What Are Climate-Controlled Storage Units?

Andreea Draguleasa
Last Updated on April 26, 2024
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When navigating the seas of moving, decluttering or just finding that little extra space, storage units emerge as a beacon of convenience. But wait—not all storage units are the same. The key to shielding your precious possessions comes down to a simple choice — finding the right kind of storage unit tailored just for you.

Among the many options, one stands out for its meticulous attention to preserving your items: climate-controlled storage units. The burning question, then, is whether you need to pay the extra premium for temperature control to protect your goods.

Our aim here is to give you a well-rounded view, allowing you to make an informed choice that best suits your needs. With a deep dive into the world of climate-controlled storage, we will help you pick the right sanctuary for your belongings.

Understanding Climate Controlled Storage

So, what exactly is a climate-controlled storage unit?

Picture this: a storage unit that offers a constant oasis of optimal conditions, ensuring that temperature and humidity levels remain steady. Most of these climate-controlled storage units are maintained between 50- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit, providing a safe haven for your items, no matter the weather outside.

These units typically reside within an indoor climate controlled storage facility, meaning you access them from inside the building, as opposed to a drive-up unit. This design not only bolsters the units’ ability to regulate temperature but also enhances security.

Assessing Your Storage Needs

In determining your storage needs, three main factors require your attention. These include the nature of your items, the climatic conditions of your geographical location and the intended storage duration.

The Sensitivity of Stored Items

Many possessions have specific climate needs. Extremes in temperature or humidity can lead to damage such as warping, cracking and discoloration, while moisture can cause mildew and mold growth, particularly in units lacking temperature control.

Items that are especially susceptible to damage in a non-climate-controlled environment include, but are not limited to:

The Role of Location and Climate

The locale of the storage unit and its associated climatic conditions significantly influence your storage requirements. Various climate conditions in different regions can lead to a unique set of challenges for your stored items, particularly when it comes to extremes in temperature, high humidity or severe weather conditions.

The Impact of Storage Duration

The length of time your items are stored also plays a crucial role. While short-term storage might pose minimal risk to your possessions, long-term storage without climate control can potentially harm sensitive items. Thus, if you are planning for an extended storage period, a climate-controlled storage unit becomes increasingly important.

A common mistake is people don’t think climate-controlled storage is necessary because their things won’t be in a unit for very long.

“Climate control is always worth it just to have airflow,” said Erik Thorson, an independent agent with World Insurance who specializes in insurance with self-storage facilities. “Even if you’re in a coastal climate in California where it doesn’t necessarily get that hot, it still gets hotter inside the building than it would be outside.”

Benefits of Climate-Controlled Storage

When it comes to safeguarding your possessions, climate-controlled storage offers numerous benefits. These units protect your belongings from temperature fluctuations, guard against humidity-related damage and often provide advanced security measures.

Shielding from Temperature Extremes

Extreme heat or cold can wreak havoc on sensitive items. The damage can range from physical distortion to color fading. By maintaining a stable temperature, climate-controlled storage units help preserve the original condition of your stored belongings. If you are only worried about extreme cold, heated storage units will do the trick.

Dampness Deterrence

High humidity is an unseen enemy for many storage items, causing problems like photos sticking together, wood furniture warping or leather goods cracking. More severe cases can even lead to mold growth on upholstery and cardboard boxes.

Storage facilities combat this by using HVAC systems and dehumidifiers to maintain optimal humidity levels in the temperature control storage units. These systems cool the air and remove excess moisture, keeping the humidity around 55 percent – an ideal level for preserving your items.


Image credit: SSA – Climate Control 101 

Enhanced Security Advantage

Climate-controlled storage facilities not only provide temperature and humidity control, but they also frequently offer advanced security features. The reason for this added protection lies in the value of the items susceptible to environmental damage that are typically stored in these units, which is often high.

These facilities are typically located indoors with fewer access points, thus bolstering security. Lastly, due to their higher rental rates, these facilities have additional revenue to invest in comprehensive security measures. Therefore, opting for climate-controlled storage means your valuable or delicate items are safeguarded against environmental hazards and potential security threats alike.

Pro tip: Many storage facilities list their security features online. Look for things like 24/7 surveillance, gated access, individual unit alarms and on-site personnel.

How Much Does a Climate-Controlled Self-Storage Unit Cost?

Renting climate-controlled or simply heated storage units often carries a higher cost, typically 20 percent to 50 percent more than traditional storage. For instance, a standard 10×10 climate-controlled unit may come in at about $140 per month, while the same size unit without climate control might be $90.

Though the upfront cost is higher, consider the potential expenses of repairing or replacing items damaged due to adverse climate condition. This investment in heated self storage (or, even better, climate-controlled storage) becomes especially pertinent when safeguarding valuable or irreplaceable items.

Beyond Climate-Control: Safeguarding Your Items

Additionally, it is important to factor in the cost of insurance. While storage facilities may offer basic insurance coverage, this often only covers damage from uncontrollable events like fires or natural disasters.

Thorson says depending on what you store in your unit you may want to look into additional coverage.

“If, for example, you’re storing automobiles or artwork you might want to put that on a collections policy that would provide broader coverage than even a homeowner’s policy,” he said. 

Thorson says two things get people into trouble, one is when they mistakenly assume they don’t have true ‘valuables’ and take the risk of not having adequate insurance coverage. 

“I’ve seen folks who stored something like a high value piece of artwork while they’re in between homes or relocating,” he said. “The unit wasn’t climate controlled so it gets super hot inside and warps the art or melts it a little bit. They didn’t choose to take out a collections policy and their homeowner’s policy didn’t cover a specific piece of artwork and they were out of luck.”

Alternatives to Climate-Controlled Storage

Climate-controlled storage, while providing optimal protection, might not be necessary for everyone. Alternative storage options, including traditional storage units, portable storage containers or even utilizing space in your home, can be viable and cost-effective solutions.

  • Traditional storage units without climate control are perfect for items that aren’t sensitive to temperature or humidity, such as plastic or metal goods.
  • Portable storage containers offer flexibility and ease of accessibility, suitable for short-term storage needs.
  • However, for delicate items, or when storing in regions with extreme climate conditions, climate-controlled storage remains your best bet.

It is essential to carefully assess your items and storage needs before deciding on the most suitable option.

Making an Informed Decision

Choosing the right storage solution requires careful consideration of multiple factors. This includes the type of items you’re storing, their sensitivity to temperature or humidity fluctuations, the location and climate of your region and the intended storage duration.

In essence, prioritizing the protection of your items is crucial. Whether they are family heirlooms, valuable artwork, sensitive documents or even everyday household goods, ensuring their safety from climatic extremes or humidity-induced damage is paramount.

When it comes to choosing a storage facility, consider offerings, security measures and customer reviews. Look for facilities with comprehensive insurance coverage, consistent climate-control protocols and a strong track record of customer satisfaction.

Pro tip: Enter your address, city or zip code on SpareFoot to find the most suitable options in your area. After all, the best decision is an informed decision, tailored to your unique storage needs.

The Value of Climate-Controlled Storage

In our journey through storage solutions, we have traversed the terrain of climate-controlled storage, outlining its key attributes and advantages. We have dug into the items that need this special care, underscored the influence of location and storage duration and walked through cost aspects and potential alternatives.

The bottom line is, when it comes to safeguarding valuable, delicate or climate-sensitive items, climate-controlled storage units are a robust defense. However, the final choice remains yours. Carefully evaluate your unique needs and the worth of your items and select a facility that guarantees their preservation.

Remember, your distinct storage requirements merit a tailored solution. Make an informed decision and protect your invaluable possessions.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on August 7, 2023 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Andreea Draguleasa

Andreea Draguleasa showed an affinity for foreign languages and literature at an early age and started writing when she was 6. She studied journalism, advertising, and public relations at the University of Bucharest and worked as a content writer for a tourism agency and as a journalist for a magazine in the hospitality industry until 2010. After seven years as marketing manager for a Home & Deco online shop, she realized that learning something new every day brings her the most joy, so she went back to researching and writing informative articles. Through her experience traveling the world, she's picked up tips and resources she now shares on self storage solutions. When not writing about home organizing and storage, Andreea spends most of her time reading, playing video games, and spoiling her cat.
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