A backyard shed is a great place to store your tools, pool supplies, lawn equipment, and more. However, if you don’t take some simple precautions, temperatures inside your shed can reach extremes and cause damage to your items.
Many people think that items made for outdoor use don’t require any special accommodations. However, extreme heat and cold can have negative effects and shorten their lifespan. Here’s a closer look at some of the issues you may face and the best cold and hot storage tips to help you prevent them.
Lawn Equipment & Machinery
Since extreme temperatures can wreak havoc on moving parts inside engines, proper hot and cold storage is critical for lawn equipment and machinery. Even if you use low viscosity oil, it will get thicker in the extreme cold. This creates more resistance, putting excess strain on the internal parts.
In freezing temperatures, batteries also have less pulling voltage, making it harder to start your equipment. Extreme cold can also lead to condensation in your fuel system and can cause your hydraulic hoses and wiring to crack or break. With every 10-degree drop in temperature, the air pressure in your tires will also drop by approximately one pound per inch. This can cause flat spots and other damage. In addition, temperature extremes can cause your equipment’s paint to chip and crack.
It’s clear that proper cold storage is important, but high heat can also cause some issues. Your tires don’t like extreme heat any more than they like extreme cold. High temperatures will cause tire pressure to increase and can dry the rubber out. The combination of these two issues is why so many people deal with tire blowouts in the summer months.
Gas also evaporates in high temperatures. Proper heat storage will help improve your fuel efficiency. Finally, remember that electronics and heat don’t mix, so you’ll want to take extra care with high-tech equipment that contains computer chips.
When it comes to storing tools, extreme cold is the biggest concern. Hand tools are typically fine in the cold, but freezing temperatures can cause plastic or metal parts to become brittle. If you’re storing your tools in an unprotected shed and start using them without bringing up the temperature, they’re susceptible to breaking.
You can prevent this by taking them out of cold storage for an hour or more before using them. However, this isn't always a practical solution. Instead, you'll want to take some of the steps below to help ensure they’re not exposed to freezing temperatures in the first place.
Large swings in temperature and humidity can also accelerate rusting in metal tools. If you live in an area where the winter air is damp and cold, this is even more likely.
Power tools are also easily stressed if they’re used in very cold conditions. As the motor heats up, the metal parts going from extremely cold to hot temperatures can cause excess stress and may shorten the lifespan of your tools. In addition, the oils and grease used to lubricate your tools' moving parts work best when they’re at moderate temperatures.
Pool Supplies and Furniture
A high-quality steel storage shed is an excellent option for storing pool chemicals and supplies. However, pool chemicals are sensitive to extreme temperatures. If they freeze, they may separate, which would make them unusable. Extreme heat can also cause the liquids to expand and may result in pool chemicals releasing gases. This can cause spills or leaks and could even lead to an explosion or a fire.
Pool toys and floats should always be stored in a cool, dry place. Drastic temperature changes can cause damage and shorten their lifespan. Cold weather can also cause rust and decay in steel and wicker outdoor furniture. This makes it important to practice proper cold storage techniques when putting your pool supplies away at the end of summer.
Hot and Cold Storage Tips
After reading about all the problems extreme temperatures can cause, you might start wondering if you need to bring everything indoors. The good news is, you don’t have to make space in your closet for your power tools and pool floats. It’s perfectly fine to store these types of items outdoors, as long as you take some of the following simple precautions.
Protect Your Items from Sun Damage
One of the most important hot storage tips is to protect your items from sun damage. If they’re sitting out in the open, they’ll deteriorate far more quickly than if they’re covered. Heat and UV rays can warp even the strongest materials, like metal and wood, and can cause leather components to crack, warp, or fade. Extreme sun exposure can even cause some items to melt.
If you don’t already have an outdoor storage shed, consider investing in one. This will protect against the sun’s harmful rays and keep your items safe from rain, snow, hail, and wind.
Outdoor storage sheds typically don’t come standard with insulation. Combine this with thin metal walls, and it’s easy to see how this can cause hot and cold storage issues. Luckily, installing insulation along the walls and ceiling of your shed is an easy DIY project. It’s inexpensive, and you’ll see a significant difference right away.
Insulated storage sheds are less prone to extreme swings in temperature. Even better, if you add heating or cooling systems to your shed, the insulation will keep the warmed or cooled air inside, so your system doesn’t have to work as hard. This will make your shed more comfortable and increase your energy efficiency. Before you implement any other tips on this list, make sure your shed is well insulated first.
Adding some ventilation to your shed is another important cool storage tip. During the hot summer months, the increased airflow can help you maintain a more comfortable temperature. Installing vents on your shed’s gable wall or roof will allow the hot air to escape. Consider adding a ceiling fan and/or a powered exhaust fan inside your shed to accelerate the cooling process.
Adding a window is another easy way to increase ventilation in your shed. In colder weather, letting the sun in will also help naturally warm up the space. A well-placed window is an easy way for you to harness the sun's heat without having to use any electricity. Even better, it will also allow some natural light into your shed. Just make sure to keep sensitive items away from the window, so you don't have to worry about them suffering from sun damage.
Install Heating/Cooling Systems
If you really want to make sure the temperatures stay comfortable in your shed, you might want to consider adding a cooling and/or heating system. There are many options, including a freestanding heater or AC unit, a window air conditioner, a solar window heater, a portable propane unit, or even a wood-burning stove.
Depending on where your shed is located, you may also be able to consider connecting your shed to your home’s central heating and cooling system.
Seal Gaps with Weatherstripping
Adding a heating or cooling system is a great idea, but if you do, you’ll need to make sure your shed is well-sealed. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to close up any gaps around your shed’s windows, doors, and other openings is to use caulk and weather stripping. This will help regulate the temperatures inside and lower your energy bills.
Install an Awning
Not only will adding awnings over your shed’s door and windows make it look more attractive, but it can also help keep your shed cool in the summer by blocking out the sun’s UV rays. In the winter, you’ll want to retract your awnings. This will protect them from damage and also provide passive heat by letting the warm sunlight through.
Protect Your Items from Extreme Heat and Cold
If you don’t already have a high-quality shed, now is the perfect time to get one. Our Arrow Steel Storage Sheds are designed to withstand the elements, making them perfect for hot and cold storage needs. They also come pre-equipped with vents which will increase air circulation and help regulate the temperature inside during the summer months.
If you’re ready to tackle your outdoor storage needs like a pro, we can help. Take a look through our inventory of high-quality sheds and outdoor storage solutions. You’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for.