What Type of Self Storage Unit is Best for Me?

What Type of Self Storage Unit is Best for Me?

Although most self storage facilities typically offer a wide range of storage units sizes from which to choose, many also offer different types of storage units from which to choose.

In follow up to our blog entry discussing different storage unit sizes and which one might work best for you, we thought it would be nice to follow that up with an entry discussing different types of storage units and which might work best for you. You may be unaware, for example, that there are actually different types of storage units, and that the best choice for you will depend on what is being stored and on how the storage will be utilized.

Self-storage units are typically classified by access type and by whether or not they are heated, both important considerations in our sometimes-wintry climate! As far as access type, units will typically be referred to as “drive up” or “indoor”.

“Drive up” units have a unit door located on the outside of a building that a vehicle can access directly, allowing you, the customer, to transfer contents directly between your vehicle or trailer and the unit itself. These units are usually made of sheet metal and are in long buildings with units facing in both directions. Drive up units can, however, also be located on the ground floor of a multi-storey storage building with doors on the outside of the building.

“Indoor” units, by comparison, have a unit door located on the inside of the storage building, which is accessed via corridor. Although indoor units are not as convenient to access as drive up units, many self storage facilities, like StoreSmart Self-Storage, have carts and dollies in their buildings that you may use for your convenience.

Now that we understand the difference between “drive up” and “indoor” units, let’s talk about heated versus unheated units. For clarity, access type does not necessarily correspond to whether a unit is heated or unheated. Although drive up units are typically unheated, many self storage facilities also offer heated drive up units. Similarly, although indoor units are typically heated, unheated indoor units are not entirely uncommon. When searching out a self storage unit, it is therefore important to ask your facility about how the unit is accessed and whether or not the unit is heated.

In an unheated storage unit, the temperature inside the unit is not significantly different from the outside temperature. You should therefore avoid storing anything in an unheated unit that may be damaged by freezing, or that can cold-crack, or that can be damaged by temperature swings. Even when daytime temperatures are well above freezing, nighttime temperatures can drop far below freezing, especially on clear nights and at higher altitudes. Residents of southern-Alberta in particular, familiar with Chinooks, will know that temperature swings can be quick, frequent, and dramatic! Furthermore, since water expands when it freezes, there is a good chance that any liquid solution containing water will burst its container during the cold winter months and leave an unpleasant mess when it melts. For this reason, it is not a good idea to store liquids in unheated storage units, perhaps apart from antifreeze that is!

Heated units, by comparison, are just that – heated to maintain a minimum temperature throughout the winter months. Heated units are, for this reason, strongly recommended for storing musical instruments, artwork, antique furniture, electronics, water-based liquids, etc. If you (or your employees, if this is a business rental) will be accessing and spending time at the unit frequently, heated storage may also be a nicer option for you and your fingers and toes throughout the cold months! Do not be surprised, however, if you are still on the cooler side while accessing your storage unit. Most facilities will not heat to what is typically considered “room temperature” by North American standards (ie. 20 degrees Centigrade), and will instead heat to between 5 and 10 degrees Centigrade. As this is enough to mitigate freezing and typical temperature swings in the winter months, this is not uncommon. In the end, if there is any doubt about whether to choose a heated or unheated storage unit, your self-storage facility will be happy to answer any questions that you have.

This blog was written by one of StoreSmart Self-Storage's resident bloggers. StoreSmart offers storage solutions for individuals and businesses in Edmonton, Red Deer, Cochrane, Sherwood Park and Canmore. All locations offer a wide range of unit sizes. StoreSmart Self-Storage is also pleased to offer an online sizing tool or guide to help its customers choose the correct size of unit. A variety of payment options are available to meet the needs of businesses and individuals, including people working in remote locations and overseas. Payment can be made in-store using cash, debit, cheque or credit card. Payments can also be made online at www.StoreSmart.ca using interact online or credit card. Post-dated cheques or automated credit card payments are also a great option for people on the go! StoreSmart Self Storage is also pleased to invoice its business customers. Except for some statutory holidays, all StoreSmart Self Storage locations are open 7 days a week. Customers may, however, access their storage units 365 days a year from 5am to midnight (24-hour access considered upon special request for service companies like emergency plumbers, or other trades that work long hours). For the added convenience of its customers, StoreSmart Self-Storage in Red Deer, Sherwood Park, Edmonton, Cochrane and Canmore offers U-Haul truck rentals. Its self-storage locations in Red Deer and Cochrane additionally offer U-Haul trailer rentals. And yes, StoreSmart Self-Storage also carries a wide variety of moving boxes and moving supplies (bundle discounts available). StoreSmart Self-Storage is also pleased to refund any unused boxes per its Buy-Back Guarantee!