Recommended Humidity Level for Storage?

Recommended Humidity Level for Storage?

This is a discussion on Recommended Humidity Level for Storage? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I will be storing guns and ammo in my basement. It is a dry basement but the humidity levels can still get high. I bought ...

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Thread: Recommended Humidity Level for Storage?

  1. #1
    Member Array John Wesley's Avatar
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    Recommended Humidity Level for Storage?

    I will be storing guns and ammo in my basement. It is a dry basement but the humidity levels can still get high.

    I bought a de-humidifier for the basement. I set it for continuous operation and the humidity level is at 35% currently. (As measured by two gauges in different parts of the basement.)

    My question is:

    Should I run the de-humidifier at maximum all the time or should I set it to say... 40% or 45% or even 50% humidity?

    I don't want to waste energy but I don't want to ruin my guns or ammo either.

    Suggestions?


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    Less is better, but I say 50% is fine. Just be sure to wipe off fingerprints and keep things properly oiled. CLP does amazing things to prevent rust.

    Put the dehumidifier near the firearms.
    "a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility" - Bill Clinton 2010.

  3. #3
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    In what are your guns stored - a safe, an old refrigerator, a metal locker?

    Up to a point, drier is almost always better. And as a career aerospace test guy, if you spent less than $150 on your humidity gauges, their readings are probably not reliable, and practically worthless if the gauge says "hygrometer."

    I probably take too technical an approach, but basements are generally humid places and it wouldn't be my first choice of a room in which to store my guns, but you may not have a better choice.

    Since you're smart enough to try to monitor the humidity, let me suggest a better measurement. Simple is usually best, so my suggestion is to buy two identical thermometers. Cut a several-inch-long piece of plain cotton sneaker lace (dress shoe laces are usually not cotton) and slip about an inch or so over the bottom bulb of one thermometer. Saturate the lace with bottled water - drizzle it on or spray it. Hang the two thermometers next to each other at the place where your guns will be stored (not across the room!) and aim a small fan at them. In 10 minutes, read and record the dry bulb and the wet bulb temperatures. Then look at a psychometic chart, or more simply, a DB/WB/dew point chart (here: http://docs.engineeringtoolbox.com/d...oint_deg_F.pdf)

    Re-measure during really humid weather and during the heat of summer when the humidity is likely to be at its highest in your basement.

    That will tell you what the dew point is where you're storing your guns. If you keep the dry bulb temp at least 10-15 degrees above the dew point, you'll be assured that the humidity will be low enough to prevent any condensation. But by all means, still wipe the metal parts down periodically with CLP or a similar product.

    For your dehumidifier, I would set it at about 50% to start. It's hard to say what's right without knowing how big your basement is, how bad the humidity is, and the BTU capacity of your dehumidifier. You sure don't want that guy running 100% of the time; in humid periods, your coils may ice up, and in dry times you won't pull much water out of the air. I would locate it generally near your guns, such that the warm, dry air blows in their direction.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Array boscobeans's Avatar
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    The Sahara has an average humidity of 25%.
    Most people are in their comfort range with humidity around 40-50%.

    When you get too low static becomes a problem. Too high and you get condensation.

    My house stays at around 50% (A/C in summer and humidifier in winter) and it seems to work for me.

    bosco

  5. #5
    Member Array Phantoms's Avatar
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    What kind of storage? Long Term? Perhaps you could get some of those vacuum bags and vacuum and seal your guns in them after oiling them down. I've done this for a couple handguns I rarely ever use, using a seal-a-meal bag and vacuum sealer. Long guns you'd probably be better off with the big vacuum cleaner storage type bags.
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    Member Array John Wesley's Avatar
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    WOW! Great Responses! Thanks guys!

    Let's see. Basement is approximately 1800 square feet.

    Guns are stored in a metal cabinet high off the floor (near the ceiling).

    Ammo is stored in ammo cans off (but near) the floor on shelves.

    They aren't in long term storage exactly. I do keep plenty of oil on them but the excess (particularly the inside of the barrel) is removed so they can be ready with a moment's notice.

    The wife complained today that the basement was too dry.

    The "exhaust" from the de-humidifier is blowing directly undernear the guns. That wasn't on purpose but I will sure keep it that way since that does make sense. I'll get the two thermometers too - GREAT IDEA!

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    Very low humidity is not good for wood (grips, stocks, etc.). When I lived in Alaska, in the winter the humidity would get so low that wood furniture would dry out and split unless I ran a humidifier. If moisture doesn't readily form on a cold glass of water, the humidity is probably low enough. Too low and you start getting zapped!
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    Member Array TomD's Avatar
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    I work at a military museum. In our arms vault as well as the rest of our storage, we keep the humidity level at app. 55%. What is detructive to artifacts is the swing in temperature and humidity. As they both rise and fall they cause expansion and contraction, which is movement. You can't see it but it is there. Kind of like folding an old credit card in half , over and over again.

    For firearms in storage for long periods of time, we do not oil them, we wax them. Wax does not attract and hold dust or dirt as does oil. But if you are using them regularly, a little oil is fine.

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    Distinguished Member Array razor02097's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Up to a point, drier is almost always better. And as a career aerospace test guy, if you spent less than $150 on your humidity gauges, their readings are probably not reliable, and practically worthless if the gauge says "hygrometer."
    In the medical field they are still called hygrometers... but the sensors for the micro controller cost well over $200 to replace and just like oxygen sensors they have a shelf life and expiration date after installation. It is most likely due to the sensor being used with a medical device but still...
    There is something about firing 4,200 thirty millimeter rounds/min that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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    Member Array Bkrazy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomD View Post
    For firearms in storage for long periods of time, we do not oil them, we wax them. Wax does not attract and hold dust or dirt as does oil. But if you are using them regularly, a little oil is fine.
    What kind of way do you use and where would you apply it? I will soon be storing my firearms for a loooong time and was wondering about this. I had thought about the ziplock type bags, but the more info the better. I do not know exactly where or the conditions they will be stored in yet.

  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array razor02097's Avatar
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    If you want to store a gun for a long long time you could use a neutral type preservative oil then use a heavy bag filled with argon and carbon dioxide then vacuum sealed for gun freshness. It should last for a while.
    There is something about firing 4,200 thirty millimeter rounds/min that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  12. #12
    Member Array MSteve's Avatar
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    I'm from Alabama where it is extremely humid most of the year. I lift my pistol in a regular safe for about 2.5-3 years with my parents when I first entered the Army. I left it with nothing but a light coat of oil wrapped in a old t-shirt. No rust or any other issues. I think as long as you lightly oil before you store, and check on them now and then, you should be fine.
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