Temperature-controlled storage units are a great way to take care of valued belongings without the worry of what might happen due to them sitting in a single place for too long. When talking with a provider of temperature-controlled storage facilities, though, you need to ask some questions about how they handle their systems and take care of your stuff.
What Are Their Operating Ranges?
Every system has a certain degree of variance, and you need to know in advance exactly what that range is. Most people storing items are shooting for something in the 55- to 75-degree range. Go too low, and the system may begin to cause condensation or even frost. Go too high, and there may end up being chemical reactions in materials that are stored, such as plastics.
It's also prudent to ask whether the company air conditions or dehumidifies the facility. Even if your stuff will be stored in a dry region, such as southern California, don't assume humidity isn't an issue. Condensation can collect in almost any cool, dark area.
Ask the companies you're looking at storing items with for a guarantee of those specifications in writing. Don't be afraid to also look into low-power remote temperature monitors to leave behind to verify that these guarantees are fulfilled. If the company won't make that offer, then you might want to explore other options.
What Will the Costs Be?
A climate-controlled unit will typically cost about $25 to $30 per month more than one that's basically just a shed. Standard 5x5 units, for example, go about $40 to $60 a month, so assume the price would be about $90 a month on the high for one with temperature control included. Bear in mind that larger temperature-controlled storage units may end up costing a bit more because they consume extra energy to cool and heat. You also can anticipate paying more to store items at a place that has significant security systems and personnel on-site.
Do They Offer Drive-Up Service?
Being able to drive up close to the unit is a major convenience, but some facilities are located indoors so the access isn't as easy. In those cases, you might have to get a cart from the company to move your items into your designated unit. If possible, try to get in touch with a firm that offers a drive-up service or fee-free assistance with getting items into units.