Your gun safe can withstand fire, take a few blasts and even survive a fall from the fifth fall but one thing it cannot handle is moisture. Being dark, damp, and shut-off from the world, a safe is a perfect breeding ground for mold, mildew, and fungi. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that you can do about this situation, it just happens to each and every gun safe. And, if you happen to live by the coast or in a highly humid place, then you better store documents and fragile items in sealed pouches or zip bags inside the safe.
This brings me to a simple solution – a gun safe dehumidifier. I always found it funny how many folks spend hundreds of dollars on a gun safe but never think about a dehumidifier. We all have used a dehumidifier in our car, or inside the house for the storage shed our cabinets, etc. It’s just a simple case of putting one in the safe! Until the first few documents and gun barrels start catching mold, one never thinks of getting the safe dehumidified.
Why A Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier eliminates moisture from its immediate surroundings. This is its purpose but with regards to a gun safe, it must be able to soak in moisture from every nook and cranny rendering it dry and completely free of any humidity. So why exactly should you dehumidify your safe? Well, metal has a nasty habit of rusting or corroding if exposed to moisture for too long. Since your guns and the safe itself is metal for the most part, you are sure to witness paint chippings, rusting, and deformation over time, if you don’t use a dehumidifier. Moisture can also get deep inside the crevices of a safe causing it to rust from the inside. Not only does it reduce the lifespan of your safe but also gives it a stale stench that grows in intensity over time.
Types Of Safe Dehumidifiers
There are plenty of safe dehumidifiers in the market and all can be grouped either as desiccants or an electric dehumidifier.
Desiccant is a simple sponge-like material that absorbs moisture passively from the immediate atmosphere, helping prevent humidity levels from rising past a certain point in a confined space. This is an excellent option for folks who don’t have an electric outlet near the safe or don’t want to drill holes in their safe to get wires running into them. A good quality desiccant can last for well over 4 months. The biggest advantage of a desiccant is that it can be reused – simply bake the desiccant in an oven for a couple of hours as per the instructions and it is ready to go again.
The more popular electric dehumidifier is highly efficient in removing moisture from a gun safe. In fact, it actively eliminates moisture by heating the internal environment and using an exposed heating element. Called the ‘golden rod’, this component in any electric dehumidifier reaches 140 degrees and above instantly evaporating moisture that may come in contact with it. Moreover, high temperatures inside a gun safe help prevent condensation from setting in. Whatever water molecule remains in the form of moisture tends to evaporate and escape from the crevices and slits of the safe. Electric dehumidifiers are especially effective in rooting out moisture from within the safe’s own internal structure. The only problem with these dehumidifiers is that they use wires or cords that need to be constantly connected to a power source so expect a few running wires out of the safe.
There are a few rechargeable electric dehumidifiers available nowadays. Smaller, easier to handle and with a decent lifespan, these dehumidifiers work exceptionally well in tandem with a desiccant at keeping your prized possessions dry and secure all the time.
Installing An Electric Dehumidifier
The very first thing you must find is an opening on your safe’s external walls. Almost all safes provide a tiny slit on the back surface or a hole in the bottom of the safe that can be used to run wires in and out of the safe. Once you locate this hole, it is just a matter of installing the dehumidifier onto either of the walls by bolting it to the surface and connecting the wires to a power source.
Which Is Best
Rechargeable, electric dehumidifiers, and desiccants, all perform a similar task. You can keep any one of them in your safe or even combine a desiccant with an electric dehumidifier for better results. It all depends on how often the power goes out, whether you plan on storing the safe away from any power source and if you have a hole in your gun safe.
I have shortlisted a few dehumidifiers. But first remember, that a dehumidifier is only as good as the size of your gun safe. If you have a large cabinet-sized safe, try to use a Golden Rod instead of a pack of desiccants. Otherwise, you will run through your supply of desiccants real quickly. My advice pair a desiccant pack keep it on the top shelf and affix the electric dehumidifier to the bottom or floor of the gun safe.
- 1. Lock Down Gun Vault Dehumidifier Rod – This electric rod keeps the air warm inside the gun vault heating the immediate surrounding and letting it settle down as cold air moves upwards closer to it. It comes in varying sizes and can be perfectly customized to meet your gun vault. Features include 110 Volt operation, mounting brackets, 100 cubic feet operation, and quick installation plug attachment. This is my personal favorite.
- 2. Peet M10 Safekeeping Dryer – Stands on its own with a plug-and-forget operation that quickly recovers after the safe door is closed. It uses an electric drying system that circulates air while heating it to remove moisture. This golden rod comes with a 5-year-long warranty cover and runs 24/7. I haven’t used the Peet M10 personally but a few of my friends have and they say it is just as reliable as the Lock Down Gun Vault Dehumidifier.
- 3. Eva-dry Renewable EDV-300/E-333 – This renewable dehumidifier operates using active crystals that absorb moisture from an enclosed space slowly turning from blue to pink, which indicates its dryness level. It can approximately absorb 6 ounces of moisture before turning pink. To recharge it you simply remove it from the gun safe and connect it with its power cord in a well-ventilated space, which heats the crystals and releases the absorbed moisture content. It takes just 8 hours to renew the crystals and this Eva0dry renewable wireless dehumidifier comes with a 5-year warranty and a 10-year crystal lifespan.
- 4. Stack-On SPAD-100 Wireless – Needs no holes or electrical wires, this operates on active crystals too that absorb moisture over a period of 2 to 3 weeks from a space of 100 cubic feet or less. A moisture gauge lets you know when it needs to be recharged. Recharging takes around 10 hours or overnight and it is ready to be used the next day for well over two weeks at a time.
Personally, I prefer the Stack-On SPAD-100 as it is specifically designed for gun safes whereas the Eva-dry EDV300 is more of a general-purpose dehumidifier. Nevertheless, it is just as effective and easy to use.
A quick and effective solution to drying out your gun safely, or even a stop-gap solution at times when your rechargeable dehumidifier is out of commission is using silica gels. These are cheap and easy to find. You can get them at any home store or order them online from Amazon. While many advise using a 900-gram silica box, I say if it is for only a few hours of the night, a few 100 grams or tiny boxes of these are just fine. However, if you prefer using silica gel as your dehumidifier for your gun safe then purchase two 900-gram boxes to effectively cater to a large area.