What’s the best solution for your self-storage facility? Climate-controlled storage works best in higher-income areas; most people aren’t willing to pay high monthly premiums for what often only amounts to slightly more comfortable temperatures during move-in and move-out. For many facilities, the answer may be dry-air storage—a solution that lies between climate control and traditional storage.
The good news for those contemplating a new facility or an expansion is that dry-air storage, which only requires moderating high humidity, is easier and less expensive than controlling temperature in all respects: capital, operating and repair costs. No insulation is required.
Commercial dehumidifiers are less expensive, no outside units are required, and less ductwork is needed. Rubber draft stops and track brushes, which are less expensive than insulation, can be installed in exterior roll-up doors so even exterior units can also be built as dry-air storage.
Humidity is a well-known common problem in basements, so they’re perfect for dry-air storage. The temperature is already stabilized by all the soil surrounding the basement and the four inches of concrete overhead, so all that is needed is dehumidification.
The Customer’s Choice
Most people base their storage-rental decisions on the protection of their belongings, not their personal comfort in moving. But another plus for dry-air storage is tenants are comfortable in a broader range of temperatures when the humidity is low. Cold and clammy is worse than mere cold; hot and sweaty is worse than just hot.
If the dry-air concept is new to you, consider that Sovran Self Storage Inc., a real estate investment trust and a large self-storage operator, has been quietly designing and building dry-air storage into many of its new Uncle Bob's facilities since 2000. It has even retrofitted older, traditional buildings with this more economical technology.
As energy costs in America start to skyrocket, as they are sure to do, the self-storage industry will be driven toward dry-air storage and away from so-called climate-control storage. What are you doing to make sure your existing or planned facility is efficiently protecting your tenants’ belongings from high humidity levels?
David Montané is a sales consultant for BETCO Inc. He founded and owns Aragon Crown, a self-storage consulting and design firm in Decatur, Ga. Montané maintains a Georgia real estate sales license, and is an active member and frequent speaker for the Georgia Self Storage Association. For more information, visit www.betcoinc.com.