WHAT IS ‘CLIMATE CONTROLLED’ STORAGE?
With the rising popularity of luxury items in storage and more demand than ever for uber-secure, high-quality storage facilities, climate controlled facilities are experiencing rapid growth. But sometimes the terms ‘climate controlled’ and ‘temperature controlled’ can seem synonymous. So what does climate controlled really mean? And more importantly, what do tenants expect from climate controlled storage units?
MANAGE TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY.
The definition of climate controlled storage varies among storage companies and locations, but the most common difference between climate controlled and temperature controlled is humidity. Temperature controlled facilities usually only manage temperature, while climate controlled facilities may manage both temperature and humidity. Both humidity and temperature work together to control moisture levels in a storage space. As humidity in the air increases, so does the air’s ability to hold heat. When humidity decreases, it also helps keep temperatures low.
Climate controlled facilities use high-quality HVAC systems (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), dehumidifiers, customizable thermostats and heavy-duty insulation to manage temperature and humidity. Dehumidifiers are best at managing humidity over time, but air conditioners are better at dropping humidity levels quickly. Air conditioners can change humidity levels fast by dropping the temperature inside the AC unit below the dew point. Because of this, air conditioners that also manage humidity usually have fluctuating temperatures. This can be bad news for a storage unit with strict temperature controls. Dehumidifiers are also more energy efficient at controlling humidity than air conditioning alone.
PICK THE BEST DEHUMIDIFIER FOR THE JOB.
The two main types of dehumidifiers used by storage facilities are desiccant and mechanical. Desiccant dehumidifiers use a drying chemical substance (think silica gel packets) to remove moisture from the air. Because desiccant dehumidifiers use heat as an energy source, they can be set up to run off the waste heat of other processes. This can save significant amounts of energy (and dollars) over time. Desiccant dehumidifiers are less effective at controlling extreme humidity problems than mechanical dehumidifiers.
Mechanical dehumidifiers, also known as refrigerative dehumidifiers, are the most common model. Like an air conditioner, they use refrigerant to remove moisture from the air. Mechanical dehumidifiers can manage extreme humidity, but are less energy efficient than desiccant models. Track humidity levels in your region and consult a professional before choosing a dehumidifier for your storage facility.
Antique books and art are examples of items that require climate controlled storage.
PROTECT YOUR TENANTS’ BELONGINGS.
Most of your tenants’ stuff is going to do just fine in temperature controlled storage. But climate controlled facilities are the safest bet for storing these sensitive items:
Art – Climate controlled storage is best for artwork. Paintings and fine art can shrink or expand in extreme temperatures. In humid environments, mould or mildew can grow and ruin artwork. The ideal storage temperature for art is between 18 – 24 °C with around 50% relative humidity.
Delicate fabrics – Clothes, antique toys, or upholstered furniture can grow mould or mildew in humid environments. 55% relative humidity or less are ideal. Delicate fabrics should be clean and stored with acid-free tissue paper or cedar packets.
Delicate paper items – Books, magazines, comics, and photographs can turn yellow in extreme temperatures. 35% relative humidity or less are ideal for storage. Keep paper items away from light exposure to prevent fading.
Electronics – Computers, speakers and cameras can corrode and grow mould in humid environments. Electronic items are best stored between 30 – 60% relative humidity. Throw a few silica gel packets in boxes with electronic items and store them high off the ground to go the extra step.
Metals – Metals react to moisture in a storage environment. Iron will rust, copper turns green, silver turns black and lead will turn into a white powder. Metals are best stored between 35 – 55% relative humidity. Elevate metal items off the floor to protect them from liquids creeping in on the floor.
Optical discs – Optical discs like CDs, DVDs and video games should be stored in cool, dry environments. 45 – 50% relative humidity is ideal. Also avoid exposure to direct light, which can cause clouding on disc surfaces.
Vinyl records – Always store records vertically, and in their original sleeves if possible. Records are best stored at 45 – 60% relative humidity. High temps can cause warping, and temps too low can cause a record to break in half.
Wine – Wine is one of the most difficult items to store properly. The ideal environment for storing wine is low light, around 15 degrees Celcius, and between 50-80% relative humidity. Wine that is in a too humid environment will age too fast, causing a cloudy, brown appearance. If the air is too dry, wine corks will dry out and crumble. This can compromise the seal or just make the bottle almost impossible to open.
Wood furniture or instruments – Antique wood items and woodwind instruments don’t do well in fluctuating temperatures. Wood items will contract in colder temperatures and expand in warmer temperatures. Humidity levels should be between 30 – 50% to prevent the growth of mould and wood rot. Wood items should be cleaned and polished with oil before storage to prevent splitting.
(Reference – www.storedge.com/climate-controlled-storage-facilities)