When the weather outside is frightful, you want your belongings to be delightful-ly protected from the elements. 

Okay, the retooled song lyric may be a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea — if you choose to keep certain things in a basic storage unit, they can become damaged by extreme weather conditions. When your belongings are stored year-round (perhaps even for multiple years), temperature fluctuations or sustained high heat or cold can cause cracking, melting, peeling, and warping.

If you have stuff that can be altered by certain temperatures, climate-controlled storage may be your best solution for long-lasting protection. This is a more expensive option, though, so it helps to know what climate-controlled storage is, the cost associated with it, and what types of items require this level of care. Let’s dive in.

Air conditioning units above a door

Do I need climate-controlled storage?

With self-storage, you rent space — usually by the month — to keep belongings out of your home. You can store almost anything in your self-storage unit (more on that later) and dictate how things are arranged. One of the benefits of self-storage is you can add and remove items as necessary. Self-storage units come with different features and benefits, like climate control.

You can probably guess this from the name, but climate-controlled storage is a type of storage that maintains a steady temperature — typically between 55°F and 85°F — and is usually located in an indoor facility.

These storage units keep items protected from not only high or low temperatures but also humidity. The reason for this is because when heat and humidity combine, moisture is created. Because climate-controlled storage has these features, it usually has a more expensive monthly fee than other storage unit types.

A man paying on his mobile phone for his climate-controlled storage unit

How much does a storage unit cost per month?

Storage unit costs depend on various factors

  1. For starters, the facilities are broken down into two categories: indoor and outdoor. Indoor storage facilities typically have higher security measures and more controlled unit temperatures, even if they’re not technically climate controlled.
  2. Since you’ve made it to this point in the article, you know that besides indoor and outdoor, units can be climate controlled and non–climate controlled. Climate control is usually a pricier feature.
  3. One of the most significant factors that weighs into storage unit prices is the unit size. Larger units cost more than smaller ones.

Average monthly storage unit cost by size

SizeStandardClimate-controlled
5’ x 10’$67$85
10’ x 10’$107$132
10’ x 15’$133$173
10’ x 20’$156$222

For more detailed information on storage unit types, costs, and average PODS container storage costs, check out this article.

A monthly budget sheet

Is climate-controlled storage worth the cost?

Items with a high value, be it sentimental or actual, should be kept in climate-controlled storage. The investment is worth the added peace of mind. After all, the point of storing your stuff is to be able to keep it around for later, right?

Here are some examples of things that will be more protected in a controlled environment:

  • Furniture, especially pieces made of wood: Moisture can stain, rot, and eventually destroy the wood if left unattended for too long. Also consider storing furniture made of wicker, leather, upholstery, or metal.
  • Electronic equipment: Even a small amount of condensation can render your electronics nonfunctional.
  • Clothing: Some clothing can withstand the changing temperatures, but high-dollar pieces — like a fur coat — should be kept in a controlled climate.
  • Artwork: Moisture can degrade paint and warp canvases.
  • Musical instruments: Not only can water damage instrument cases and linings, but temperature fluctuations can also create expansions and contractions in the instrument materials.
  • Paperwork and photographs: Don’t let water destroy tax documents, pictures, and other important documents. Sometimes staining and illegibility makes certain documentation invalid.
  • Collectibles: No matter if it’s rare stamps, vintage wines, or classic cars — if you’ve invested money in a collection, why risk harm or damage?
PODS storage containers in a PODS storage facility

When should I choose a regular storage unit over climate-controlled storage?

If you’re looking for a place to store moving boxes, off-season clothes, holiday decorations, and other general items, you probably don’t need climate-controlled storage — especially if you don’t need the unit for a long period of time.

Also, before investing in climate-controlled storage, consider the weather in your location. If you live in Florida and have months of extreme humidity and high temperatures, you may need climate-controlled storage no matter what you’re keeping in the unit. However, if you live in Michigan and only need to store some things for a few spring months, outdoor conditions may not be an issue. It all depends on what you’re storing, what it’s worth, and the weather in your area.

Climate-controlled storage is great — when you need it. But if your belongings don’t require that level of environmental control, the added expense can be a real burden. Secure PODS Storage Centers, while not strictly following climate-control standards, offer a double layer of protection from the elements: the containers themselves plus the facility. Additionally, PODS Storage Centers aren’t open to the public, and access is only available by appointment — unlike conventional self-storage. 

Jugs of gasoline lined up next to each other

What can I not keep in a climate-controlled storage unit?

So many things can be kept in a storage unit — if it fits, it’s fair game! Well, almost. Here are some items that will likely be prohibited from your storage unit, whether or not it’s climate-controlled.

  • Food: It’s not a good idea to keep perishable items in a storage unit, even if the temperature is regulated. A controlled temperature isn’t the same as a refrigerator, and this is a good way to cause mold and mildew.
  • Firearms: It’s typically illegal to store firearms in a storage unit because of liability issues.
  • Hazardous materials: Again, for liability reasons, you can’t keep acid, gasoline, fireworks, narcotics, paint, propane, kerosene, and other potentially harmful materials in a storage unit. It’s a recipe for disaster.
  • Living things: No, we’re not talking about people (that should go without being said)! Plants, ash remains, and pets shouldn’t be kept in storage.
  • Money: You’re not Scarface. Keep your cash in the bank where it belongs.

Once you’ve made the decision to use a storage unit — whether it is climate controlled or not  —  some of the main features you’ll want to consider are security, easy access to your belongings, and excellent customer service. Fortunately, PODS can check all of those boxes.

When you select a PODS portable container, you’re getting more than storage; you’re getting flexible solutions — that come in a variety of sizes — made to meet your specific needs. Plus, after you order and load your container, we’ll personally deliver it to one of our secure Storage Centers, where your things will only be a phone call away.

For more advice on storing items long-term — as well as general tips and tricks for moving, storage, and beyond — visit the PODS blog, Containing the Chaos.


LB Gabriel is a freelance writer and frequent PODS blog contributor. When she’s not on a deadline, you can find her on a tennis court or golf course.