the vapor can changes states. If you’ve ever gone inside a garage or basement and seen mold growing, that space has moisture problems (and may have standing water on the ground somewhere. This is bad news if you’re storing electronics.
How to Choose a Self-Storage Facility – Pricing, Security, and Climate Control!
The first thing – perhaps obvious – is you want to compare facilities on the basis of both pricing and security. A quick Google search, and maybe some phone calls, should get you all the facts you need. Make sure to ask, also, about how carefully they look over your stuff. Personally, I have to know the place uses 24/7 cameras and good lighting for nighttime.
What may be less obvious is that you need to search for a facility that offers ‘climate controlled’ storage. This is a critically important difference that we think you should understand!
What is Climate Control?
Climate Controlled storage protects you from swings in both temperature and relative humidity. The generally accepted definition for an acceptable temperature range is anywhere between 50 to 85 degrees – similar to what you’d have in your home. Regarding relative humidity, the facility should keep it around 65% or below. These features of protection are particularly important if you live in an environment with harsh swings in weather. You could be storing your old servers and laptops and stereo systems in the desert heat of Nevada or dealing with the brutal cold while looking for storage units in Waterville Maine, and you will face the same threat of moisture building up if you don’t have climate controls on your storage unit.
Is Climate Control Always Necessary? Doesn’t it Cost More?
Yes, Climate Control will likely cost you a bit more. Don’t forget that it does take more money for facility owners to provide this service, and they need to pass some of this on to customers with a higher rental rate in order to meet their own financial returns. If you’re storing stuff that’s not very expensive or emotionally valuable to you, then you may consider taking the chance with conventional storage. But, especially if you’re storing your spare electronics and they are valuable, we really recommend that you spend the little extra it takes to store them properly. We’ve heard too many horror stories along the way of people not doing it right!
We Want to Hear Your Story!
If any of you reading have experience with self-storage, we’d love to hear your story! Please send us your comments below!