Part of caring for your antiques properly includes storing them in a safe environment. This ensures they will not be damaged by sun, water, or temperature changes. If you store antique items in a non-temperature-controlled storage space, they can become damaged. Here are three ways that the cold can affect your antiques.

Warped or Cracked Wood

Wood contains a certain amount of water molecules that remain from the wood’s time as a living organism. Now, that water remains within your beautiful antique furniture.

This means leaving wood furniture in extremely cold environments can cause the wood to expand and contract with fluctuations in temperature. This can result in cracks or warps in the wood. It is best to keep your wood furniture in a temperature-controlled environment to avoid the unfortunate circumstance of opening your storage unit to find it damaged.

Damaged Clocks

If you own antique watches or clocks, you need to be aware of yet another way the cold can affect your antiques. Most watches will keep running smoothly so long as they operate within an ideal range of temperatures. Temperatures outside of this ideal range can cause the watch to display an improper time and can damage the watch’s mechanisms.

Lower temperatures can result in watches gaining time due to a shift in the watch’s mechanics. Many of the oils used to keep a watch running smoothly are also affected by cold weather. In extreme cases, the oil can freeze, stopping the clock and possibly damaging the gears in the process.

Brittle Artwork

Antique fine art is very temperature sensitive. While many people know that heat can fade ink, they may not be aware that cold can also damage artwork. Frigid weather can cause canvas to become brittle and can solidify ink. Damage to the artwork’s materials can result in damage to the piece itself in the form of flaking or warping.

It’s best not to keep any antiques in unprotected environments, even items that may seem more durable, such as antique sterling silver. Even packing one temperature-sensitive item into a box with other antiques could cause irreparable damage. It’s best to simply choose a temperature-controlled storage option for all your antiques.