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Author Topic: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?  (Read 2625 times)

pdirestajr

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Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« on: June 18, 2013, 05:08:13 PM »
Hi all,

So I am about to move out of my condo in NYC to a house, gulp. The good news is I will have a TON more space!

Included in this space is a completely finished basement. I'm trying to decide if I should set up my home office/ studio down there. Not sure if it is a good idea to have computers, hard-drives, and most importantly lenses down there though. Is this an increased risk of damage/ mold?

Thoughts?

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Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« on: June 18, 2013, 05:08:13 PM »

7enderbender

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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2013, 05:27:16 PM »
Depends on the basement and location I would say. I lost about a thousand negatives a few years back when my basement was flooded in a flash flood due to extremely heavy rain. So even though my basement is otherwise pretty dry and I have two pumps, water alarms and a heavy duty dehumidifier I will never ever store any photography items or music equipment down there unless stored in a waterproof container and sitting on industrial strength metal shelves that don't float...

That being said, even in the house I keep the most expensive gear in SKB and Pelican cases for protection from dry air/humidity and all the other good things we get in New England.

That's no help deciding if it makes for a good work space or not. If the place has no history of being flooded (though our's didn't have either really...) you can control the environment with a good dehumidifier and air filters. You want the gear/computers to be safe and comfortable - but also yourself.

My little man cave/recording studio/photo editing room/gear storage is on the second floor and I wish I had more space and didn't have to haul things up and down our staircase. But the basement just scares me based on my experience. It took about 15 minutes for 5 ft of water to gush in.
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nonac

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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2013, 05:39:17 PM »
The biggest drawback to a basement is usually the moisture as you note which can lead to mold.  You can control this if necessary with a dehumidifier. My basements humidity is no different than the remainder of the house. As a bonus, the water that it pulls out of the air is used to waters my house plants upstairs!
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Jack Douglas

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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2013, 05:54:50 PM »
Funny, I've just had an experience with what must be mold.  It seems my old canon 200mm FD lens now has a pattern between the rear lens and the one ahead, and it's spent its long life in a basement that does have high humidity in the summer.  However, it didn't get any use for at least 10 years and so that may be pretty extreme compared to what you're talking about.  The foam in that lens case completely disintegrated.  I'd be leary without dehumidification.

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bigmag13

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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2013, 07:05:06 PM »
I keep all my gear in two HPRC cases. Go Pelican or HPRC brand. Both water tight and can take SERIOUS KNOCK AROUNDS!!!
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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2013, 08:13:50 PM »
I keep all my gear in two HPRC cases. Go Pelican or HPRC brand. Both water tight and can take SERIOUS KNOCK AROUNDS!!!

This is great advice- I've taken my gear off of 20+ foot waterfalls in kayak, inside a pelican case. If it can survive that, I'm sure it can survive a basement. ;-)
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nonac

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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2013, 08:18:55 PM »
I keep all my gear in two HPRC cases. Go Pelican or HPRC brand. Both water tight and can take SERIOUS KNOCK AROUNDS!!!

When you do this, you need to keep desiccant packs in the cases are it does no good.  If the air is humid when you latch the case, you're just trapping that humid air in the case. Desiccant packs will absorb that moisture.  You can find packs that re-usable.  After they become saturated, they turn pink (I think some may turn blue).  You then just toss them n a low temp oven for a specified period of time to dry them out for re-use.
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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2013, 08:18:55 PM »

nonac

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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2013, 08:31:00 PM »
Here is a desiccant pack.  They make them in different sizes.  This one is 200 grams and will take care of up to 15 cubic feet.  They have some smaller ones in metal containers (I can't find find one of mine at the moment) that cover about 4 cubic feet I believe, which would be just right for Pelican type cases.
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pdirestajr

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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2013, 10:41:39 PM »
Thanks all for the good feedback, keep it coming! The basement in this house looks pretty good the few times I have seen it- we don't close on the house till Friday of this week! And it is completely finished, I mean, to the point that there are hardwood floors and a real ceiling down there. Seems like the humidity is totally managed down there too, as the sellers had a little office set up. Just still nervous about where to have all my equipment.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2013, 10:44:10 PM by pdirestajr »
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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2013, 01:07:57 AM »
I do have an old film camera + lens the basement for quite a few years, have yet to see anything get mold. I do have a dehumidifier right around the corner. I have thought about getting a Pelican case just so I have everything in one spot and so I can transport all my gear around without having to put it into many bags. One day I will get to it. I think you should be fine. As other have said make sure it is not too humid.

PureAmateur

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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2013, 02:22:25 AM »
Electronic dry box/cabinet is commonly used to store photography gears in Asia where the climate is humid.  It was difficult to find such equipment at the consumer grade a few years ago when I was in U.S.  But now when I keyed in the keyword “Electronic dry box” in Amazon and found a few:

http://www.amazon.com/Electronic-Dehumidify-Dry-Cabinet-Box/dp/B0086LMFF8/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1371622110&sr=1-2&keywords=electronic+dry+box

But the best solution is to use your gears more often so that can have enough sun light (UV) to kill the mold.

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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2013, 02:23:34 AM »
Of course it is bad to keep photography gear in a basement, you have to take it out and shoot not store in a basement  ;D ... but seriously though I have my first SLR with 2 lenses, my first DLSR with 1 lens, my first digital camera and my first camera ever etc, which I keep at my home back in India (I only go to India once a year) ... the monsoon season India can make camera gear into fungus magnets, so I keep those cameras & lenses in a thermocol box (somewhat similar to the image below) with a few small home made rice bags to prevent moisture getting in the gear ... those lenses have been there for the past 9 years (I only take those out once a year, just check if they ok and to take a few random test shots) but I've never had any problem ... I found it to be the cheapest and effective way of keeping them fungus/moisture free.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2013, 02:28:16 AM by Rienzphotoz »
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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2013, 03:18:33 AM »
The biggest drawback to a basement is usually the moisture as you note which can lead to mold.  You can control this if necessary with a dehumidifier. My basements humidity is no different than the remainder of the house. As a bonus, the water that it pulls out of the air is used to waters my house plants upstairs!
+1 on this, I have lived in the tropics for a good part of the last ten years and using dehumidifiers have saved me alot of money on keeping different kinds of equipment nice and dry.

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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2013, 03:18:33 AM »

alexanderferdinand

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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2013, 03:24:08 AM »
If you have no problem with the humidity or use one of the already mentioned cases, the basement is a place, where temperature keeps lower and doesn't change too much.
My basement is dry and cool. Stored equipment from the analog days shows no harm after 15 years.
The sleeping Pentax 645 and their 3 glasses look fine.

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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2013, 12:45:23 PM »
As noted, basements vary.  Before buying a house, make sure the building inspector has issued a report on the basement, and any flooding reports from this or nearby homes.  If its on flat land, or even a slight valley, I'd expect at least some moisture during rain storms, and seldom but  extra heavy storms can overcome any drainage..  If its in a development and has storm drains, they can back up into the basement even if it is well drained.
Storing valuable non replaceable items in a fire proof and waterproof case is a good idea.  Dryers are good to keep air dry under normal conditions, but are worthless if you are suddenly flooded.  Sump pumps are also of limited value, since you often lose power during the really big storms.
 
Homeowners should cover replacing computers, but have backups stored in a secure and dry place that will be safe even if you flood or have a fire. 

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Re: Is it bad to keep photography gear in a basement?
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2013, 12:45:23 PM »