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Old June 9, 2006, 10:27 PM   #1
PackingDDS
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Humidity and gun safes

Hey all - Does anyone store their firearms in gun safes where humidity might be a problem? My safe is currently in my basement, but may be moving to my garage. My question is what level of humidity is acceptable for the long term storage of firearms. Some of my weapons don't make it out of the safe all that often.
I have a dry rod installed. I'm planning on placing a humidistat in the safe to see how mush the humidity is decreased. What level should I be shooting for? My current safe is not of the highest quality. I'll be upgrading soon, but for now I'm trying to make it as dry as possible. Any info wouldbe appreciated. Thanks.
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Old June 10, 2006, 01:06 PM   #2
Don H
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The dry rod (Golden Rod, or whatever brand name) doesn't remove moisture from the air, it raises the temperature of things in the safe so that moisture doesn't condense on them. If you want to lower the humidity then you need to use a dessicant that will absorb moisture. This involves a certain amount of maintenance in that you periodically have to dry out the dessicant in an oven.
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Old June 10, 2006, 05:06 PM   #3
FLJim
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Quote:
Don H wrote:
The dry rod (Golden Rod, or whatever brand name) doesn't remove moisture from the air, it raises the temperature of things in the safe so that moisture doesn't condense on them.
Which, if it's real hot and humid outside, may not work well. I was just researching Zanotti safes and ran-across a safe thread where somebody mentioned a friend of his had just that problem.

Quote:
Don H wrote:
If you want to lower the humidity then you need to use a dessicant that will absorb moisture. This involves a certain amount of maintenance in that you periodically have to dry out the dessicant in an oven.
Considering that most gun safes aren't air-tight, you might be doing that quite often.

All of this is why I decided the garage is out of the question. Where I live (S.E. Michigan), the summers can be quite humid and the winters darn cold. I figure that between the summer humidity and the winter cold (bring an ice-cold metal object inside and what happens?), storing my firearms in a safe in the garage was bound to result in rust and corrosion.
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Old June 10, 2006, 05:21 PM   #4
Don H
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Quote:
Considering that most gun safes aren't air-tight, you might be doing that quite often.
A bit of foam weatherstripping may help in that regard. I don't have a lot of practical experience in this area since the relative humidity in Utah is often in the single-digits and rarely gets above 50%. Additionally, my ancient fire-safe with the 4"-thick walls is pretty much airtight.
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Old June 14, 2006, 02:10 PM   #5
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As someone wh has worked with refrigerator door designs, I should warn you that you have to avoid the open-cell foams. They do not seal out moisture, but rather just slow air movement. This is helpful for thermal insulation but not for moisture sealing. You can go to Lowe's and buy rubber "D" channel seals. You can also buy vinyl foams that are closed-cell, but which tend to stick to everything they touch, and so are good for sealing a permenant installation, but not a door that will be opened and closed.

If you absolutely have to keep the safe in the garage (a potential security nightmare if you ever leave the garage door open long enough for a burglar casing the neighborhood to spot it), then I would get some heavy polyethylene gun bags and seal each gun into one. When you want to take a gun out of the cold garage, take the sealed bag inside and let it warm up overnight before you unseal it. That will stop condensation from forming on the metal. You could put a small desiccant pouch in each bag, but you don't usually want to dry stock wood out too far or it may crack the next time moisture starts back in and swells the grains differentially. I don't know what an ideal humidity for wood is, but you can probably get the number with a bit of web searching? I notice most home humidifier humidistats are labeled from the mid-20's to the mid-40's in %RH maintained, so that is probably a good range. The underlying assumption is that you keep the gun metal oiled.

I have my lathe in my garage, and no matter how carefully I keep it oiled and treated with rust inhibitor, some surface rust eventually shows up on it somewhere. The safe might slow that effect down a bit, but not forever.

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Old June 14, 2006, 07:24 PM   #6
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Do not put your gun safe anywhere you wouldnt put the wife....
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Old June 14, 2006, 09:42 PM   #7
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I have a large safe in a damp, okay wet, unfinished basement. Brick walls, cracked concrete floor poured in 1917 - get the picture? After many years the guns are fine and all I use is one 18" and one 24" GoldenRod. The door doesn't seal and the humidity to the best of my knowledge has never been below 50% in the safe. I do keep the guns oiled and some of the ones I don't use much get a light wipe down once or twice a year with RIG grease. In the winter it stays about 55* down there, but the safe stays 3* warmer.

As a control, I keep a couple of small chunks of unblued, unlubed gun steel on a shelf and they haven't rusted.

I tried dessicants once upon a time, a big box and a large tub, and they saturated in a few days. Pfui.

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Old June 15, 2006, 07:38 PM   #8
PackingDDS
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Thanks for all the input!

Thanks for all the input. I like the idea of keeping a unblued piece of steel out as an indicator. My safe may have to end up in the garage due to size and weight. I will mask it from prying eyes. My garage is attached and is also heated and air conditioned. I'll have to put a humidistat out to determine the level of humidity. My safe should be airtight, so I think a dry rod or two should do the trick. Thanks for all the helpful input.
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Old June 16, 2006, 09:36 PM   #9
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GoldenRods require external air circulation - either from a loose door like on my safe or holes along the bottom and in the top. If your safe really is airtight you can use dessicant.

Try the refrigerator gasket test - close and lock the door on a dollar bill or a business card and then see if you can slide it around and pull it out. If you can the safe door isn't airtight. It doesn't take much of a crack around a 5' x 3' (or whatever) door to provide circulation. A 16' crack 1/32" wide is what, the equivalent of a 6-square-inch hole. The GR goes across the floor of the safe; the cool air is pulled in at the bottom, rises as it's heated, and exits. Warm air holds less moisture and because the guns are warmer than the surrounding room moisture doesn't condense on them.

I don't have central air and the only heat in the basement is from the insulated pipes running along the ceiling connecting the little Burnham gas boiler to the radiators. And the electric hot water tank, but that's wrapped in 6 inches of pink insulation.

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Old June 22, 2006, 06:38 PM   #10
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I rigged up a light fixture inside my safe, and had a 40-watt lightbulb on 24/7. I never had any rusting issues to speak of.
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Old April 2, 2010, 11:26 AM   #11
rdc2co
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Re: Safes in garages

I spoke to someone a long time ago about this. My old house had a rotting wood sub-floor, so a large safe would not work there. He told me that he could anchor a safe down very well, then conceal it with a false wall of drywall. I would also think a person could hide one disguised as a refrigerator door. I'm still looking into that...I'm in no danger of being able to afford a gun safe right now.
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Old April 2, 2010, 08:06 PM   #12
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I keep my safe in the garage and humidity/condensation can be a problem where I am. Since there isn't any air circulation to speak of in my safe, I have strictly been using desiccant to keep the moisture level down in the safe and it's been working well.
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Old April 2, 2010, 08:23 PM   #13
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When I lived in N NV, the humidity was averaging 7-15% and I kept the safe in the garage and never had an issue with rusting. I now live in FL, the safe is inside, I have a golden rod and 3 large dessicant boxes and I have to dry them out once every 6 weeks, keep guns in silicone socks and wipe them down.

NEVER keep them in foam cases or plastic bags if it is humid where you live as the moisture will wreck havoc.
Don't store them in hard cases with foam liners unless they are propped open inside under heat and air
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Old April 2, 2010, 08:51 PM   #14
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I had a big problem with my guns rusting in my gun cabinet, I finally bought a Remington Mini-Dehumidifier. I've had it for about a 3 months and I havent had to recharge it and my guns havent rusted yet.
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Old April 3, 2010, 07:31 AM   #15
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Eva Dry - has dessiccant but recharges by plugging into a wall outlet. Good price at Amazon.

Pink beads in the view window means it needs recharging, which takes 12 hours or so, until the beads turn blue.

Lee
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Old April 4, 2010, 05:11 PM   #16
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guns in the garage? Must be a nice garage with guard dogs
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Old April 13, 2010, 01:23 PM   #17
REL1203
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I just ordered a nice liberty safe, and need to get either the EVA or a Dry Rod... Which one generally works better?
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Old April 15, 2010, 09:51 AM   #18
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Quote:
I just ordered a nice liberty safe, and need to get either the EVA or a Dry Rod... Which one generally works better?
Each does something entirely different.

The Dry Rod raises the dew point (but does not remove moisture). The EVA absorbs moisture.

Using a Dry Rod is always a safe bet since it doesn't dry the air. Before using something to remove moisture, I'd suggest knowing how much moisture is there in the first place. 45% to 55% is considered ideal.
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Old April 19, 2010, 11:55 AM   #19
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My Safe has been in the garage for about 6 years now.. It's alittle harder.. But wipe weapons down and alittle TLC and it has work well for me..... But it's HOT as HELL in the summer to work out there
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Old April 19, 2010, 12:05 PM   #20
REL1203
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Just got my safe last night, and put an EVA 500 in there... Should work nicely. Roughly how often do I need to plug it in (rough estimate just to get an idea, every couple days, weeks, or months)?
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Old April 20, 2010, 08:18 AM   #21
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I am here in Florida as well. Everyone says to use the Golden Rod as long as the safe is in the house.
REL1203, which Liberty Safe did you get?
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Old April 20, 2010, 08:26 AM   #22
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I use a "keep it dry" closet dehumidifer like this one (usually found at Target) in a 35cu/ft safe.

I have to replace mine roughly once a year (usually by the end of a sticky Va summer). It's easy to tell because you can see the moisture in the cup and it has a "replace now" line.
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Old April 20, 2010, 08:35 AM   #23
REL1203
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jetspeed8, Liberty Colonial 30gun safe.. I was stuck with not being able to go over 27" wide, and no wider than 36, so that was about the best I could get with my current house... It works well though, very happy with it, i just need to figure out internal lighting
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Old April 20, 2010, 09:50 AM   #24
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Gun safe, an example of something that was built with flaws from the beginning, and every effort to solve the problem is a patch, the effort protected some items from one hazard and exposed them to another , could be the 'gun safe' was not it's intended use, just an adapted use.

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Old April 20, 2010, 10:05 AM   #25
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Fir internal lighting, a few of those battery operated stick-up lights should do the trick; otherwise, if you can thread a power cord through, a small fluorescent light does nicely
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