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Eliminating Condensation/Moisture in a Shipping Storage Container

02.06.2013 - Posted by Updated On 02.06.2013    

Humidity and seasonal changes in most of the United States and Canada mean that the temperature during the day time and night time can vary greatly; and if you’re using a shipping container for portable storage, this range of difference in temperatures can lead to condensation build up and may cause damage to the items that you’re storing inside.  There are several ways to manage this condensation, both structurally and internally through simple products and chemicals.

If you’re using the shipping container for long term storage of furniture, household goods, or really anything for that matter, it’s a good idea to keep it covered with a plastic tarp.  It doesn’t need to be expensive, just something to keep the moisture and dust off of the items.

Internal Ways to Manage Condensation in a Storage Container

In order of simple/cheap to complex, here are a few popular ideas that we’ve suggested to clients.

  • Kitty Litter:  Open a bag or two of kitty litter inside of the container.  One or two, placed on each end of the container will help to absorb the moisture.  It’s not a perfect solution, as you’ll need to monitor the situation and occasionally replace the bags of kitty litter, but it’s inexpensive and can be found in nearly any store.
  • Commercial Desiccants:  Products like “Damp Sticks” or other condensation absorbing devices can be placed inside of the container to collect moisture.  While they are more expensive than kitty litter, they are able to absorb more moisture and will last 3-6 months (depending on how much moisture is collected).  You can purchase many of these chemicals online, and while it is an effective way to manage moisture it gets expensive over time.
  • Dehumidifier:  If you have electrical power inside of your container you can always buy a small dehumidifier and place it inside of the container.  The reservoir will need to be emptied occasionally, but the costs are limited to the initial investment and the monthly power cost.
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Structural Ways to Manage Condensation in a Storage Container

If you’re interested in solving the problem with limited long term costs, and little to no management effort, you can make a few changes to the structure of the container.  A very common way to manage condensation is to manage the air flow and keep the inside and outside of the container the same, or close to the same, temperature.

  • Storage Container Vents:  Adding a ventilation system into a storage container is one of the most common ways to keep the inside of the container dry.  Adding four storage container vents, two on each end of the container, allows an ample amount of airflow and does a great job keeping the contents of the container dry.  There are two main types of vents, fixed and louvered.  Fixed vents are simple and effective, but you can’t directly control the airflow.  Louvered vents are more expensive, but provide some control over the airflow.  Fixed shipping container vents can be purchased online at ContainerLockBox.com. (We’re omitting turbine vents, or “twirly vents” from the list because they can allow moisture back into the container if there’s wind and precipitation.
  • Air Conditioning Units:  If you’re using the container for a jobsite office or oil field office, and have a power source for the container, you may want to consider having some type of HVAC unit, or basic air conditioner, installed.  If you have cut an appropriate size hole in the container, and secure a cage around the air conditioner, you won’t sacrifice any of the natural security of the container.
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No matter which way you choose to keep the condensation and moisture out of your storage container; simple chemicals and desiccants, or installing vents or an HVAC unit, keep everything dry and protected in humid areas, or areas where there is a large shift in the day and night time temperatures.  If you have any questions on how to deal with moisture inside of a shipping container please contact any of the certified container dealers on ContainerAuction.com, or contact our staff directly.



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