If you rent a self-storage unit, you have to make a choice—to rent a standard storage unit or a climate controlled storage unit. The climate controlled storage option is typically the more expensive of the two, so you may be inclined to rent a traditional drive up unit without any air control at all.

Depending on what you store, that could be a costly mistake. Many personal items can be damaged by higher temperatures over a long period of time. Temperature fluctuations can cause delicate items to crack, melt, peel, or warp in storage. Humidity also poses a year-round threat in many parts of the country.

Climate control keeps temperature and humidity levels constant. Consistent temperature and humidity control can prevent damage when items are stored for a lengthy period of time.

What is Climate Controlled Storage?

Climate control in the self-storage industry can be defined differently from facility to facility. The term is a catchall for systems of temperature control, humidity control, or both systems together. Remember, just because a storage company says they offer climate control, that doesn’t always mean they regulate humidity as well. If it isn’t clear, ask.

Climate controlled storage units have become more common in recent years with about 75% of newly built facilities offering climate-control, according to the Self Storage Association.

How Much is a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit?

The cost of renting self-storage with climate control varies widely—anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent higher than traditional storage, according to the SSA.

The extra cost of climate control—often referred to as the “climate control premium”—typically adds up to 35 percent to 50 percent. A standard 10×10 storage unit with climate control might cost $140 a month to rent, while a unit without climate control could cost $90.

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Do I Need Climate Controlled Storage?

Do you need a climate controlled storage unit? Is it worth the cost? It depends on what you are storing, where you live, and the time of year.

Are you storing medical supplies or rare vinyl records in Texas during the summer? You definitely want climate-control.

But not everyone needs climate control. In many cases, traditional non-climate units will suffice for movers.

For example, those who plan to store items for short periods of time in a moderate climate probably can stick with traditional self-storage. Or, if the contents are durable and won’t be subject to warping or breakdown due to exposure to high temperatures, old school mini-storage should do just fine.

Anyone storing expensive or irreplaceable items—especially if they hold sentimental or historical value—should consider climate control. Knowing your items are being kept at a proper temperature can provide significant peace of mind.

The Benefits of a Climate Controlled Storage Unit

Extreme temperatures can wreak havoc on items kept in self storage units in many regions of the U.S. In parts of the South and West, daytime temperatures regularly reach scorching highs during the summer.

By contrast, customers in Northern states may own items that are vulnerable to temperatures that regularly fall below freezing in the winter.

Climate control storage units can keep your items at a safe temperature throughout the year.

In addition, climate control systems often maintain humidity levels, which can prevent mold and mildew from growing.

What Should Be Kept in Climate Controlled Storage Units

Temperature extremes can be tough on everything from wood and leather to pictures and videotapes. Sensitive items may crack or warp. Others may yellow, while documents may become unreadable over time. The slightest bit of moisture can spawn mildew and mold in a unit without temperature-controlled storage.

Items that may be susceptible to damage without climate control include:

  • Bedding and mattresses
  • Sports equipment
  • Musical instruments
  • Metal appliances
  • Books and other paperwork
  • Photographs
  • Important documents
  • Leather goods
  • Antique and wooden furniture
  • Shoes and clothing
  • Family heirlooms
  • Vinyl records
  • Collectibles

Climate-controlled storage reduces these risks by using heating and cooling units to keep the storage space at a safe temperature, usually at a level above freezing and below 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you are storing wine, keep in mind that your bottles need to be kept under even more controlled conditions. A specialized wine storage facility is the best bet for your prized vino collection.

Humidity: The 55 Percent Mark

Units that also offer humidity control keep humidity levels around 55 percent, according to the SSA. Humidity is particularly dangerous to a variety of items.

High humidity can cause photos to stick together, or wood furniture to warp, or leather goods to crack. Electronics, artwork and items such as pianos also may sustain damage from humid environments. High humidity can also cause mold to grow on upholstery and cardboard boxes.

If you own an item that’s especially sensitive to humidity, search for a storage unit that actively dehumidifies the air. Units that simply cool the air with air conditioning may not bring moisture levels low enough to protect all items.

Climate control is a catch-all term, so if you are concerned about humidity it is best to ask the facility for more information.

Bottom Line on Climate Controlled Self Storage

Is climate controlled storage necessary?

If you live in an area with extreme heat, extreme cold, or high humidity, climate-controlled storage units provide the best protection for your stored items. If you are storing sensitive items or plan to keep your items in storage for the long-term, climate-controlled storage units are recommended, regardless of your local climate.

Most Popular Cities for Climate Controlled Storage Units

City, StateAvg. Price Per Month
Houston, TX$59.06
Los Angeles, CA$147.48
Baltimore, MD$82.69
Chicago, IL$64.42
New York, NY$138.52
Austin, TX$71.33
Jacksonville, FL$81.91
Atlanta, GA$67.38
Columbus, OH$81.07
Phoenix, AZ$73.67
Wichita, KS$98.57
Dallas, TX$62.95
Charlotte, NC$67.89
Baton Rouge, LA$62.89
San Antonio, TX$88.51

Frequently Asked Questions

What is climate-controlled storage?

Climate-controlled self-storage units have regulated temperature and humidity levels to keep your items safe. Storage units without climate control offer no air conditioning whatsoever.

Do I need climate-controlled storage?

If you live in an area with extreme temperatures or are storing items that are especially sensitive, climate-controlled storage is usually worth the extra cost for the protection and peace of mind it provides.

How much does climate-controlled storage cost?

Climate controlled self-storage typically costs about 35% to 50% more than a unit without climate control. A standard 10×10 storage unit with climate control might cost $140 a month to rent.