STORAGE — “Climate-Control” or “Non Climate-Control?”


Climate-Controlled Storage Building

Climate-Controlled Storage Building





Non-Climate-Controlled Storage with External Door

Non-Climate-Controlled Storage with External Door



With apologies to “Public Storage” and other climate-control storage companies—“Climate-Control Storage” is mostly a marketing gimmick and a very Non-Green one at that (think of how much energy they are using cooling and heating all those storage units.  It is a shame to spend all that energy cooling inanimate objects.  The furniture is not going to complain about the heat—I assure you.)  The fact is: in the far majority of cases, non-climate controlled storage works just fine.  You may have heard of furniture sustaining damage in non-climate controlled storage, and that is invariably because WATER GOT INTO THE STORAGE UNIT!  Especially when water got into the unit, and then SHRINK WRAP HELD THE WATER IN PLACE.  This creates mildew and over time it is damaging to both upholstery and wood furniture.  IF IT IS RAINING ON THE DAY FURNITURE IS PUT INTO STORAGE, THEN NO SHRINK WRAP SHOULD BE PUT DIRECTLY ON THE FURNITURE!  The furniture can be padded first and then shrink wrap can be wrapped over the pads to hold them in place.

As more evidence against climate-controlled storage, think of this:  When the sofa is made in the factory, is the factory climate-controlled?  No.  When the sofa is driven in the truck to “Havertys,”  is the truck climate-controlled?  No.  When the sofa is stored in Haverty’s warehouse, is the warehouse climate-controlled?  No.  It is only when the sofa gets to Haverty’s showroom that it becomes climate-controlled.  When it is sold it is then transported once again in a non-climate controlled truck.

It is true that the units in a climate-controlled building are down the hall away from the outside door, thus protecting against water entry.  But it is also true that non-climate-controlled units at their door—slope up into the unit, thus preventing the inflow of water.  And I can assure you, the warehouses of the major Van Lines—United, Mayflower etc. are not climate-controlled.

Wood furniture, upholstery:  as long as there is no water present—stores fine in non-climate-controlled storage units.  Mattresses and box springs also do fine as long as they are dry and have a pad or blanket to rest on, but I think it is worth it to put them into mattress boxes—they just stay clean that way, and off the concrete floor.

Now I wouldn’t store the “Mona Lisa” in non-climate controlled storage.  Nor would I store the original US Constitution in non-climate controlled storage.  Probably I also wouldn’t store a 16th Century French Sofa in non-climate controlled storage.  Climate-controlled storage sometimes costs twice as much as regular storage.  If a furniture piece or artwork belongs in an art museum, then go with the expensive climate-control.  Otherwise save your money . . . and the electricity.

11 thoughts on “STORAGE — “Climate-Control” or “Non Climate-Control?”

  1. This is a very incomplete assessment. It only talks about furniture, as if that is the only thing anybody would ever store. Some will need to store electronics, clothing, plastics, or other items that are sensitive to variations in temperature or humidity. Be warned and do more research than this article provides.

  2. Holly,

    Thank you for your interesting comment about older furniture being “stouter” since it was necessarily built to handle extremes of temperature before the advent of home air conditioning and furnace heating. I tell customers that today’s furniture is manufactured and trucked, and moved in non-climate controlled situations, but I forget that all the antiques out there certainly survived for decades or even hundreds of years without “climate control.” It is also true that “real furniture” is constructed of “real wood” which has the full “water permeability advantage” (small amounts of water flow through it without damage to the wood). But with modern furniture of which so much is constructed of pressboard–I am sure it is not as water permeable. So it is more prone to collapse. We unloaded a customer’s storage bin where the furniture had been in there for four years. The previous movers had improperly left on the shrink wrap. Water vapor must have gotten between the shrink wrap and the pressboard furniture, and the top of a dresser collapsed!

  3. In answer to your statement about weather affecting furniture in storage, cold weather specifically, you can sometimes expect to have better performance out of older pieces in non-climate controlled storage. Consider this: from about the 1920’s and earlier, pieces were built in, and continually exposed to, extreme climates in the home, as air conditioning was hardly common. These pieces were built to withstand these conditions better than today’s less stout pieces of furniture that might otherwise delaminate or warp. These seemingly fragile antiques of the past may actually perform better and stronger in storage. Of course they will react happily as well to climate controlled so, if you’re not sure, just make sure that you use climate controlled for the best environment because it’s most like being in the home itself. On a side note – very cold temperatures will sometimes cause glue to lose its stick-to-it-iveness and delaminate everything from fabric, tile, glass, metal, wood, and other elements that are glued, when temperatures dip below 54, as a rule. Just make sure whatever environment (according to Mohawk Capet Industries – including your summer home to protect flooring and more), you keep most items meant for indoors basquing in indoor climates for best results.

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    • My 17 years of moving and storage experience is in the Southeast. In Atlanta in the winter it gets down in the 20s and sometimes the teens. A few winters in the last 17 years it has gotten down into “single digits.” I’ve never heard from customers about furniture damage within these ranges of temperatures. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable storing a 20K Dining Room set in a non climate-controlled unit in Northern Minnesota, for example. Does anyone else have any experience with furniture damage caused by extreme cold temperatures?

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