Moisture is the natural enemy of most metals. It’s not that moisture itself does the damage. It’s a matter of facilitating or speeding up the chemical reaction known as corrosion. Living in a humid environment puts things like steel and iron at risk, including your guns and even if they are in a safe. So how to keep moisture out of a gun safe?
Fortunately, there are several ways, including non-electric and electric dehumidifiers, silica packs, dry rice, or even a particular type of gun case. It’s essential to keep moisture out of your gun safe, especially if you plan on storing firearms in a safe over the long term.
The worst method is the one you haven’t tried yet. A firearm that is corroding is a dangerous thing. You can no longer trust the stability of the steel around it. Even a well-oiled gun will eventually corrode if oil isn’t reapplied on a routine basis.
How to Keep Moisture Out of a Gun Safe
What causes moisture in gun safes
Opening it for the first time. Assuming that it sealed airtight, to begin with. It’s also a matter of where the gun safe is located. If you prefer to keep it in an environment that is not controlled (A/C and home heating systems), such as a cellar, basement, garage, attic, etc, then humidity is even more of a problem.
- Where you live affects the humidity in your gun safe
- A gun-safe’s environment
- Opening and shutting the safe often
- An airtight space creates low pressure
- Low pressure creates condensation over time
- Wallboard (a material often found in safes) contains moisture
- Safe is located near a shower, bathroom, dishwasher, sink, or washing machine
As you can see, there are a lot of ways for moisture to get inside your gun safe—some of which may not be listed here. The point is, that moisture in a safe is far from a good thing, especially when you are storing something that you may one day need to rely on for home defense.
Ways to keep moisture out
Of course, if we didn’t know of any way to keep the moisture out and protect our equipment, there wouldn’t be anything made out of steel or iron that would be worth keeping—at least not for a very long time. There are some steps you can take to ensure that not only will your gun safe be an effective storage unit, but also a protective one.
Dehumidifiers don’t just come in those big boxy units that sit in the corner of your room and make a lot of noise. There are also small ones that work only with your gun safe. They come in two variations—electric and non-electric.
The term ‘non-electric’ humidifier is kind of a misnomer for some dehumidifiers. For example, the Afloia Mini Dehumidifier is cordless and is placed inside your gun safe with your weapons. However, it is still electric—just DC rather than AC. Its battery powered and effective.
A good example of a truly non-electric dehumidifier would be the SnapSafe 75902 Safe Dehumidifier. It’s essentially a heavily perforated, cylindrical canister that slides neatly into the safe with your weapons and ammunition. It functions by way of an “indicator system,” which sucks in moisture until it is full.
When it’s full, it requires a recharge. Recharging is simply a matter of throwing it in the oven for a few minutes until it’s ready to go again. The SnapSafe is a quality desiccant for a gun safe, and there are several models out there, similar in operation and application.
This was covered a little bit above. An electric dehumidifier attaches to your safe, heating the metal to a certain temperature. With the metal heated, that heat will counteract low-pressure condensation and remove moisture from the interior air.
One such instrument is called the Golden Rod, which usually attaches to the back wall of your safe and comes in a variety of lengths, depending on the size of your safe.
You’ve probably seen these before—the little, curious packs, roughly the size of a thumbnail, that come out of food bags and other various items or devices stored and shipped in boxes. These little baggies are filled with silica, a material that naturally absorbs moisture from the air.
Due to their finite nature, they will need to be replaced periodically. Silica is a perfectly safe moisture absorber, but it’s not very good for you. Inside of its protective pouch, it’s fine. Don’t tear them open, however.
Has anyone ever told you to place a wet smartphone in a bowl of rice? If they have, you should listen. Rice absorbs moisture, and a simple bowl of rice in the safe will do just that.
Acceptable gun-safe humidity levels
According to the NRA (National Rifle Association), anything between 30% and 50% is perfectly fine, so long as the temperature range sits between 60°F and 70°F. Once you get outside those parameters, it’s best to take measures to reduce the humidity levels in your gun-safe.
Gun safes with humidity control
Gun safes don’t typically come with built-in humidifiers. The manufacturers of those safes often sell their own dehumidifiers, which work best for their safes. Some gun safes won’t need large canister desiccants, while others may.
Buying a dehumidifier directly from the manufacturer is generally a good idea, so you have something that matches your particular safe’s specs.
Best way to store guns to prevent rust
There are several ways you can go about this. The best is to use a combination of all or some of the following methods:
- Keep your firearm well-oiled and cleaned according to manufacturer requirements
- Use a dehumidifier if the humidity is too high
- Monitor humidity inside the gun safe
- Don’t have your weapon out in adverse weather conditions
- Avoid storing older ammunition with your firearm
You can use a hygrometer to keep you informed on the current humidity status of your gun safe. All you need to do is leave it in your safe and read it the moment you open the door. Wait too long, and the current status will change.
Keeping moisture out of your gun safe is just a matter of using the right devices. Most gun safes come with their own manufacturer recommendations, but just about any dehumidifier type will likely do the trick.
You should also consider not placing your safe in an area that has high humidity levels, to begin with. Most gun safes aren’t bad looking at all. It shouldn’t damage the overall aesthetic of your room too much.
Keeping a gun safe next to a washroom, kitchen, or bathroom is just asking for ulterior methods for keeping the humidity down in your safe. Remember, anything between 30% and 50% is good. If you can keep it in that range, you’re doing something right.
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