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Classic car storage: The many cost-saving benefits of dehumidification

6 min read
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Classic cars are fragile, valuable investments for many collectors. To keep these machines in pristine condition, we discuss how dehumidifiers create ideal storage environments efficiently and cost-effectively.

Excessive moisture can cause significant cosmetic and structural damage to classic cars of all types and sizes very quickly.

Here, we explore how the right dehumidifier can protect these prestige machines and generate exceptional savings for owners and enthusiasts.

How does moisture become a problem for classic car storage facilities?

Storage spaces for vehicles are an excellent way to shield sought-after automobiles from wind, rain and other inclement weather. However, these settings are still susceptible to notable changes in moisture levels.

Poorly insulated garages are often cooler environments. And, as the weather outside fluctuates, the temperature and humidity inside varies too. Over time, this allows condensation to form, putting automobiles at risk of gradual water damage.

A lack of insulation is not the only way the amount of moisture can rise. As cars enter and exit the garage, rain and snow are brought in, causing relative humidity to increase and preservation conditions to worsen.

In addition, as guests, mechanics and other members of staff roam around cars, moisture they emit through breathing, working and talking increases the amount of water vapour cars must withstand.

What impact can moisture have on classic cars?

When the air contains a certain amount of moisture, typically above 60% relative humidity (RH), classic cars begin to deteriorate. The higher the humidity levels beyond this threshold, the faster they will degrade.

How high humidity impacts classic cars in storage

While high relative humidities are the most common source of depreciation during preservation, overly dry air can also be problematic when storing classic cars:

  • Leather seats and fixtures can crack

  • Wood can warp and bend, damaging vehicle trim

  • Rubber or cork seals around key components can deteriorate

Classic vehicles are complex machines, consisting of hundreds if not thousands of components. This makes repairing them a highly specialised skill, requiring a lot of time and the expertise of costly, specialist mechanics.

Plus, as classic cars are no longer manufactured, replacement parts can be exceedingly rare and expensive. This adds to the already considerable repair costs associated with restoring vintage automobiles.

Finally, long-term damage caused by unregulated humidity levels can severely hurt the resale value of these cars for owners and vendors.

How else can humidity affect classic car storage?

Poor climate control in classic car garages or storage facilities affects more than just the vehicles within. Excessively moist or dry air can also compromise the integrity of the facilities themselves:

  • Water seeps into interstitial spaces

  • Mould and mildew take hold inside

  • Wood rots and metal rusts

  • Electronic wiring is damaged or destroyed

Addressing water damage can be another costly expense for collectors to consider. Restoration work on garages can take weeks, months or years to complete. All the while, collections must be relocated and stored elsewhere.

Creating the ideal classic car storage climate with dehumidifiers

To create an environment that protects classic car garages and minimises the resources required to keep these priceless assets on the road, owners should aim to maintain an indoor humidity between 55% and 60% RH and temperatures between 18°C and 20°C.

Graph showing relationship between relative humidity and rust growth

Traditionally, garages relied on heaters to control indoor conditions. However, with the rising cost of energy, this method now represents an expensive and unsustainable way to control the indoor climate.

Dehumidifiers offer an efficient and effective classic car storage solution for removing the moisture from the air. Using a fraction of the energy of a comparative heater, this technology captures and removes unwanted moisture from the atmosphere directly.

This offers owners and collectors several key advantages:

The importance and benefits of dehumidifiers for classic car storage

Protecting classic cars efficiently and cost-effectively

Dehumidification technology offers great potential for classic car enthusiasts. However, to generate the greatest cost savings, it is also important to:

Carefully position dehumidifiers

Set up dehumidifiers near doors and windows to mitigate fluctuations in relative humidity, so devices work as efficiently as possible throughout the day.

Simultaneously, prevent incoming or outgoing air from dehumidifiers contacting vehicles, as this can cause avoidable damage.

Use a humidistat alongside drying technology

Humidistats should be used alongside drying systems. They monitor humidity levels, ensuring dehumidifiers only operate when needed, limiting electricity waste.

These units also prevent spaces from becoming excessively dry and compromising the condition of automobiles.

Maintain and service dehumidifiers regularly

Properly maintaining dehumidifiers is also crucial for efficient classic car preservation. Poorly serviced units are less energy efficient than well-kept technology.

The quality and cadence of unit maintenance both impacts the power of a system and the effectiveness of drying, and plays a key role in protecting a garage along with its contents.

3 tips for effective classic car storage - infographic

Selecting the ideal dehumidifier for classic car storage

As important as it is to have a robust and effective drying strategy, there are further considerations an enthusiast should bear in mind to preserve their collection of automotive history.

From the size of a garage and the age of the stored vehicles, to the appropriate type of dehumidifier – producing the greatest savings in classic car storage facilities depends on selecting the ideal dehumidifier.

Why collectors rely on Dantherm Group to protect their priceless vehicles

Classic cars are precious, fragile machines. To keep them safe from the prevailing threat of rust, corrosion and water damage as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, garages need powerful, professional dehumidification equipment they can rely on.

With more than 60 years of climate control expertise to draw from, and a vast range of reliable dehumidifiers available to suit practically any setting, Dantherm Group are the go-to manufacturer for even the most challenging classic car storage scenarios.

Product showcase comparing condensation dehumidifiers for classic car storage

Engineered with sustainability, reliability, ease of use and durability at their core, our versatile range of control options and dehumidifiers represent some of the most robust and flexible drying solutions on the market.

Backed by an exceptional after-sales support network of expertise, spares and technicians, it’s clear to see why classic car owners and auto-museums place their trust in us.

To learn more about our range of dehumidifiers, and how they can help you preserve the condition of your collection efficiently, get in touch with our team today.

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