We’re on spring’s doorstep and you know what that means…
Warm weather is on the rise, rainy days are the norm and humidity is making its annual return. And while they may be the perfect ingredients to prep for swimsuit season, they’re the last things you want your old analog memories exposed to.
That cardboard box full of old VHS tapes, film reels, mixed tapes and photographs sitting in your basement or wedged up in your attic are about to experience a great flux in temperature and climate. And, if you just turn a blind eye, you could be risking the longevity and quality of your memories.
Video tapes, although obsolete by today’s standards, are 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 quickly. At first, a discernable color distortion might 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 they already do.
So before that summer heat streak hits, you should strongly consider moving your analog collection of tapes and photos to a more climate controlled storage location.
April flowers bring May showers, right? And water, in case you hadn’t heard, isn’t particularly good for electronic devices. So if your basement is prone to leak during periods of heavy rainfall, or you’ve got an old roof that’s past its prime, then again you should consider moving your old media into a more protected and water-proof environment. Because once your memories get wet, there isn’t much you can do to reverse the damage.
The ideal humidity and temperature for video tape storage is between 55-70 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity between 30-55%. Anything outside of these zones can expedite the decay of your old media. So if you live in the midwest or the south, where humidity levels reach unbearable percentages during peak summer time, it’s time to rethink your storage protocol. In contrast, the same idea applies to those who live in the dry desert of the southwest. Too much humidity can cause damages similar to water damage and not enough humidity can dry out the lubricants that a lot of video and cassette tapes use for playback.
While heat, water and humidity are the main determinants to look out for, there are a few other things to try to avoid:
- Air pollutants and mold – unregulated basements and cellars are perfect breeding grounds for all sorts of microorganisms
- Direct sunlight – ever seen what the sun does to a bumper sticker? It doesn’t take much imagination to know what it will do to your photos and tapes.
- Improper stacking – tapes should always be stacked vertically (domino like) to preserve their lifespan.
Get digitized. Find peace of mind.
Forget the elements! Extreme weather and your old media don’t mix. But don’t freak out if you haven’t been on the ball with your healthy storage habits. After all, you can extend the lifespan of your analog formats, but they’re not immortal – unless you digitize.
Just send in your old tapes, photos, film, audio formats and more, and we’ll handle the rest, preserving your memories for a lifetime to come.