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Musty Gun Safe: Why It Happens and How to Fix It

If you're new to owning a gun safe, you might be shocked when you open it and discover a musty odor or condensation on the side of the safe. Gun safes are known to have problems with moisture control, so you'll probably need to put in a dehumidifier to prevent damage to guns, jewelry, and other valuables in your safe.
Here's a look at why gun safes tend to have high humidity and the two types of dehumidification that can help.
Why Gun Safes Develop High Humidity
Condensation is the culprit behind high humidity inside safes. If your safe is in your basement or another area where the temperature shifts over the course of the day, condensation can collect on the inside walls and on your belongings. This can be worse if the safe is stored near an area of high humidity.
Also, if your safe is rarely opened, it doesn't have a chance to air out, which traps humidity inside where mildew can develop on documents and damage can be done to metal jewelry and gun parts. The inside of the safe could even become corroded over time.
How to Tell If the Humidity Is Too High in Your Safe
You can test the humidity level in your safe with an inexpensive hygrometer meter or gauge. Leave the gauge inside the safe and check it periodically, especially in the summer when the weather is more humid. The best humidity level inside a gun safe is around 50 percent.
If it's too high, you should think about installing a dehumidifier. However, you don't want to make the inside too dry because that might affect any wood parts on your gun. Tracking the water vapor level with a hygrometer is a good way to make sure your guns are stored in just the right range to prevent damage.
How to Lower Humidity With a Desiccant
One option for lowering humidity in your safe is to use a desiccant. These are usually made of silica beads, and they absorb moisture from the air. The beads change color as they absorb water so you can tell when it's time to recharge them.
Depending on the type of beads you buy, you may need to recharge them in the oven or plug the holder into an electrical outlet. A desiccant is a good choice for small safes and would work well for larger safes if you use multiple packs for increased effectiveness.
Use the hygrometer to determine how many packs you need to place in your safe. The beads might be packaged in sacks, plastic holders, tubs, or even steel mesh containers. You can buy desiccants made specifically for gun safes that are designed to fit in the safe without taking up much room.
Why an Electric Dehumidifier Might Be Better
If you have a large safe, you may prefer to have an electric dehumidifier installed. These work by adding heat to the air. The increased air temperature allows the air to hold more moisture so condensation is reduced. You can buy a small unit that sits on the floor of the safe or a rod-shaped dehumidifier that doesn't take up much space.
A benefit of an electric dehumidifier is that you don't have to worry about charging the desiccant every few weeks or months. The electric dehumidifier keeps on working without any help from you. This makes it a good choice if you don't open your gun safe very often during certain seasons of the year.
Of course, to use an electric dehumidifier, you'll have to plug it into an outlet. Your safe may have a small hole in the back for threading the cord through. Some gun safes come with outlets installed for the purpose of plugging in a dehumidifier and lights. Other safes have optional kits that allow an outlet to be installed later.
If you're interested in buying a new gun safe that's already equipped with an electrical hookup or if you want more information about controlling humidity in your current safe, visit Bruck Safe Company and we'll get you set up with what you need to protect your guns.