Self-storage units typically fall under one of two different categories: climate-controlled and non-climate-controlled. Climate-controlled units offer a higher level of protection since the temperature and humidity are both regulated. When items are stored in environments of fluctuating humidity, it can open up a whole new world of problems, which we’re going to discuss in greater detail here.
You might be surprised to learn that humidity (or lack thereof) can attract numerous types of pests to self-storage units, including dust mites. These microscopic pests don’t bite, sting or burrow into the body (thankfully). However, they can trigger allergic reactions when exposed to the upper-respiratory system. Studies have shown that dust mites prefer environments with a minimum relative humidity of 50%. Fleas and mites are also known to thrive in humid environments.
Wood is gyroscopic, meaning it swells and contracts depending on the surrounding humidity. If wood furniture is stored in a non-climate-controlled unit for long periods of time, it may show visible signs of damage, such as cracking and warping. So, how exactly does this occur? When wood furniture is stored in an environment with low humidity, its moisture content will evaporate into the air. On the other hand, wood furniture stored in high-humid environments will absorb moisture from the surrounding air. This process is perfectly normal, but excessive fluctuations in the humidity may cause severe damage to wood furniture, so take this into consideration when bidding on self-storage units containing wood furniture.
Humidity may also impact music instruments in self-storage units. Guitars, for instance, are particularly susceptible to the effects of humidity. Assuming the body and neck is made of wood, it will swell and contract depending on the relative humidity. The strings on a guitar may also develop rust and corrosion when exposed to high-humid environments. The air-borne moisture vapor will land on the guitar strings, causing oxidation to occur. And once oxidation begins, rust is soon to follow.
Of course, clothes, bed linens, window curtains and other fabrics will suffer damage when stored in non-climate-controlled units. High humidity can cause fabrics to literally rot, while also contributing to the formation of mold and mildew. Washing may offer some initial relief of foul odors caused by humidity, but it won’t restore clothes to their original condition.
Hopefully, this will give you a better idea of the impact humidity has on self-storage units.