What Is Climate-controlled Storage?

As the term suggests, a climate-controlled storage unit is a type of unit that regulates temperature and humidity levels to ensure the safety of stored stuff. Here is everything you need to know about climate-controlled storage.

Last Updated on June 23, 2022 by Jude Robert Caratao

Are you looking to rent a self-storage unit but have a wide range of highly sensitive items that you want to store in it? If so, then a basic unit without any provision to regulate fluctuating temperature and humidity levels may not be the best option for you. Instead, you want a climate-controlled unit that will provide you with maximum protection.

So, what is climate-controlled storage? A climate-controlled storage unit is a type of self-storage that has been designed to maintain optimal temperature and humidity levels. This means it will be cool in the summer and warm in the winter, just to keep your items intact. It also means that you can store your items at any time of year, and they will always be safe and clean.

This blog post will cover the two types of climate-controlled storage: refrigerated and heated. We’ll also discuss the benefits of using this type of self-storage as well as some important factors you should consider before renting one. So, let us get started.

Understanding the Difference Between Temperature-controlled and Climate-controlled Storage

Over 75% of the modern self-storage units offer some form of temperature or humidity control. However, this doesn’t make them true climate-controlled storage facilities.

So, what is the difference between temperature-controlled and climate-controlled storage? The key difference is that true climate-control storage has both heating and cooling capabilities. It means that the unit will maintain optimal temperature and humidity levels throughout the year.

The temperature range is kept at 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (or around 15 to 26 degrees Celsius), while humidity is maintained at 55% all year round – regardless of the season!

The other type, which we mentioned above, is known as temperature-controlled storage. These facilities are designed to use HVAC systems and customized thermostats to maintain a constant temperature all year round. These storage facilities may not pay a lot of attention to humidity levels.

A thermostat.
While temperature-controlled storage units regulate temperature, climate-controlled units maintain humidity levels as well.

Since a lot of people tend to use these terms interchangeably, it is critical to ask the unit manager what they mean exactly when they say “climate-controlled” so you can be sure of what you are paying for and whether it will meet your storage needs.

Types of Climate-controlled Storage Units

There are two types of climate-control units: refrigerated and heated. Here is how each one of them operates.

1. Refrigerated Storage Units

This type of storage facility uses a refrigeration system to maintain optimal temperature. The most common models use ammonia as their cooling agent, but some facilities use hydrocarbon and R-134a refrigerants.

The advantage of this kind of unit is that it will stay at 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (or around 15 to 26 degrees Celsius) all year round. This makes it ideal for storing heat-sensitive items or those that need a stable environment, such as electronics, documents, pharmaceuticals and food products.

However, you should note that the units may not be 100% frost-free, so there is always an element of risk with heat-sensitive items.

2. Heated Storage Units

This type of climate control unit is another option worth considering if you are storing items that need to be kept at a stable temperature year-round or during the winter months in particular.

Even though most units will not allow you access inside, it may be possible depending on the facility and manager’s policy.

A heated storage unit uses a heating system usually equipped with an on/off switch and a thermostat. So, you can turn it on when needed to make sure the temperature stays consistent all year round – even during the winter months!

You should note that these units are not normally used in summer as they will tend to get too warm.

What Should You Look for in a Climate-controlled Storage?

Before you go to a climate-controlled storage unit, there are a few things that you need to know.

First, you need to know that there is a difference between climate-controlled and temperature-controlled storage facilities.

In standard climate-controlled storage, both temperature and humidity are controlled. Temperature-controlled facilities will only work to control temperature, while a humidity-controlled storage facility is designed to maintain a specific humidity level inside the unit.

A second thing that you need to know about climate-control units is how they are cooled or heated. If you have items that may be damaged by frost, then it doesn’t make sense to use a unit that uses an ice-based cooling system.

You should also avoid units that run on R-22 systems as they are environmentally harmful and contribute significantly to global warming.

The third thing you need to know about climate control storage is the location of your facility of choice, because some places may experience very hot or humid summers and very cold winters.

A storage facility.
Before renting a storage unit, check what type of temperature or climate control the facility offers.

So, you need to make sure the facility is located in a place where it will be able to maintain stable temperatures year-round.

It’s also worth noting that some people think they can use their standard home refrigerator or freezer as long-term storage for items such as food products or medicines – but this should not be the case.

A standard refrigerator or freezer will not work for long-term storage because they are not designed to stay on throughout, which is why you need a fully dedicated climate control unit.

Climate-control Storage Features and What It Means for Your Items

When you go to a climate-controlled storage unit, you will most likely spot certain features that will help maintain the quality of your items.

One feature is a humidity control system which allows for the optimal humidity level inside the facility at all times. It means that there is less potential damage from moisture and corrosion.

A thermostat.
Climate-controlled storage units offer humidity and temperature control for safety reasons.

Another thing you will notice is a de-humidification system. This works to remove excess moisture from the air, and it will usually run on an automatic cycle that can be set depending on your preferences.

Other features you should look out for include the ability to control temperature, lighting systems for safety purposes, and security cameras that have recording capabilities to keep your items safe and secure.

Tips on How to Pack Your Items for a Climate-controlled Storage Unit

When you pack your items for a climate-controlled storage facility, there are some tips to help you keep the items safe and dry.

First, always remember to use high-quality boxes because not all boxes are the same – even though they may look similar on the outside; some can be leaky or flimsy, which means the contents of your unit are not safe.

A box with a tape and pair of scissors beside.
Always use high-quality boxes when preparing your items for storage to ensure their safety.

Secondly, always use protective layers on top of whatever you put inside a box. This can include bubble wrap, packing paper or even crumpled up newspaper – just make sure it’s thick enough to protect the items inside.

Thirdly, use a marker pen when writing on your boxes because this will help identify which box belongs in what unit if there are multiple units available at your storage facility of choice.

Finally, remember to dispose of any broken or falling boxes – because if you don’t, it could result in great damage to your items.

If there is no recycling bin available for cardboard pieces at the self-storage facility, then you should take them home with you as they aren’t safe left where someone else can trip on top of them.

Climate-controlled Storage Units: Are They Worth It?

So, should you go for a climate-controlled storage unit? Well, that depends on what you have to store.

If the items are expensive, then it makes sense to pay for a more secure environment – but if your items aren’t valuable or of high importance, then there’s no need because most standard self-storage units are already very secure and will be able to keep out potential thieves.

A climate storage facility.
Climate-controlled storage units are a great choice if you need to store items that may be affected by humidity or temperature changes over time.

Some of the common items stored in a climate-controlled storage unit include:

  • HVAC equipment such as AC units and furnaces. This is because these kinds of items tend to be incredibly expensive, and they can’t be left outside all year round in the elements where there is a risk for them to deteriorate quickly.
  • Vintage wines, medications or documents that need special care – basically anything that can be ruined by the damage that moisture or extreme cold would have on it.
  • Expensive pieces of art because these are usually stored in a climate-controlled environment anyway, which is why you won’t find them in regular self-storage units, just like HVAC equipment and vintage wines.

So there’s your answer – if you have something so valuable and need a highly secure environment to prevent any damage, then it would make sense for you to look into climate-controlled storage units.

The Bottom Line

Climate-controlled storage units are a great choice if you need to store items that may be affected by humidity or temperature changes over time. Now that we have covered everything about climate-controlled self-storage units, it’s now up to you to decide if it is good for you or not.

Take time to evaluate your options and assess the value of what you want to store. If you think the items cannot withstand constant fluctuations in temperature and humidity, then you should consider renting a climate-controlled unit.

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