Keeping electronics in long-term storage is not always an easy task. If you need the electronics and simply don't have room, you probably want to remove them in decent condition in a few months or years. This can be a problem if dust buildup, humidity, insect infestation, or especially theft ruins your stored investments. Consider a few protective measures and desirable storage facility features to keep your electronics safe.
The Dangers Of Dust And Humidity
Dust and humidity are your enemies when it comes to electronics storage. When dust settles inside electronics, it becomes like a layer of insulation; a warming blanket that attracts more materials to become thicker and more efficient at holding in heat. Humidity, on the other hand, can rust or corrode metals if allowed to collect and settle for days or weeks at a time.
The problem isn't evident until the electronics are turned on. The most common problem is a device that overheats because the heat in the form of electricity builds up in the system. Instead of escaping into the air from fans and vents, the heat is trapped in layers of dust.
Dust can be cleaned out, although this requires a professional--or at least a skilled, seasoned hobbyist--to carry out thorough cleaning without damaging components. Corrosion from humidity, unfortunately, causes permanent damage that requires component or full device replacement.
Air Conditioning As A Basic Quality Control
Air conditioning handles dust and humidity issues at the basic level. The filtration reduces dust and debris buildup, while the passive cooling process reduces humidity in the air. Moving, cool air also reduces the amount of stagnant humidity in connected spaces.
You may see air conditioning as a feature on many modern storage facilities. It's a common feature, but it's advertised prominently because it's not universal. There are low cost storage facilities that can be leased at low cost to you without air conditioning, but for electronics, it's not a budget point you can afford to leave out.
Ask to see the filter in use. The facility doesn't need a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter unless specifically advertised, but a filter that isn't caked with completely blocking dust or dented is the least you should expect.
To be effective, air conditioned areas need a proper seal. This means that doors and vents are properly fixed to the walls, usually with a layer of sealant on wall-attached vents and windows, as well as weather stripping for doors. Any holes or cracks should be brought to the facility's attention, as simple sealing with caulk, silicon, or other sealant products should suffice.
In addition to keeping the air conditioning at peak performance, proper sealing can keep insects out and make theft from breaking through door weaknesses harder. Contact a storage facility, such as U-Stor-It, to discuss the features available that could mean the difference between getting your electronics out in the same shape, or dealing with a dust, corroded mess.