Safes and gun safes left in unheated garages or buildings are subject to problems with condensation when weather suddenly warms up. Pictured is a beautiful, but very massive, antique Diebold Safe. It demonstrates the problem perfectly.
We recently suffered through a cold snap during which night time temperatures went below zero every night for about a week. It took days for this 4000# antique safe to drop completely down to these temps. Likewise, when temps quickly warmed up to 55 degrees, it took time for it to warm up again. Our snow all melted in about two days, making the air very humid. Warm damp air created so much condensation on the cold safe that water was running down the safe’s surface. That water by itself will slightly damage the beautiful artwork. But when temps plummeted again the paint was further damaged. Just like freezing water trapped in tiny crevasses will crack the surfaces of rocks or concrete, it will crack old paint. This kind of moisture is also bad for safe locks.
Gun vaults left in unheated environments can be damaged the same way. Some kind of heart source inside the old Diebold would have minimized damage by keeping it from getting so cold. We recommend using a Dry Rod, Golden Rod or even a light bulb inside gun safes to moderate temperature swings. If you plan to keep your gun safe, or any kind of safe, in a garage, ask a safe expert for advice.