Can Power Tools Be Stored In a Shed During Winter?

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When the cold weather rolls around, we tend to put a lot of things in storage, only to break them out at the first sign of a spring breeze. This is why having a shed can be a very useful addition to your home. But, some things may not be able to be kept in the cold shed during the winter months. This can be true for some power tools. “Knowing how to get your power tools ready and where to store them can lengthen the life of your tools”, says Dave Malcolm, expert, and shed builder at Mediage LLC

How To Get Your Tools Winter-Ready

The winter months have higher humidity than the summer months which means there’s more moisture in the air. Paired with less sunlight, this can be damaging to metal and plastic. 

  1. Make sure your tools are cleaned well before storing them. Wipe dirt, grease, leaves, grass, or other debris off them with a rag or towel. If anything other than this is needed, follow the recommendations of the manufacturer for cleaning. Make sure the tool is completely dry before it goes into storage. There are different things you have to do to get different types of tools ready. 
  2. Throw away broken or defective tools. If it’s something that cannot be repaired, it will only take up space and will likely just sit there for seasons to come if not dealt with. 
  3. Use a protectant spray on all metal parts. 

Depending on the type of tool, added measures may need to be taken. 

  • For gas-powered tools: 
    • Empty any remaining gas from the tool into an approved gas can. 
    • Top up the oil levels. If needed, completely change the oil. 
    • Start it up to burn excess fuel out of the carburetor   
    • Clean the air filter, replacing it as needed. 
    • Clean and dry the chassis.
    • Sharpen blades, chains, or knives and coat with mineral oil.
  • For battery-powered tools: 
    • Take the battery out of the tool and put it on the charge.
    • After it’s charged, put it into its storage bag and store it somewhere dry. 
    • When you clean these tools, avoid excess moisture around the battery port. 
    • Sharpen blades, chains, or knives and coat with mineral oil.

Storing Your Tools

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Once your tools are ready for storage, you should determine where the best place to store them is. These are tips to remember for storing tools during the winter:

  • When possible you should store all your power tools back inside the box in which they were purchased. This will help keep dust out and help prevent rust from forming on them.
  • If original boxes aren’t an option, they can be stored in a canvas or cotton (water-proofed) bag or cover. These will be water permeable and breathable for the tool.
  • Your power tools can be stored in a toolbox but you will need to put some silica gel packs inside to keep the moisture levels down.
  • You can use a tool chest or cabinet to store power tools but, again, you would need to keep the moisture low because that can cause rust so you can use anti-rust papers as a precaution.
  • To save space you can hang tools on pegboards on your wall in the garage or shed and this will help you stay clean and organized. This will also keep them off the floor and away from ground moisture.
  • If you are storing your power tools in a shed make sure it is a well-insulated and properly ventilated shed. Sheds don’t typically come with insulation so you might have to insulate it yourself. You will also need the ability to have a heater or dehumidifier running to decrease moisture. 
  • Most power tools have oils and grease that do not run when they are cold. Because of this, power tools should be brought into the house and given a chance to warm up before using them. You should give it at least two hours for this. 
  • Use plastic bins for smaller tools. This is an extra layer of protection for them. They are also stackable and easy to carry, making them more convenient. 
  • Label boxes and make a list of everything you have stored so you can find it when you need it again. 

Power Tools Can Be Stored In a Shed During Winter

In conclusion, it is safe to store most electric tools in your shed as long as the temperature and humidity can be controlled. Freezing temperatures can cause the metal or plastic to become brittle on some tools, which can cause them to be damaged or broken, especially if they are used while still cold. Taking the necessary precautions should help you safely store your power tools and help them have a long life. 

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