featured vinyl temperature guide

There’s nothing like vinyl nowadays. However, one of the bigger downsides is that your records are not invincible. Especially if they’re not stored properly. There are many important things to know for proper care of your vinyl records. Let’s start with this one: What is the ideal temperature for storing vinyl records?

infographic vinyl temperature guide

The ideal temperature for vinyl records is between 65°F (18°C) and 70°F (21°C). Any temperatures at or below freezing point (0°C) cause brittleness, which increase the risk of breaking. And thawing afterwards increases risk of mold and mildew. However, the real risk is heat. From 212°F (100°C) you start seeing significant damage to your records like warping and groove distortions.


How Cold Is Too Cold For Vinyl Records?

Alright get this straight, Vinyl is weak at subzero (Celsius) temperatures. That is partly because it becomes brittle at this point, which reduces flexibility and increases the risk of breaking.

It returns to its usual state after it has been thawed. However moving the record from cold to warm can induce water condensation, which, can damage the paper label or the outer sleeve. Or it can leave your records moist which increases the risk for mildew or mold in general.

But to be honest, cold isn’t really too much of a threat if you keep these things in mind. As a matter of fact, it’s really heat that you need to be careful about.


How Hot Is Too Hot For Vinyl Records?

Heat is the number one cause of vinyl warping. If you want to read in full detail about this threat, check out this article I wrote on it.

The melting point of the vinyl record depends on the particular composition and the additives applied to the PVC during manufacturing. Once you reach the melting point, which can vary from 212°F to 500°F (100°C to 260°C), your album will cause unrecoverable damage.

Moving on, the worst here is a fire that hits the records. Fire is a big threat, it’s going to totally wreck your records, but you knew this alread. Home fires don’t happen too often, but placing vinyl too close to the fireplace is one of the worst things you can do.

Another common cause of excess heat on your vinyl is actually direct sunlight. Most records are black and can retain all the heat from the light. This will greatly raise the temperature resulting in record warping and groove shape distortions. Be careful to keep the records out of the sunlight, even if they’re in their sleeves.


Vinyl Record Storage Tips

I’ve summed up 7 tips in the list below. Directly fterwards I elaborate on most of these.

  1. Store your records at the ideal temperature between 65°F (18°C) and 70°F (21°C).
  2. Don’t store records in areas that undergo significant temperature fluctuations
  3. Store your records in sleeves.
  4. Before you return a record to your sleeve, be gentle. If you just throw it in the sleeve it can cause it or the jacket to tear, and expose your record to whatever’s out there.
  5. Don’t stack your records.
  6. Don’t store vinyl in moist places.
  7. Be careful during traveling with vinyl.

The ideal temperature to store your records is roughly between 65°F (18°C) and 70°F (21°C). But it is okay to diverge from this range slightly. Again, a good rule of thumb is if you feel comfortable in the room, your vinyl will react the same as well.

Basically, you want to store records only in a space or place where the temperature will be deemed “normal” indoor temperature. In fact, in order to take extra precautions, you need to keep track of the temperature variations of the place where the records are kept. If you stay in a house that is badly insulated and the temperatures will fluctuate a lot from room to space, even also depending on the time of day, there is no way you’re storing your vinyl records there.

Clearly put, stop keeping the records in areas that undergo significant temperature fluctuations. Which means, attics and basements are not a reasonable option. High heat can create warp records, and cold can make them fragile. The optimal temperature to store records is room temperature or just below. It is suggested that you store vinyl records in your collection between 46°F and 50°F.

Other than this, there are two primary things you need to keep in mind before storing your records.

Stacking your records is something you should try to stay away from. Even at ideal temperatures, records can get distorted or cracked under their own weight. Stacking up the documents creates uneven strain.

Other than this, humidity can destroy records as well. It’s safer to maintain the humidity between 30 % and 40% if you manage. If you live in a very humid environment, you may want to buy in a dehumidifier to maintain your records dry.

If you are traveling in locations with harsh weather conditions and extra room, using bubble wrap or padding to cover the space. To secure the records, find plastic sleeves for the cover. Remove records from the cover, which helps discourage ring wear. If you want to get rid of it all, insert some cardboard spacers to each recordset.

If you’re going to be carrying it in a car, don’t keep the package in the back seat for too long. If you’re going to keep them in the vehicle for longer than an hour, bring them in the trunk. It should ensure sure the sun doesn’t directly heat up the records.


What if your vinyl records are already warped?

Don’t sweat it too much. Some shops have machines that will heat and press the vinyl back to a flat shape. If you are lucky enough, you might have a local shop that offers these types of services. It could indeed, be the safest method of flattening your vinyl. Make sure to talk to the shop about the risks before going through with it.

Although this could be expensive, depending on the local retailers, it may be better to seek a replacement. Another alternative is flattening the record yourself. I’ve described how to do this in a section in this article on fixing a skipping record player.

However, it’s always wise to prevent it in the first place. Avoiding your records getting damaged or warped is always the best course of action. You know it! Prevention is a lot easier than trying to fix your records after they are damaged.


Conclusion

The ideal temperature for vinyl records is between 65°F (18°C) and 70°F (21°C). Any temperatures at or below freezing point (0°C) cause brittleness, which increase the risk of breaking. And thawing afterwards increases risk of mold and mildew. However, the real risk is heat. From 212°F (100°C) you start seeing significant damage to your records like warping and groove distortions.

Hopefully you found this to be useful. If you liked this article, check out my other educational articles. Thanks for reading!

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