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Control Climate is the Key to a Successful Self-Storage Business

Learn More and Download our Maintenance Checklist

If you plan to build or renovate your self-storage facility, you probably have a running list of what you need to do to protect your clients’ assets. At first glance, your checklist probably includes security, cameras, and locks to safeguard your tenants’ belongings. But there’s a threat that can’t be caught on camera and is not hindered by locks—moisture. 

Controlling humidity at your self-storage facility is not just a good practice, it’s a necessity. If the relative humidity (RH) exceeds 60 percent, you are at risk for mold, mildew, and pest infestations, which can lead to significant damage and loss of your clients’ belongings.

That’s why you can’t rely on heating and air conditioning alone to solve problems caused by moisture and high temperatures. A proper HVAC system is critical for guarding against extreme temperature fluctuations with the changing seasons. However, relying on heating and air conditioning systems does not effectively nor efficiently manage moisture levels.  You need commercial-sized dehumidifiers and a moisture management game plan for that. Luckily, Quest has created a checklist with everything you need to know about moisture management for your self-storage unit business.

Equipment Needed for managing temperature and moisture:

  • Dehumidifier(s): The right dehumidifier helps control the humidity in your buildings without air conditioning. Learn what size you need for your facility.
  • Hygrometers: We recommend individual humidity sensors and humidistats in each unit/building to ensure proper humidity throughout your facility.
  • HVAC: Heating and cooling units use dehumidifiers to control your facility’s relative humidity and temperature. 
  • Air Movers:  air movers are helpful for acute moisture issues caused by clients, cleaning, flooding, or other unexpected water damage events.

Self-Storage Facility Monthly Maintenance Checklist

General Maintenance
  • Inspect and Clean the Property: Walk the property to check for any trash, debris, or hazards—clean common areas, including the office, restrooms, and hallways.
  • Inspect for signs of moisture: Look for indications of roof leaks, moisture migration through walls, mold/mildew growth, or other signs that water may be entering your building. Check for problem areas where the relative humidity is too high, which could lead to mold.
  • Landscaping and Exterior Maintenance: Mow lawns, trim bushes, and remove weeds. Inspect the exterior for any damage or vandalism.
  • Pest Control Inspection: Conduct or schedule a professional pest control inspection to prevent infestations.
  • Lighting Check: Ensure all exterior and interior lights are functioning properly. Replace any burnt-out bulbs. Pro tip: make the switch to LED lighting for even more energy savings. 
  • Signage and Visibility: Check all signage for visibility and wear. Clean or replace as necessary.
Security Systems
  • Test Security Cameras: Verify that all cameras are operational and provide clear images. Check for any blind spots that may need coverage.
  • Alarm Systems Check: Test alarm systems and door alarms to ensure they function correctly.
  • Gate and Access Control: Test electronic gates and access control systems for proper operation. Ensure that entry and exit codes are functioning as expected.
Climate Control and Environmental Systems
  • HVAC Inspection: Perform a basic inspection of HVAC systems for signs of wear or inefficiency. Schedule professional maintenance if required.
  • Check Dehumidifiers: Inspect dehumidifiers to ensure they are working correctly and efficiently. Empty water containers if needed. 
  • Replace filters: Regularly change the air filter in the dehumidifiers and HVAC systems (every 3-6 months is recommended) to protect equipment and your facility from dust, mold spores, and other airborne particulates.
  • Monitor Temperature and Humidity: Check temperature and humidity levels in climate-controlled units to ensure they are within the desired range.
Structural and Unit Maintenance
  • Unit Inspections: Inspect a selection of storage units for leaks, damage, or signs of unauthorized use.
  • Roof and Gutter Check: Inspect roofs and gutters for damage or blockages. Clean gutters to prevent water damage.
  • Door and Lock Functionality: Test unit doors and locks to ensure they open, close, and lock securely.
  • Plumbing and Electrical Systems: Check plumbing fixtures for leaks and test electrical outlets and switches for proper operation.
Safety Equipment
  • Fire Safety Equipment: Inspect fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, and smoke detectors to ensure they are in working order and have not expired.
  • First Aid Kits: Check first aid kits for expired or used items and replenish them as necessary.
  • Emergency Exit Signs: Ensure all emergency exit signs are visible and illuminated.
Customer Service and Administration
  • Review Feedback: Go through customer feedback for any maintenance-related complaints or suggestions.
  • Update Maintenance Records: Document all inspections, repairs, and maintenance activities for future reference.
  • Staff Training: Conduct regular training sessions with staff on emergency procedures and daily maintenance tasks.
Structural Integrity and Major Systems
  • Comprehensive Building Inspection: Conduct a thorough inspection of the building’s structure, looking for signs of wear and tear, structural damage, or potential issues that need repair.
  • Roof Inspection and Maintenance: Have a professional inspect the roof for leaks, damage, or weak spots and perform necessary repairs or replacements.
  • HVAC System Servicing: Schedule professional servicing of the HVAC systems to ensure they run efficiently and prevent future breakdowns.
  • Update or Upgrade Security Systems: Evaluate the effectiveness of the current security systems, including cameras, alarms, and access control systems, and upgrade as necessary.
Safety and Compliance
  • Fire Safety System Inspection: Ensure all fire safety equipment, including extinguishers, sprinklers, and alarms, are inspected and serviced by professionals to meet local regulations.
  • Electrical System Inspection: Have a certified electrician inspect the electrical system to ensure it is up to code and operating safely.
  • Plumbing System Inspection: Inspect plumbing for leaks, clogs, or wear and schedule repairs or upgrades as needed.
  • Compliance Check: Review and ensure compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations affecting self-storage facilities, including environmental regulations.
Environmental Control
  • Climate-Control System Review: Perform a detailed review of climate-control systems, including dehumidifiers, and consider upgrades to more efficient models if necessary.
  • Pest Control Audit: Conduct an annual audit of pest control measures and effectiveness, adjusting strategies as needed.
Aesthetics and Customer Experience
  • Exterior Painting and Repairs: Assess and address any needs for exterior painting, siding repair, or other cosmetic updates to maintain the facility’s appeal.
  • Landscaping Upgrade: Review and upgrade landscaping to improve curb appeal and ensure proper drainage and erosion control.
  • Signage Update: Evaluate the condition and visibility of signage and make replacements or enhancements as needed.
Operational Efficiency and Sustainability
  • Energy Efficiency Audit: Conduct or hire an energy efficiency audit service and implement recommended changes to reduce energy consumption.
  • Sustainability Initiatives: Evaluate opportunities for implementing sustainability initiatives, such as solar panels, LED lighting upgrades, or recycling programs.
Documentation and Planning
  • Maintenance Record Review: Review all maintenance records from the past year to identify recurring issues or areas needing attention.
  • Budget Planning for Repairs and Upgrades: Based on the maintenance review and inspections, plan and budget for necessary repairs, replacements, and upgrades.
  • Disaster Preparedness Review: Update your disaster preparedness and emergency response plans based on the latest risk assessments and best practices.
Staff Training and Development
  • Annual Training Sessions: Conduct annual training sessions for staff on operational procedures, emergency response, customer service, and security protocols.
  • Feedback and Performance Review: Gather feedback from staff on operational challenges and areas for improvement and conduct performance reviews.

Read about how we helped a Louisiana Self Storage Facility owner handle humidity and manage moisture.

Recommended Quest Climate Dehumidifiers

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Set yourself apart from the competition with a climate-controlled environment. Contact Quest Climate’s experts for help updating or adding dehumidifiers to your HVAC system.

What is the total square footage of the storage facility?
What is the ceiling height of the storage facility?
Is the facility air conditioned?
Is the facility insulated?
Is there any fresh air or exhaust ventilation?
Do the storage units share the same air?
Are they opened at the top or are they individual units that are closed off from one another?
Is it built with opening at top so air can circulate amongst the units or are the separate individual unit that are closed off from one another?
Location of Storage Facility