If you're running out of room in your home or office and need somewhere to put your rarely used, but still relevant electronics, you'll need to be prepare your belongings against long-term wear and tear. Dust, humidity and pests can wreak havoc on computers, printers and other electronics, but with a few inspection and protection plans you can keep everything in good order until you need them.
Selecting A Safe And Clean Storage Facility
A thorough walkthrough of any storage facility is necessary, but you'll need to do more than look for obvious cracks and infestations. Some problems are so small or even hidden to the point that you won't see the issue with just a cursory glance.
For electronics, air quality and humidity control is vital. Although not all storage users live in areas with persistent humidity during the hotter months, linger water after rain storms or long, rainy seasons can still introduce moisture to your electronics. The issue isn't just exposure to the rain or a bit of humid air passing by, but condensation inside computers and other electronics.
Not all electronics have completely sealed containers. In fact, many electronics include exhaust vents that can work against you by allowing dust, debris and humidity in. To combat the problem at the facility level, make sure that the storage unit has a door with at least a weather strip. Pull-down storage units can be used, but for the most humid parts of the country, just know that humidity can enter through the gap between the door and the floor.
Air conditioning and humidity control are two other options. Not all self storage facilities have air conditioning, even if they're indoor storage facilities for security purposes. Be sure to ask for a demonstration if you can't tell if the air conditioning is working, and find out if electrical outlets are available for you to bring your own dehumidifier.
Sealing Electronics For Self-Managed Protection
If there aren't any sophisticated storage facilities, or if the services are a bit out of your price range, you can still add extra protection by sealing your electronics in boxes. The right kind of box is necessary, as cardboard boxes can simply become damp, wear away and allow some moisture to permeate through the cardboard.
Durable plastic or metal containers are the best, but you'll need to know how well the products can seal your electronics away. An airtight seal is a great choice, but not necessary, and you'll need to verify the manufacturer's claims by submerging the container in water--something harder to do with larger containers. Peer review of products are often good enough to verify claims.
If you're not going with an airtight option, at least make sure that the cover closes completely over the box with either a rubber seal (often mistaken for airtight, but not guaranteed) or with a set of clasps.
Contact a self storage professional to discuss other protection options for your electronics.