Preparing your storage unit for winter weather

Preparing your storage unit for winter weather

Winter is coming!

Whilst we know that we have not quite done with summer yet – there is a definite autumnal feeling about the evenings and early mornings now and, sadly, it is time to start thinking about the approach of colder weather and how this may affect your items in storage.

The drop in temperature over autumn and winter will make your stored items more prone to becoming damaged by dampness, mildew and mould. Taking practical steps to avoid this damage before it sets in is by far the best way to protect your belongings.

Pre-winter is the time to get into your storage and check over your belongings and prepare for colder weather to come.

External storage units in particular are prone to temperature fluctuations. Moisture present in the air inside the unit will react to changes in temperatures, creating condensation and this can give rise to problems with dampness, mould and mildew. Especially if you are storing items like soft furnishings and textiles.

  • A good first step is to make sure everything is a clean as possible and to get into your storage space to give it a good airing. Check for any signs of mould or mildew on surfaces and wipe away if present.
  • Give wooden furniture a clean and polish with wax to help to repel any moisture in the air and prevent condensation damaging wooden surfaces.
  • Don’t store items made of wood, fabric, leather or metal wrapped in plastic as this will not allow any trapped moisture in the air to escape. Using breathable, natural materials to cover and protect items is a much better idea. Cotton sheets, blankets, cardboard and paper will all be better choices than plastic.
  • Items like curtains, soft furnishings and textiles should not be stored in plastic bags. Again, allowing any moisture in the air to become trapped will exacerbate potential issues with mould and mildew forming.
  • Leather items – whether they are larger items like furniture of smaller things like bags, shoes and belts, should be treated with a leather protector which is moisture repellent to protect them.

If your storage is not climate controlled and you are storing fine or antique furniture, it may be worth considering a dehumidifier or changing to a climate-controlled unit for the winter. Have a look at our tips for storing antique furniture here.

Taking steps to mitigate damage to your stored belongings before winter is time well spent and will minimise the opportunity for damage to set in. A storage insurance policy from Store-Insure will protect your belongings in storage from risks like fire, flood and theft as well as covering your items whilst in transit to and from your storage location. Moth and vermin cover is also offered for certain types of storage location (internal only). However, damage which is caused by rot, fungus, woodworm or beetles and damage which caused gradually that you ought to have been aware (and that it was reasonable for you to have prevented) would be considered to be uninsurable risks and would not therefore be covered. It is likely that mildew, mould and condensation damage would fall under the uninsurable risks category. If you have any doubts about the cover provided, check with us. We recommend taking the time to visit your storage and check your belongings every couple of months to check everything is OK.

For a full policy breakdown visit the ‘cover’ section of our website to view the full policy document.

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Patrick Pellens

Author: Patrick Pellens

I started in the insurance industry in 2003 specialising in Personal Insurances such as Motor Bike, Car and Home Insurance.