Handling Humidity in Storage Units Like a Floridian
Humidity is one of the biggest threats to keeping items pristine in storage. Moisture can create environments that attract pests and grow mold. Besides, materials can rot and decay over time when constantly exposed to damp conditions. Before you store your items long-term, you must take care to eliminate the possibility of moisture developing. This is especially important in Florida, where it is hot and humid most of the year.
In fact, Florida has one of the highest relative humidity (RH) rates of 74.5%, which makes it the second most humid state in the U.S, with only Alaska beating it with an RH of 77.1%. However, Florida's heat is what makes storing items in humid conditions a bigger threat.
Heat and moisture are instant breeding grounds for bacteria and mildew growth, which can ruin precious upholstery, clothing, and seasonal items. To help you store with confidence, here's how to handle humidity in storage units like a Floridian.
Choose A Climate-Controlled Storage Unit
Your first step to combat moisture is to get the best possible environment for your belongings to reduce moisture. This is why it is important to get a climate control storage unit if you plan to store items long-term in a humid area.
A moisture-resistant, climate-controlled unit will help stop humidity before it develops. This first step greatly reduces your stress and enables you to take additional moisture prevention steps without the fear that they are your only defense against long-term wear and tear.
The ideal unit will have some kind of dehumidifying agent like an air conditioner or dehumidifier installed in the building. These will work continuously keep humidity levels stable. Vents are also helpful in mitigating moisture build-up. Skipping this step puts all the burden on your storage items within the unit, which can reduce your chances of keeping moisture levels appropriate.
Don't Ever Store Damp or Wet Items
One seemingly harmless damp towel can wreak havoc on your belongings, especially when placed inside an enclosed container. By storing a wet item, you can make it easier for mildew and mold to grow on your items within the same container.
To be sure that all your items are dry, wipe them down with a towel, lay them out in the sun on a clear day, or give them a once-over with a hairdryer. This extra step will save you plenty of grief when you come to retrieve your summer floaties and gardening gear.
Keep Contents Dry with Desiccants
You can use the same concept that protects beef jerky from spoiling to keep our items dry. In each beef jerky pack, you'll find a sachet of silica gel. This is also known as a desiccant, or an agent that sucks the moisture out of the air to keep items dry. Head to your nearest hardware store to get large, storage-grade silica packs, or you can also make your own desiccant with charcoal.
To keep your belongings dry, simply place the store-bought silica gel packs in your boxes before sealing them. It can also be helpful to place a few dehumidifying packs around the storage unit to aid with the moisture-control process.
To use charcoal, wrap some charcoal briquettes with fabric and store them in a box. You can also place charcoal around the storage unit to absorb moisture and get rid of bad smells. Charcoal and silica packs must be replaced every two months or as needed to maintain peak efficacy.
Use a Vapor Barrier
To give your storage unit extra support, install a vapor barrier where the most outdoor moisture can sneak in. For example, place a polyethylene plastic sheet on the warm side of the storage wall or on the ground to block moisture.
This same concept is used in crawl spaces and flooring to keep moisture from seeping into spaces and making unhealthy environments.
Store Items Strategically
To minimize the risk of mold forming, store every item in a way that maximizes airflow. Keep items off the ground as much as possible. Using wooden pallets or hanging items on a rack are two excellent ways to make it possible.
Wrap as many items as possible with a plastic sheet or blanket so that there is a barrier between the item and direct open air. This takes the concept of a vapor barrier and applies it to larger items like furniture and appliances.
Whenever possible, get air-tight containers that don't have any leaks. This will maximize the effectiveness of your desiccants because humid air won't reach the items inside.
Use Vacuum Sealed Bags
Whenever you take moisture out of the air, you're reducing humidity levels. You can make even bigger gains by eliminating air altogether. Vacuum seal storage bags can protect small items and clothing from moisture by eliminating their contact with air for the duration of their storage in the bag.
These storage bags can be found in your local hardware or grocery store and are incredibly useful to preserve many items that are prone to moisture damage. However, be absolutely certain that everything that you store in these bags is 100% dry so that they don't develop a musty smell after you retrieve them later.
Throw out any faulty vacuum bags that expand even after you properly seal them. These bags have leaks and will let in moisture over time.
Be sure to check on your items every couple of months to change out desiccants and to inspect boxes for leaks. By using these preventative measures, you can store items in humid areas like Florida without worrying.
We're Your Storage Solution!
Storage Rentals of America is your convenient self-storage solution. So come into our office or give our storage experts a call at 1-800-457-5678. Our call center is available 7 days a week and can help determine which storage unit size best fits your storage needs.