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.
I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions. One reason is that if I had any flaws I would have fixed them already. The other reason is that most resolutions are never fully met. If you resolve to lose 20 pounds and keep it off, you never really finish. If you resolve to “be a better person”, you never get to quit being good, or you blow your resolution commitment.
If, however, you want to do something meaningful and have an end point at which time you can say “I achieved my resolution” — then I have an idea. Do that home security upgrade that you have been thinking about. It could be installing security cameras, installing deadbolts on your doors, putting motion activated lights outside your house, locking up papers and jewelry in a fire/burglary safe, securing your guns in a gun safe, properly protecting your coin or stamp collection, etc.
Take some time to study what you need, spend enough money to buy quality products, from a neighborhood business, and then arrange for installation. By the middle of January you can sit back with a cold beer and feel proud that you accomplished your resolution. No guilt for the rest of the year! Besides, if you try to be a better person than you really are, that’s likely to cause more stress, which might make you eat more, resulting in gain weight, then you feel bad so you start to drink more than you should, which causes . . .
Have a great 2018!
In much of the country humidity can cause rust problems for guns and other items locked inside a safe. Here in Michigan, for instance, where almost every house has a basement, gun safes frequently end up in basements. While some basements do not have humidity issues, many are quite damp. Old “Michigan-style” field stone basements or lake-side houses tend to be especially humid. There are two good ways to control humidity inside gun safes.
1) Heat bars are sold under several names like Dri-Rod and Golden Rod. These heat bars are put in the bottom of the safe. An electric cord goes out the back of the safe into a wall outlet. They run all the time, heating to about 120 degrees. They dry the air out, and the warmed air rises, causing circulation. I advise against using heat bars in a safe which holds photos, stamps, historic papers, leather items, etc., because I believe the warmer air will artificially age these items.
2) Desiccant is hygroscopic – it actually absorbs moisture from air inside a safe without changing the temperature. Desiccant is what they put with electronics, medicines, etc., to keep moisture from affecting products during shipping and storage. Usually it is in the form of little beads in a paper pouch. For use in gun safes desiccant comes in one-pound bags, boxes and cans. Desiccant eventually gets saturated and needs to be dried out to be useful again. Typically these larger packs have some kind of indicator that tells when the beads are saturated. Drying them out normally takes many hours in an oven at about 200 degrees – not very convenient.
Eva Dry brand desiccant products are what I personally recommend for humidity control. Eva Dry comes in two sizes that work great to dry out air inside a traditional safe or gun safe. They are plastic containers full of beads with a colored indicator that tells you when the unit needs to be dried out. The good thing is that rather than using your oven, Eva Dry has an electric plug that you just plug into a wall outlet. In 10 to 12 hours the unit is ready to go to work again. They usually last three to five months in your safe before needing to be dried out, depending on how often the safe is opened.
If you are concerned about guns rusting in your gun safe, controlling humidity is an inexpensive form of insurance.
Have you ever worked in retail and seen a customer get excited when they find a Christmas gift that they know is going to be appreciated? We often get that in our store when parents buy a nice fire safe for their children who are recently married or just starting a family.
When it comes to a great, practical, reasonably priced gift for a young couple, a fire safe rates pretty high. Every family, even those just getting started, has a significant amount of important papers. Insurance and mortgage documents, legal papers, marriage licenses, car titles, passports, cash and so on all should be protected from fire. A fire safe also is a good central place just to collect and organize stuff.
We sell lots of Gardall Safe’s Micro-wave safes in the $300 to $400 range (top left of photo), their larger ES and SS units for under $500 (bottom left). Gardall’s American-made two hour fire safes (right side of photo) offer more burglary deterrence and come in bigger sizes. These units are always in stock at our store so you can just stop in and pick them up.
Avoid the low-end safes sold at box stores. With micro-thin steel (or even plastic) and inferior locks they only offer the illusion of security.
Consider giving a very practical safe this Christmas – a fire safe from Gardall Safe.
Last year in mid-December I sold a nice Fort Knox gun safe to a man who wanted it delivered after the holidays. He and his family were spending the holidays in Florida. He called after Christmas to tell me that, unfortunately, his kids had gotten together and bought him a “Brand L” gun safe.
He really appreciated the thought and the expense they had put into his gift, but he was also disappointed because he knew the Fort Knox provided better security and better fire protection. Understandably, he could not bring himself to return his kids’ Christmas present. Our customer was embarrassed about backing out of the unit he had purchased from us. He was also uncomfortable about using a safe that did not meet his needs.
Read my post from Nov. 25, 2016, which talks about the down-sides of surprising someone with the gift of a gun safe. Forget the surprise – talk with the recipient in advance to find out what they really need in a safe. A good gun safe is a lot more money than most Christmas gifts. But buying a cheap unit might be a mistake.