Damp is a problem that can really plague any living or storage environment if not attended to promptly. If you suspect or even predict a damp problem amongst the items you are storing, with the tell tale beginnings of mould and mustiness, prompt action needs to be taken. If your unit is not climate controlled, or bears the brunt of the weather by being outside, you may be particularly prone to this.
The first obvious method of prevention is to make sure that you aren’t introducing the damp problem yourself. If think placing a wet item in storage means it will dry out and all will be fine, then that could be part of the problem. Due to the lack of opportunity for ventilation, the moisture will simply spread itself across the other items in your unit, especially those prone to decay. So what might have seemed like a time saving idea, is quite a bad one in retrospect. Do not introduce dampness into the unit is rule number one for preventing it in the first place.
The next step to take is to consider looking after boxes that contain papers, clothing and other such materials. Remember when you bought that new briefcase and inside was that tiny package of chemicals which you threw away with the other packing materials? We are going to use something similar here. The substance is called silica gel, and its purpose is to keep the inside of containers odour and moisture free. Silica gel comes in sachets at a very cheap cost, and you can put them in the boxes before sealing them up. Once in, they will get to work on absorbing any water vapour in the environment whilst remaining dry. They do need replacing, on an annual basis under normal circumstances, or more regularly if you feel that damp is a common problem in your unit. For short term storage therefore, you will not need to consider any replacement program.
In a more general sense, it is also recommended to add a room moisture absorber. You may already have one in your house. If not, like the silica gel, there are several suppliers of these on the cheaper internet retail outfits. They usually consist of a plastic container containing a chemical that sucks in surrounding moisture and drips it into a feeder tray underneath. This does take a little maintenance, in that its chemical constituent will need to be replaced, as will obviously the water, but it is a general method of assurance that the problems of moisture and humidity can be reduced considerably. You can also get dry versions of these too, containing small balls that collect moisture, but as with any solution they need replacing from time to time for the method to stay effective.
So the message really is to keep damp items out at all times, and if the location and properties of your unit mean that you are going to struggle with damp in any case, then there are chemical solutions that can reduce the amount of water vapour hitting your items nearby and throughout the whole unit.
Posted in: Storage Info