This post was originally published on November 14, 2013.
Electronics are sensitive items. With many individual parts and pieces, these dynamic devices require special care when it comes to storage. Temperature and humidity, in particular, can impact the future health and functionality of these items.
Below, we provide five steps to get your electronic items prepped, ready for long-term storage and into the right conditions.
1. Back Up Electronic Data
Prior to storage, back up all electronic devices to a server or external hard-drive to save data. You’ll want to have this data readily available should you need to quickly reference it or should an unfortunate occurrence happen to your item in storage.
A minor misstep could leave you without a device and without all of the information that device contains. In the case of computers, this could mean treasured family photos, videos or music. Take the extra time now to avoid regret later.
2. Separate Parts and Pieces
Many electronics contain a variety of pieces, both as part of the main device as well as complimentary components. Before storing, pull pieces apart and store individually. Keep plugs separate—you won’t be storing items plugged in.
Remove any DVDs, CDs, game cartridges or tapes, and keep them apart to avoid items getting stuck in drives or damaged over time. Consider labeling individual parts in storage bins or boxes for easy access for when you need them again.
3. Give Pieces a Thorough Clean (Including an Air Bath)
As with any item you’re preparing for storage, give the item a thorough clean before you store away. In the case of electronics, consider airing out your items with a compressed air duster, which can be found at any office store.
These dusters blow a thin stream of air into hard-to-clean places to clear out dust and debris that can accumulate in electronic ports and fans.
4. Cover Monitors, Screens and More
Cover devices in cotton, canvas, cardboard or other materials that store well and can collect dust accumulation instead of your item. If you have original packing materials, consider placing your devices in those.
Avoid wrapping items in plastic, as this material can actually make your items susceptible to moisture build-up over time. Moisture build-up and condensation will impact overall device functionality.
5. Store in the Right Environment
Almost any element and condition can lead to extreme consequences for electronics kept in storage for a while. Avoid storing items in conditions that are too:
- Windy: Dust and other particles travel through the air and can easily find their way into small electronic openings or air vents, clogging systems.
- Hot: Too warm of an environment can warp plastic, damage parts and shorten device battery life.
- Humid: Too little humidity will put your electronics at risk for static discharge, while too much can lead to the development of condensation.
- Cold: Devices will go into automatic shutdown mode if placed in environments that are too cold to support functionality.
Climate-controlled storage units help here, putting you in the position to control the particular temperature and humidity levels needed for your electronics. Consider keeping these items at room temperature, with neither low nor high levels of humidity present.
How do you handle storage for sensitive items like electronics? Let us know in the comment section below, as well as any additional tips you’d add to our list.
Image Source: Aaron Burden via Unsplash