Whether you’re using a shipping container to transport goods across the world or simply to stash away your excess ‘stuff’, condensation can be a serious problem. It occurs when the internal walls of a container are cooler than the air they hold – which is common considering that they’re made out of corrugated steel. This leads to the air releasing its moisture in the form of water droplets, which then trickle down the inside of the walls and ceiling, and all over your possessions. Whilst the water damage is bad news in itself, the condensation can also lead to mould – particularly worrying if you’re storing any fabrics. In this post, therefore, we give you five tips on how to stop shipping container condensation and keep your stored items in good condition.
Believe it or not, the type of storage containers you use can have a huge impact on the likelihood of condensation within a container. This is due to the water content of the materials that they’re made out of. Wooden pallets, for instance, can often have relatively high levels of water; new pallets are made with fresh timber which is moisture-laden, whilst older pallets may have absorbed excess water from being stored outside. Our advice is to either opt for plastic or metal-based pallets/containers. However, if you decide to go for wooden pallets, you must ensure they are thoroughly dried out before use.
If your container is continually prone to condensation, then consider using a dehumidifier. It’ll absorb excess moisture from the air and filter it into a tray. They come in particularly handy when organising a re-used container – any moisture left over from previous loads will be removed. Be aware, however, that they need a reliable source of power inside the container, and will also need to be emptied regularly.
Desiccants are ‘hygroscopic’ substances that absorb moisture from their immediate surroundings. You’re most probably already familiar with them – the small sachet of silica gel in your jacket pocket is a desiccant, and is helping to keep it bone dry and mould-free. The same logic applies to shipping containers, just at a larger level. Desiccants can be used either in bags, ‘blankets’, or pads, and are positioned strategically for maximum impact. Pads, for instance, can be placed beneath chilled goods or beverages, whilst blankets can be placed over items to protect them from any water droplets from the ceiling. Another fast, effective, and cheap way of reducing the moisture inside your container is to hang up stockings with salt crystals.
Sufficient insulation can greatly decrease the chances of condensation developing in your container. It does this by reducing the difference in temperature between the internal walls and the air held by the container, meaning the latter does not release moisture in the form of droplets. Whilst there are many ways to insulate your container, we’d recommend using either spray foam or stone wool insulation – either can be effectively applied to the internal walls. At UnitHire, we also use plywood to line the internal walls of containers – this acts as insulation and creates the right conditions for storing more delicate goods, such as fabrics.
Although ventilation might not be a viable option in every circumstance, it can help in reducing condensation. It does this by equalising the temperatures between the outside and inside of the container. In other words, warm and moist air is funnelled outside whilst drier, ambient air is drawn into the container. Bear in mind, however, that this won’t work if your container is stored in wet or humid conditions.
Whether you’re storing a car, construction equipment, or sports gear, condensation can ruin the contents of your shipping container. With these five simple steps, however, you can ensure that your container keeps dew-drop-free.
If you’re currently looking to rent or buy a shipping container, get in touch with UnitHire. We have a range of new and reused containers available, all of which can be modified to your specific use.