Frequently Asked Questions About Protecting Valuables from Moisture Damage
How are stored valuables damaged by moisture?
Most damage to stored valuables and supplies is caused by humidity trapped within the enclosed storage area itself ... be it a safe, gun, camera or telescope case, video tape or photograph collection, computer parts and accessories, tool boxes, storage containers, display cases, shipping containers, lockers and silver drawers. Humidity trapped within an enclosed space turns into almost imperceptible condensation which causes irreparable damage.
What types of damage from moisture and condensation can occur?
Rust, corrosion, oxidation, tarnish of tools, coin collections, silverware, jewelry, musical instruments, hunting and fishing equipment, damage to computer and other electronic equipment.
Mildew, fungus, mold, odor, spoilage of seasonal storage items, collectibles, clothes, leather, horse tack.
Spotting, toning, stains, gum damage, cracks to stamp collections and valuable documents, photographs, videos.
Shortened "shelf-life" of photographic film, batteries, hearing aids, fogging of camera and telescope lenses.
Deterioration of seeds, bulbs, animal grain, foods, medicines, and more.
What can be done to prevent moisture damage?
Silica gel prevents these moisture related problems before they begin. Manufacturers know this. That is why they often include a small packet of silica gel in shipments of new guns, cameras, electronics, leather goods, pharmaceuticals, and so on. Silica gel creates a protective shield of dry air within any enclosed storage area.
What is silica gel and how does it work?
Silica gel was developed just prior to WWI and was used in Allied gas masks; then, in WWII it was used extensively to keep penicillin dry. It remains one of the highest capacity adsorbents available today. Not a "gel" as commonly thought of, and not to be confused with "silicon gel", silica gel is a porous, granular form of silica, synthetically manufactured from sodium silicate.
The internal structure of each small silica gel granule is composed of a vast network of inter-connecting microscopic pores, which attract and hold moisture by a phenomena known as physical "adsorption" and capillary condensation. A single teaspoon of Silica Gel has an internal "adsorptive" area equivalent to a football field, including the two end zones.
Silica gel is inert, non-toxic and safe to use to protect foods, medicines, sensitive materials of all kinds. Even when saturated with adsorbed moisture, silica gel looks and feels dry to the touch.