Humidity can cause guns to rust, and damage other items locked inside a gun safe. This applies to fire safes and burglary safes, too. Usually humidity issues are just a result of the ambient air being damp. Air can be really damp in a Mid-west basement, in places like Gulf Coast, or just about anywhere after a rainy stretch. There are several good ways to control humidity inside gun safes.
- We sell Dri-Rod brand heat bars. These heat bars are put in the bottom of the gun safe with an electric cord running out the back into a wall outlet. They run all the time, heating to about 120 degrees, lowering relative humidity. Convection from the warmer air rising creates air movement. 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 things.
- I prefer Peet brand safe dryers. Many folks have Peet brand boot dryers to dry out damp boots after a day of hunting. Their safe dryers are very similar. They take up less space in the bottom of your safe than heat bars. The “stack affect” seems to create more air movement in the safe that heat bars. Note that the first time you use them they give off a burning smell, so “break it in” outside the safe or with the door open. Same warning as above about things that may age with heat.
- 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. It comes in one-pound bags, boxes and cans for use in gun safes. Desiccant needs to be dried out after it gets 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 usually recommend for humidity control. They are plastic containers (two sizes) full of beads, with a color 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 a small internal heat unit. There is a built-in electric plug that you just stick into an electrical outlet, and 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. They are guaranteed for five years.
Gun safes protect guns and other items from external threats. Humidity is an internal threat that you control with proper gun safe accessories. Controlling humidity is an inexpensive form of insurance to keep your things in top condition.