If you’re looking for self-storage and live in a cool or wet climate, a unit that keeps items warm and dry might be a solid fit.

For certain items, “heated storage units are needed to prevent mold and mildew,” said Jessica Ultes, manager of Greenwood Heated Storage in Seattle, WA.

And while some goods are susceptible to changes in temperature, others, such as garage tools, might not be as affected.

Here’s an overview of what heated storage offers, and how to decide whether it’s right for your belongings.

How It Works

The premise of heated storage is pretty simple. Your items will be in a place that maintains a certain temperature, such as between 50 and 55 degrees, even when it’s colder outside.

Freeway Mini Storage
Freeway Mini Storage in Shelton, WA, offers heated storage.

Keeping the temperature inside a unit from getting too cold can protect various goods. For instance, items that contain liquid, such as cleaners, craft supplies or beverages, won’t freeze. Also, equipment that’s affected by moisture, such as electronics, will be safe.

“As long as items are dry when they go in, the 50- to 55-degree range is considered good enough to keep any moisture from collecting,” said Alan Arnold, on-site property manager at Freeway Mini Storage in Shelton, WA.

Generally, heated storage units cost slightly more than unheated units. Exactly how much more you pay for a unit depends on a number of factors, including location and unit size.

In colder areas, the price for heated storage might be higher, since it will cost a facility more to keep a unit warm. Also, expect to pay a higher amount for a large heated unit than a small heated unit, as additional heat is needed to maintain warmth in the bigger unit.

How to Decide Whether You Need It

When considering what type of storage you need, start by thinking about when and how long you’ll be storing the goods, Arnold said.

Teenage Girl Playing Violin
Heated storage can help protect musical instruments.

For instance, if you’ll be storing items for just a couple of months during a warm time of the year, you might not need heated storage. If, however, you need to store goods during cold or wet months, or for an extended period, you might need heated storage.

Also take into account the belongings you plan to store. Items that might be at risk in cold temperatures include furniture, musical instruments, computers, cameras, TVs, photos, antiques and painting. Papers, books and collectibles might fare better in a heated unit as well.

If you plan to store metal parts, exercise equipment or items that doesn’t contain any liquid, you might not need a heated unit.

Additional Considerations

When you look at the goods you want to store, you might find you have some items that need heated storage and some that don’t. To decide what to do, take an inventory. If you’ve got only one or two items that need heated storage, you might want to find a place in your home for them, and store the rest of your stuff in an unheated unit. If, however, there are various things that need to stay warm and dry, a heated storage unit might be the better option.

Also consider the value of the stuff you want to store. If you have a large amount of files that need to be kept safe or you want to store items that hold sentimental value, a heated storage unit will give them an extra layer of protection.

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Rachel Hartman