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Old May 26, 2010, 08:55 AM   #1
Mike Irwin
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What are you using in your safe for dehumidification?

I've got a very damp basement. The dehumidifier runs pretty much 24x7.

My new Ft. Knox safe is in the basement. I put a kilo of silica gel in a pan to act as humidity control.

24 hours later I opened the safe to add some more stuff, and the silica gel indicator beads were completely pink -- waterlogged.

So, I dried them out in the oven, as recommended, put them back in the safe, and 24 hours later, pink.

I've not noticed any rusting on my guns yet, but obviously the silica gel isn't going to deal with the issues I've got.

What should I use?

One of my coworkers didn't express much faith in a golden rod. "Heated air is still humid air," was his comment.

His safe is actually large enough that he has a small dehumidifier sitting IN it.

That would be nice, but...

Any suggestions?
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Old May 26, 2010, 02:23 PM   #2
Expypate
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Golden Rod makes some of the best units out there. I've been using them for years.

http://www.goldenroddehumidifiers.com/


FAQ:

How does GoldenRod® work?
GoldenRod® heats to a surface temperature of less than 150 degrees (which is almost too warm to hold) and circulates warm, dry air throughout an enclosure on a 24 hour basis. This increases the temperature of the air inside to several degrees above the ambient outside temperature. Expansion of the heated air forces the moist air outside through the vents or loose fitting doors leaving the dry air inside. In order to work correctly, it is important to ensure that there is adequate ventilation.
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Old May 26, 2010, 07:49 PM   #3
mikejonestkd
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A kilo turns pink in only 24 hours? It sounds like you have a serious humidity issue in your basement, even beyond the possible issues with the firearms. That much moisture can lead to mold and other issues with the house.

May I suggest a much bigger/ better dehumidifier for the whole basement, and add a golden rod to the safe.

You may want to get a humidity meter like this one on Amazon to find out truly what the relative humidity is in your basement:

http://www.amazon.com/Display-Temper.../dp/B001AKCLVK

Try to keep the humidity in the safe around 40% or a bit lower.
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Old May 26, 2010, 11:47 PM   #4
fastforty
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It's nowhere near that damp here, but I too quickly found that the crystals are just too much of a pain to keep up on. I use "Dry Out", little BB sized balls of calcium chloride that you can get at Bed Bath & Beyond in 1/2 gallon milk cartons for 6 or 8 bucks (the stuff is a LOT more expensive when purchased through sporting outlets). A pint jar 1/4 to 1/3 full of the stuff lasts 3-6 months depending on the season before it all turns to liquid & has to be poured off and more product added. I've seen a gizmo designed for the stuff that keeps the product up high, allowing the liquid to drain to a lower holding reservoir that would probably be more effective for a very high humidity environment.
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Old May 27, 2010, 09:18 AM   #5
Mike Irwin
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Yeah, my basement is damper than anything in the summer. Northern Virginia is normally high humidity most of the year.
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Old May 27, 2010, 12:38 PM   #6
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my safes and gun cabinet are in my master bedroom walk in closet which has a door to the shower room. I also keep my cigar humidor in the same closet and all i can say is that the humidity is high enough (around 70% with my digital hygrometer) that I don't need to do much to maintain my humidors humidity levels. with that said I use desicant packs that i got from midway. they have a color indicator so that I can see when they are full and I can simply remove the desicant packs from the containers and then put them in the oven and bake the moisture out. also I keep my guns all lightly oiled with clp (a nice thin film that wipes off easily when i want to take them to the range). on the wood stocked guns I get the gun socks that are treated and that seems to help prevent any rust under the wood and the wood doesn't swell at all with the combo of gun socks and the desicant dehumidifier system.

digital hygrometers (like the ones for cigar humidors) are really cheap and really accurate (cigar afficianados are a bit of control freeks when it comes to humidity and accuracy is a must). good idea to put an analog or digital hygrometer in the safe or gun cabinet to monitor the humidity levels. analog ones can be had real cheap at lowes or homedepot for basic uses (in the heater/air conditioning section).

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Old May 27, 2010, 03:34 PM   #7
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Charcoal briquets in a 1/2 gal. plastic container. They start to get a little white on top (mold) throw the whole thing out, start over. I live in Florida--I know humidity.
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Old May 27, 2010, 05:46 PM   #8
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Sorry, the stuff that Bed Bath & Beyond sells is under the name "Damp Rid". The last 1/2 gallon container (48oz) that I bought (a few years ago) has a $3.99 price tag on it. "Dry Out" is the name that it's sold under at my local hardware store, where a measly 1 pint container (13oz) was $7-$9 at the same time.
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Old May 28, 2010, 01:07 AM   #9
BT100
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+1 for the Goldenrods. Although I live in an low humidity part of the country, I've never owned a safe without a GR hooked up inside. Sounds like you may need several different setups.
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Old May 28, 2010, 02:27 AM   #10
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I have that Damp Rid at my work lol. In the paint dept... Didn't feel like asking the workers in paint if it was safe around guns I didn't think he'd take it well. I'll have to look into that. So the liquid it becomes isn't hazardous at all to the finish cause it isn't water?
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Old May 28, 2010, 03:08 AM   #11
draggon
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Have no personal experience with Golden Rods but I hear they work fine if used as directed with ventilation.

Don't like DampRid or any other similar CaChloride product. I find it leaves a slight sticky film around the container. Don't forget it's a salt and potentially highly corrosive if you get even a tiny splash on your guns.

My solution is large quantities of silica gel. Cat gel is silica and really cheap, just be aware that the blue crystals in the cat product are fake, not indicating.

Mix a bit of the real indicating crystals into the cat crystals so you get an idea when to reactivate. The trick with this is to do the opposite to the GoldenRod. Seal the safe and prevent constant ingress of more moisture.

I use commercial safes rather than gun safes and the seal is already very good but the latter are fairly easy to seal with various rubber self adhesive weather strips.

Don't get too obsessive about the last bit of moisture. You don't want to actually dry it down that much that wood shrinks.

An alternative to all of this for guns that aren't going to be used alot is to seal individual guns in plastic or mylar bags with a couple of small dessicant bags.
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Old May 28, 2010, 11:13 AM   #12
Mike Irwin
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What is this cat gel that you're talking about?

And, I don't have a kilo of silica in the safe. I thought I put both bottles in the pan (used a big cake pan), but turns out that I only put one 1 (1 lb bottles). The other one is in the kitchen.

Benadryl does funny things to your head that way.
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Old May 28, 2010, 11:39 AM   #13
Venom1956
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Mike I personally had an idea of setting small dehumidifier inside my safe... then instead of having that bucket collect it run a small hose outside the safe to collect out there? also is the metal safe on bare concrete? Any buffer between the two will help, if you lift it off the floor like a foot or so if its feasible that should help as well.

I live in WI so its dry as heck in winter then summer comes and pours on the humidity... I am currently having the same trouble you are... I run silica / golden rod and a dehumidifier in that room 24/7. I like blued guns too so that makes it all the worse.

I would LOVE to hear more about this Damp Rid stuff. I've looked at it several times anyone explain how or why it works better then the Silica? I was worried about the reservoir it makes... figured a puddle in the bottom of my safe wouldn't be good
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Old May 28, 2010, 11:50 AM   #14
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We have been using these Eva-dry Renewable Wireless Mini Dehumidifer. I bought two of them a Amazon for the price of one that was sold buy the safe company. Once it turns pink, just plug it in to a socket to dry it out.
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Old May 28, 2010, 02:55 PM   #15
fastforty
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calcium chloride is a salt, so yeah, the resulting "brine" can cause corrosion if it gets spilled/splashed/swabbed on guns. I put it in the bottom of the safe and all metal is at least a foot higher (length of rifle/shotgun stocks). I use it because it's cheap, easy and effective. Just a glance tells me if it needs replacing & it takes about a minute to pour it down the drain, pour in more product and replace it in the safe.

"You can use Calcium Chloride to remove moisture from the air. Calcium Chloride is a strongly hygroscopic (desiccant) compound meaning it has a strong attraction for water. It can absorb as much as twice its own weight in water making it very useful as a drying agent."
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Old May 28, 2010, 02:58 PM   #16
Lavid2002
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I have one of those heated rods....works pretty well. I live in a humid basement and my guns dont rust when there in the safe.

Quote:
"Heated air is still humid air,"
Sure your heating the air in the safe, but your also heating the guns in there too.... So it keeps the water in the air from condensing onto them like a cold soda. With no water your guns you dont get rust. In theory anyways.

Your guns dont need to be super hot, just warm enough so the humidity doesnt condense on them.

Also, I have 2 dehumidifiers running in my basement 24/7 as well. Its so bad, I have set them up with drainage tubing so I dont have to empty them. I cant keep up with it. Theres a hot shower in the basement that adds to it, and a dryer. Gets bad sometimes.
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Old May 28, 2010, 07:06 PM   #17
draggon
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Mike; Some forms of cat litter are silica gel. Often called Crystal litter or similar. White crystals with a few blue ones added for looks. Haven't found one that is actually an indicator blue.

Cheapest form of silica gel available. Buy lots, rejuvenate at 120 degrees C often, seal the safe and you are good to go.

No risk of corrosion like the salt solutions and no ongoing cost of buying more DampRid each time the solution saturates.
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Old June 1, 2010, 02:09 PM   #18
Venom1956
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Humidity keeps climbing here... Silica lasted a whole 28 hours... Looked at Damprid again. Not sure if i like the idea of having a puddle in my safe...
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Old June 1, 2010, 07:29 PM   #19
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Thanks

I learn a lot just reading your good work !
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Old June 1, 2010, 08:14 PM   #20
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I'm in central FL, meaning it's like Costa Rica in my area............safe is indoors, unlike where I lived in NV, and I use a golden rod, and THREE dehumidifiers, along with the silicone socks..........so far, so good
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Old June 5, 2010, 07:53 AM   #21
Mike Irwin
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Well, I'm to the point where I think I'm going to go both golden rod and the silica gel I have in there.

This is getting insane.
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Old June 22, 2010, 06:45 PM   #22
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You have central heat/air in your house, Mike?
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Old June 23, 2010, 07:26 AM   #23
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Make sure there is as little as possible outside air infiltration. Warm humid air in a cool basement is asking for problems.
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Old June 24, 2010, 08:41 AM   #24
Magnum Wheel Man
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Mike... I think you need to address the main problem... the basement

if you are talking a home you own, fix the problem...

not going argue geographic differences, but in southern MN heat & humidity is about as bad as it gets, during the summer... ( think 10,000 lakes steaming in the hot summer heat )

I used to have problems... ( my stuff is in the basement as well ) central air conditioning, & 2 large dehumidifiers, & I no longer have a problem... if the air is cool & dry in & around your safe, it will be cool & dry in your safe...

my local builder has several safes in his basement, & he has had many rifles in long term storage for many years now, with nothing but a normal wipe down with an oily rag before putting them away, & has never had a rust issue, running his central air, ducted to the basement, he doesn't even need a dehumidifier, & nothing like silica or golden rod in the safes... I used to oil more heavily, & the guns were OK, but my leather slings & such used to get scuzzy in the safes, with just one dehumidifier, & nothing like silica in the safes... I added 2 extra outlet vents to the heating & AC unit, one in my storage / loading area & a 2nd dehumidifier sitting in my gun safe / reloading area, & I've not had any problems for the last couple years...

IMO, you won't need anything in your safe, if the surrounding air is cool & dry
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Old June 29, 2010, 11:52 PM   #25
Mike Irwin
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Forgot about this thread...

Yes, I have central air in the house. But, it's a crappily designed system. It really doesn't run long enough to remove a lot of humidity, especially in the basement, before it cools the house off.

I made a few changes in the basement, and it seems to be working.

Where I have the safe is pretty restricted, so I shut the one door to the back room, opened up a vent over the safe, and put the dehumidifier right there. It seems to have set up a "dry zone" around the safe.

No rust on anything, so I think I'm doing OK.

The DC area is so hot and humid during the summer that, in the days before air conditioning, many European nations classified it as a tropical posting for their diplomats.

In June we had 18 days over 90 deg. F., two days over 100 deg. F, and very high humidity. During the evening hours humidity levels were as high as 75%, during the day it would dip down into the high 50s or low 60s percentage wise.

This whole area is pretty much swamp (DC was a reclaimed bottom land swamp), and we get coastal humidity and Gulf of Mexico humidity.

It's not at all uncommon to have a very hot and humid day with a thunderstorm where there's rain coming down, bright, strong sun, and water vapor cooking off the ground to produce a ground mist, all happening at the same time.
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