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Heat Damage and your Tapes

By Dillon Wallace

Be Kind Avoid Extended Heat Time

Your boxed-up library of VHS tapes may seem to be comfortably resting up in your attic, but as the days begin to really heat up so does their chance of degradation.


It’s probably safe to say that extreme temperatures aren’t good for your tape collection, especially high, humid heat.


But why? What happens to your tapes when they get too hot? Well, you’re about to find out!


It’s Warm in Here

VHS tapes, although now an old media format, are still quite surprisingly resilient when exposed to the elements. In fact, video tapes can be stored in a hot environment safely, as long as it’s temporary. After long exposure to a hot, humid environment a tape’s deterioration will start to set in. At first, a discernable color distortion will appear followed by audio degradation. And since VHS audio isn’t the best to begin with, you don’t want your tapes sounding any more fuzzy or distorted than normal.


Feels like Fire

If your tapes suffer even more extreme temperatures, such as falling victim to an open flame, then the chances of successful recovery are slim to none. The reason, other than the fact that not much can withstand an open flame and live to tell the tale afterward, is a result of the tape’s thin layer of Mylar-backing warping and curling. Other than image distortion and static noise, which are cause enough for ruine, if your tapes magnetic ribbon gets warped, then you’re more than likely to fall prey to your VCR’s vicious teeth. Once that happens, it’s sayonara sucker!


So if you’re inside with the AC cranked up on the dog days of summer still feeling the effect of the hot, hot heat outside, just imagine what your tapes store up in that attic oven are feeling.


Better yet, get rid of the worry altogether and opt for digitizing all your tapes and analog media with Legacybox. From Death Valley heat to arctic cold, you’ll never have to worry about your old tapes and media ever again.

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