Humidity Control Specialists: Dehumidification & Accelerated Drying

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self storage object protection

10 Items You Might Need to Keep in Self-Storage and How to Protect Them

May 2, 2017

Self-storage is a growing business. With the rising demand for storage, particularly in urban areas, building conversion is an increasingly popular option for expansion in the self-storage and mini storage industry. As fewer commuters drive into the city, the conversion of London’s underground car parks is a good example of this.

The SSA UK (Self Storage Association) estimates that there are now around 1,100 self-storage sites in the UK, of which 195 facilities only offer container storage. www.ssauk.com

In total, there are approximately 37.6 million sq. ft. of self-storage space in the UK and it is estimated that the total turnover of the industry in 2015 was £440 million among approximately 490 operators.

Before I started understanding the complexities of high humidity and climate control, I would have just assumed that if put into storage, my belongings would remain in the same condition that I left them. However, if the storage climate is not controlled and correct relative humidity levels not maintained, your precious belongings could be at risk of damage.

1. ART

Paintings and fine art can expand or shrink in extreme temperatures or even be subject to mildew & mould in humid environments.

Ideal Storage Conditions: 16 – 24◦C with a 50% relative humidity

2. DELICATE FABRICS

Clothing, plush toys, rolls of fabric and upholstered furniture all need to be stored in an environment of even temperature and humidity. If temperatures are too high, mould can grow and fabric dyes are at risk of breaking down. Too low and individual fibres could get too brittle and break.

Ideal Storage Conditions: 16 – 23◦C  with a 55% relative humidity

3. PAPER ITEMS

Books, comics, magazines, photographs and business documents are at risk of warping, wrinkling, turning yellow and mould growth in extreme temperatures. In damp condition, cardboard boxes will lose structural rigidity. These items are best kept away from the light as well to prevent fading.

Ideal Storage Conditions: 20 – 24◦C with a 35% – 50% relative humidity

4. ELECTRONICS

Computers, cameras, speakers are all at risk from corrosion and mould in humid environments. A high level of humidity can cause internal components of PCs to rust and degrade some of their essential properties, such as electrical resistance or thermal conductivity. Under extreme conditions, humidity can cause computers to short-circuit, resulting in effects ranging from loss of data to physical damage of some system components.

Ideal Storage Conditions: 20 – 24◦C with a 35% – 65% relative humidity

5. WOODEN FURNITURE

Antique wood does not like fluctuating temperatures. This type of material is at risk of contracting in colder temperatures and expanding in warmer ones. Wood rot and mould could also pay a visit if humidity levels are too high. Oh, and wood items fare better if they are polished with oil before storing.

Ideal Storage Conditions: 16 – 29◦C with a 30% – 50% relative humidity

6. LEATHER FURNITURE

Leather can be susceptible to moisture if it isn’t stored in a facility with suitable climate control, causing mildew and mould to form. For added protection, make sure your leather furniture is clean and dry. Remove any plastic shrink-wrapping, as this will trap moisture, and cover your leather furniture pieces in furniture blankets. These will help protect your pricey sofa from dirt, dust and moisture whilst stored in a climate controlled facility. Don’t even think about storing anything on top of your leather furniture, indentations will appear over time.

Ideal Storage Conditions: 16 – 29◦C with a 30% – 50% relative humidity

7. WINE

Wine is particularly difficult to store properly so probably best just drunk! If stored in a humid environment, wine can age too quickly which will turn it a cloudy, brown colour. Bottle labels are at risk of peeling off if condensation arises and wine corks could dry out and crumble, making opening the bottle impossible.

Ideal Storage Conditions: 13◦C with a 50% – 80% relative humidity

 8. HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES

In extreme temperatures, the electronic and mechanical parts of washing machines, tumble dryers, microwaves and refrigerators, are all at risk from cracking and rusting, causing irreparable damage. It goes without saying that before storage, appliances need to be thoroughly clean and dry.

Ideal Storage Conditions: 16 – 29◦C with a 30% – 50% relative humidity

9. MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

Musical instruments need to be handled with great care and whether it’s short or long term shortage, temperature control is an absolute necessity. Take a piano for example. If stored in extreme temperatures and humidity, its strings can rust and corrode, its wooden exterior could expand (or contract) and its keys can stick and stop functioning.

Ideal Storage Conditions: 20 – 25◦C with a 45% – 55% relative humidity

10. METAL ITEMS

Within a storage facility, it will be moisture that metal fears the most. Depending on the type of metal stored, you can expect rust to develop, for the metal to turn a different colour and if its lead, to turn into a white powder.

Ideal Storage Conditions: 5 – 22◦C with a 35% – 55% relative humidity

dehum works with several self-storage operators to create ‘climate controlled’ storage.

If you are planning on setting up a new self-storage facility or could do with improving the climate control within an existing building, please get in touch. We can help you maintain the magic 50 – 55% relative humidity level, necessary to keep virtually every item stored in a pristine condition.

If you would find out more about how dehum can help your business, please visit our website www.dehum.com or call 01926 882624.

 

 

 

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Using our engineering expertise and skill base, we are able to design unique applications, based on calculated psychometrics, to achieve and maintain optimum relative humidity levels (RH%) or accelerating drying. 

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