By Vince Mancuso, Storage.com
Climate-controlled storage units in Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto, Fresno, and other California cities located in the Central Valley area can be very useful in protecting sensitive items in storage, whether it’s a wine collection, antique furniture, or electronic equipment. And with the current above-average high temperatures throughout the state, climate control may be a necessary feature for anyone looking to use self storage in Central Valley.
Interestingly enough, Storage.com’s data shows that Sacramento storage facilities offering climate control in the Central Sacramento and Foothill Farms areas, as well as in West Sacramento, have seen significant growth in occupancy rates recently. Facilities in the 95816 zip code in particular have seen growth increases as high as 75 percent. So why is it that storage seekers are suddenly opting for climate-controlled storage?
“Of course, the most obvious benefit is the controlled atmosphere,” says John Gertenbach, owner of Graywolf Properties, the company that manages Tiger Self Storage. “In the summer months, the inside temperature of a storage unit is not 100+ degrees, and during the winter months, nothing is going to freeze inside.”
According to the National Weather Service, more than ten temperature-related records were broken from June 9-10, 2014, throughout Central Valley, including temperatures as high as 110°F in Bakersfield and Fresno.
“We saw a lot of temperatures hit the century mark,” says Michelle Mead, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Sacramento. She adds that the record-breaking temperatures were caused by a ridge of high pressure in the area, which forced air down and warmed it along the way, causing temperatures to reach triple digits. “Basically, it’s a dome of air that is over the West Coast.”
While California may not see these record-breaking temperatures again this summer, Mead believes the unusually hot weather could continue based on what she’s seen so far and because of the potential for El Niño this year. Also, the NWS works closely with the Climate Prediction Center, which Mead says “[predicts] we’re going to continue to see above average temperatures.”
With the possibility for a continued heat wave, it only makes sense that storage seekers in Central Valley are interested in climate-controlled storage to protect their belongings, and the local storage industry is aware of that. In fact, Gertenbach says many storage facilities in the area are looking to expand climate-controlled options.
“I think the industry is trying to look that direction, but cost prohibition is a real concern,” Gertenbach says. “Twenty or 30 years from now, my guess would be that at least 75 to 90 percent of new storage construction will include at least 50 percent climate-controlled space.”
For now, however, Gertenbach feels the majority of self storage users—as well as the population in general—are unaware of the reality of climate-controlled storage units. “Thirty years ago, we were educating the public as to what ‘self storage’ was. [It’s] the same now with climate control.”
Specifically, Gertenbach worries that storage renters don’t understand that temperature control levels can vary by unit and facility, which can make a big difference in finding the right climate-controlled unit for particular storage needs. Another important issue to consider, too, is what happens to the unit’s climate control during a power outage? “Is there a backup system?” Gertenbach asks, adding that most people don’t consider that situation.
Climate-controlled storage can be helpful when it comes to maintaining the temperature and humidity levels within a unit, but there is a disadvantage that storage seekers should be aware of—lack of drive-up access. Because most climate-controlled units are on the inside of a storage building, there’s no way to a back a car or truck up to a unit and unload items. For storage renters with heavier items, like a wine collection—which, according to Gertenbach, is one of the more popular requests for climate-controlled storage—this can be inconvenient.
Nevertheless, with California’s current heat wave, the demand for climate-controlled storage keeps growing. Although current occupancy rates are still within moderate levels, those looking for climate-controlled units to protect their storage items should reserve their space as soon as possible, especially if the heat wave continues.
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