What to Know About Climate-Controlled Storage

At a glance

Whether you’re decluttering your home, renovating, or in the process of moving and want to get stuff out of the way where you live and work, you might want a climate-controlled unit for some of your stuff. The service costs about 25–50 percent more than normal but goes a long way toward keeping your stuff safe. Most companies recommend climate control in a few situations:

  • You want to store easily damaged items.
  • You need long-term storage because you recently moved.
  • You live somewhere with extreme temperatures.
  • Your belongings are sentimental or expensive.

Climate control regulates temperature and humidity

Climate-controlled storage facilities are a step above your traditional storage unit. While a standard storage unit gives you a place to keep your stuff, climate-controlled units offer extra protection. These specialized units use heated storage, air conditioning, and humidity control to make sure your belongings never get too hot, cold, or wet.

Why? Because humidity and extreme temperatures can damage your items in storage. For example, extreme heat can warp furniture. Excess moisture can damage paperwork, photos, and other important, sensitive items that you might want access to at some point. And so on.

Climate-controlled storage means you can store your stuff—and keep it safe.

Climate-controlled storage costs extra

Climate-controlled storage probably costs anywhere from 25–50 percent more than non-climate-controlled storage. We say probably because storage unit prices vary so much from place to place. We’re doing a deep dive into the numbers and will have specifics for you soon. So stay tuned.

For now, if a traditional unit costs $100, you’re probably safe to budget an extra $25–$50 for climate control.

It’s easy to know if you need a climate-controlled unit

There are some simple ways to determine if you need a climate-controlled unit. You almost always want to keep certain items in a temperature-controlled storage unit. And your answers to a few basic questions can help you see if it’s worth the cost.

Recommended items for climate-controlled storage

Most self-storage facilities recommend climate-controlled units for specific items:

Furniture. Extreme temperatures and fluctuating humidity levels are terrible for leather and wooden furniture.

Electronics. Find a storage unit with humidity control for your televisions, gaming systems, music players, and smart home gadgets.

Clothing and fabric. Use climate control to be safe, and check out our tips for storing clothes in storage units.

Important paperwork. Temperature and humidity changes are murder on paper. You don’t want valuable documents coming out of storage looking like the Declaration of Independence.

Artwork. Extreme temperatures and high humidity levels can turn your fine art into droopy kindergarten projects. Hey, and maybe you’re saving your kids’ artwork too, but there’s simply no more room on the fridge for it.

Musical instruments. Avoid storage units that are too hot, cold, or wet for storing your musical instruments––like that Fender you used to play in your garage band days. Otherwise, you may find your piano strings, drum covers, and woodwind exteriors are unusable.

Household appliances. Dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens—even your Zojirushi rice cooker. The last thing you want is to store an expensive appliance in a non-climate-controlled unit and see them ruined.

Antiques. Vintage items have aged enough already. You don’t need a museum’s high-tech humidity control, but you’d be surprised how much protection your antiques can get from basic temperature monitoring and humidity sensors.

Books. Good old-fashioned novels are magnets for mildew. Add in some extreme temperatures, and your inner-bibliophile may start crying.

Computers. These suckers hold so much of your info that it’s just not worth the risk of using a storage unit without climate control.

Three questions to ask

If you’re still unsure whether you need a climate-controlled storage unit, there are a few basic questions that may help.

1. Do I need long-term storage?

The longer you need to store your belongings, the more likely you need a climate-controlled storage facility. Just about anything will be okay for a month or two. Go much longer than that, and the risks of damage start to become real.

2. What’s the weather like?

You probably want climate-controlled storage if your city drops below freezing in the winter (hello, Midwest winters!) and rises above 90°F in the summer. Same thing if you live somewhere with high humidity levels (we’re looking at you, Florida).

3. Are my belongings sentimental or expensive?

A climate-controlled storage unit is worth considering if your belongings have a lot of personal value (like photo albums)—or cost a lot of money (like power tools).

How to choose between climate control or a regular storage unit

Description of your situationClimate control recommended
My city has temperatures that fluctuate from less than 32 to more than 90°F.✔ Yes
My city is known for high humidity.✔ Yes
I need long-term storage.✔ Yes
The items in my storage unit are sentimental or expensive.✔ Yes
My city has a consistent temperature range of more than 32 and less than 90°F.No
My city doesn’t have high humidity.No
I need storage for only a month or two.No
The items in my storage unit are replaceable and affordable.No
Description of your situation
My city has temperatures that fluctuate from less than 32 to more than 90°F.
My city is known for high humidity.
I need long-term storage.
The items in my storage unit are sentimental or expensive.
My city has a consistent temperature range of more than 32 and less than 90°F.
My city doesn’t have high humidity.
I need storage for only a month or two.
The items in my storage unit are replaceable and affordable.
Climate control recommended
✔ Yes
✔ Yes
✔ Yes
✔ Yes
No
No
No
No

How to find a climate-controlled company

It’s not difficult to find a climate-controlled company: just about everyone has it. All you need to do is search online for “climate-controlled storage near me,” and you’ll probably see dozens of options within 15 miles.

Note: The storage unit temperature range varies slightly for each company, so it may be worth asking them if their climate-controlled storage units are a good fit for your specific needs.

Companies that have climate-controlled storage units

CompanyStorage unit temperature rangeDetails
CubeSmart50–80°FLearn More
Extra Space Storage55–80°FLearn More
iStorage55–85°FLearn More
Life StorageUnspecifiedLearn More
Public StorageUnspecifiedLearn More
Simply Self StorageUnspecifiedLearn More
U-Haul Self Storage65–85°FLearn More
Company
CubeSmart
Extra Space Storage
iStorage
Life Storage
Public Storage
Simply Self Storage
U-Haul Self Storage
Storage unit temperature range Details
50–80°F Learn More
55–80°F Learn More
55–85°F Learn More
Unspecified Learn More
Unspecified Learn More
Unspecified Learn More
65–85°F Learn More

Data as of 2/11/2021. Details and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Climate-controlled storage FAQ

Are PODS climate-controlled?

PODS moving and storage containers aren’t climate-controlled. However, the company’s steel containers and indoor storage warehouses offer basic protection from the weather.

What is climate control?

Climate control means that your storage facility regulates temperature and humidity levels. The service costs more but decreases the odds that your belongings will get damaged in storage.

Do I need climate-controlled storage?

You may need climate-controlled storage if you want long-term storage, live in an area with high humidity or extreme temperatures, or plan to store valuable items.

Where can I find air-conditioned storage?

You can find air-conditioned storage at nearly any self-storage facility. All you need to do is call a nearby storage unit company or read up about them online.

Is there a difference between climate-controlled storage and temperature-controlled storage?

No, there isn’t a difference between climate-controlled storage and temperature-controlled storage. Both terms describe storage units that regulate temperature and humidity levels. You may also hear these units called “air-conditioned storage,” “AC storage units,” and “climate-controlled self-storage units.”

Does U-Haul have climate-controlled storage?

Yes, U-Haul has climate-controlled storage. The company keeps its units at a temperature range between 65–85°F. Just be aware that the service is typically available for only its indoor storage units.

Do climate-controlled units protect against mildew?

Yes, climate-controlled units protect against mildew. By minimizing the moisture in your unit, climate-controlled facilities prevent mold and mildew from growing.

Can you store wine in a storage unit?

Yes, you can store wine in a storage unit. However, it can be hard to find a climate-controlled facility with a 45–65°F temperature range that’s ideal for your wine storage (most units range from about 50–80°F).

About Kurt Manwaring

Kurt Manwaring
Kurt Manwaring brings nearly a decade’s worth of research experience as a business consultant to the Move.org team. He specializes in taking complicated issues (like moving) and presenting them in a way that everyone can understand. His writing has been featured in hundreds of publications, including USA Today, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Heavy, Slate, and Yahoo! Lifestyle. He would love to hear about your moving experiences and questions at kurt@move.org.