How To Protect Your Self-Stored Items From Excess Humidity

Unless you have access to a climate-controlled storage unit, keeping your belongings from being damaged or destroyed by humidity can be an uphill battle. In addition to the usual mold and mildew problems, a humid storage unit can also encourage dust mite growth and cause products made from wood and paper to rot and decay over time. The following offers a few ways you can keep excess humidity in check inside of your self-storage unit.

Dehumidify the Storage Unit Before Moving Your Items In

Before you move your belongings in, use a hydrometer to take a measurement of the relative humidity level inside of your new storage unit. If the relative humidity level is above 50 percent, you'll want to bring it down to a range of 30 to 50 percent. This will keep vulnerable wood and paper from being damaged while in storage.

For this task, you'll need a reliable dehumidifier with a relatively large storage tank or a way to redirect the condensate away from the storage unit and into a nearby drain. Run the dehumidifier at least one to two days before moving your belongings inside. This way, you won't have to worry about excess humidity when you first move in.

Look Out for Leaks

As you inspect your self-storage unit, you'll want to be on the lookout for signs of water damage as well as any active leaks. Water can leak through cracks in the walls and ceiling, as well as through damaged or defective water pipes. These water leaks can increase moisture inside the unit and spark mold and mildew growth. The water itself can also damage wood, paper and certain fabrics. If you do see signs of water leaks or water damage, you'll want to inform the storage facility manager so that repairs or alternative accommodations can be made.

You'll also want to make sure your self-storage facility isn't prone to flooding, whether it's natural or man-made. Flood water can seep through the bottom of the storage unit door, possibly damaging any items that are on the floor at the time.

Elevate Your Stored Items to Keep Condensation Away

It seems easier to leave your belongings on the floor of your storage unit, but doing so could make them vulnerable to flooding. In addition, temperature differences between the cold concrete floor and the warm boxes could cause condensation to form, leaving your valuables wet and vulnerable to mold, mildew and other damage.

The best way to deal with this issue is to keep all of your items elevated on wooden pallets. Keeping your items a few inches off the floor can stop condensation and flood damage in its tracks.

Dry Everything Before Storage

If you have items that are constantly wet, such as scuba equipment, kitchen appliances or bath towels, you'll want to dry these items as thoroughly as possible before placing them in your self-storage unit. For bath towels, bathing suits and other wet clothes, place these items in the dryer or air-dry them prior to storage. For equipment and appliances, wipe them down with clean towels to remove as much moisture as possible. If necessary, let them air-dry during a warm day to chase out the remaining remnants of moisture.

Place Sorbents in the Unit to Reduce Moisture While You're Away

To control excess humidity while you're away, it's a good idea to put down some sorbents to help absorb some of the humidity from the air. You can use charcoal briquettes, silica gel or kitty litter as a reliable sorbent. Simply place an open bucket of your sorbent in the storage unit. You'll want to check and change out your sorbent every 30 to 60 days in order for it to effectively control excess humidity.

In addition to your bucket of sorbent, you should also place small silica gel packets inside of every sealed box in your self-storage unit. The silica gel packets will absorb any lingering moisture inside of the box, keeping your items safer from excess humidity.

Contact a company like Access Self Storage for more advice on how to best store your items.