It isn't easy to find friends and family willing to store precious belongings. Even if you have trusted companions who would take good care of your property, they may not have enough free space to accommodate everything. Public storage units are a good option, but some items such as electronics may require special conditions. Take a look at what could go wrong with electronics in storage and how to protect your devices.
Electronics Can Become Dust Disasters
If you plan on storing electronics for months or more at a time, think about what goes into maintaining the device. Is regular cleaning necessary? How much effort does it take to clean the system? What happens if cleaning isn't thoroughly completed? Every device has different requirements and levels of risk, but consider computers as an example.
Computers contain multiple components that operate at relatively high temperatures. There's no single temperature threshold for all components, but parts such as the processor can get hot enough to cause a fire if not cooled correctly.
When a stored computer is taken out of storage and turned on, you'll have a blanket of dust on the inside. Some of it may blow out of the exhaust ports as the fan turns on, but you'll still have a lot of dust layering the inside.
The blanket of dust can make an already hot situation worse as the insulating dust raises normal temperatures. Dust can begin to heat and burn even if the computer shuts off before overheating, leading to possible burns on the board and other components. Although the components didn't critically heat, small layers of metal and wiring can still be damaged by the layered dust.
Even if you think to clean your computer before using it after it's been in storage, there's technical skill that goes into proper cleaning of the system. You'll need to not only get as much debris as possible out of the system, but also use techniques that won't damage the system.
No, You Can't Just Put It In A Box
One instinct would be to put the computer in a protective box. Unfortunately, boxes aren't a perfect defense against damage over time in storage. Unless the container is airtight, dust can still enter the box, although dust will collect slower than it would on an exposed object. Dust gets inside your computer on a regular basis, and the same thing happens with boxes through unseen gaps in the lid.
Humidity or muggy weather can be a problem, and a box may become an area of trapped humidity that moistens collected dust and creates a dirty paste that's even harder to clean off. Make sure that the storage facility has clean systems available to keep your belongings protected.
You'll need to do more than check for air-conditioned units. Is the ventilation clean? Have you confirmed the air quality, or are you just having a quick glance at the facilities? Ask the facility management for a tour of different units and look at the ventilation. If there's dust in the ducts, request cleaning and find out how their air conditioning is filtered.
Check humidity levels next. If the area rarely breaks 50% or 60% humidity (considered comfortable humidity), it'll be fine to use a box to slow the dust down without much risk of soggy dust.
Speak with a public storage facility manager to discuss available services and to inspect the location.