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Are Containers Affected by Condensation?

  • Care & Maintenance
18th January 2021

Freight units are extremely versatile and are used to store and transport countless tonnes of cargo around the world each year. They can also provide the perfect basis for a broad variety of conversion projects.

Buying a container is a smart investment as they are one of the most durable and secure structures on the planet. That being said, you must still know how to take care of your unit and protect it from damage. One of the challenges that many owners may face is condensation. While condensation is not always an issue, it should be considered, as it can cause substantial damage to your unit and its contents. With that in mind, here is everything you should know about condensation and how to prevent it.

What causes condensation?

Condensation occurs when two different air temperatures meet. In most cases, condensation occurs when your unit cools overnight and the water inside the unit condenses and turns into water droplets. Condensation can be seen on any surface where the heat escapes, which is usually the roof of the unit or at the top of the interior walls. Your steel unit is more susceptible to condensation if you are storing damp goods inside the unit, i.e., if pallets became wet from the rain before being loaded into the unit. The amount of condensation in your unit will also be affected by how often the doors are opened and how often you load and unload the unit. Newer boxes with multiple air vents are typically less affected by condensation, but you should still expect some condensation in your unit.

How can I prevent condensation?

If left untreated, condensation will drip down your container walls and cause damage to your unit. It can also damage your cargo by causing issues such as mould, warping and packaging deterioration. The good news is that there are several steps you can take to manage condensation in your unit and minimise the effects. Here are some of the top ways to prevent condensation in your unit:

Install vents

All units come with vents to help maintain good airflow within the unit. Proper ventilation helps to reduce the difference between the inside and outside temperature, which in turn reduces condensation inside your unit. In some cases, the vents included in a standard unit are sufficient, although you may need to take additional steps to manage condensation.

Use a dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is one of the most effective ways to reduce condensation, particularly if you have a serious issue with condensation forming in your unit. A dehumidifier absorbs moisture from the air and deposits it into a collection bucket. This needs to be emptied regularly to avoid the moisture re-entering the air. You can either do this by hand or create a hose system that will automatically empty your dehumidifier.

Add internal lining

You can add anti-condensation lining to the interior walls of your structure to absorb excess moisture and prevent water droplets from forming. Many linings also feature insulation to help reduce significant temperature differences between the inside of the unit and the outside. This helps to stop condensation from forming in the first place.

Reduce air space

The more air space you have inside your unit, the more likely you are to experience condensation. For that reason, it is advisable to try and reduce the air space within your unit as much as possible. So, when using your storage container, try to utilise the available space and fill the container to its capacity. This will minimise the risk of you encountering problems due to condensation. It will also ensure that you get the most out of your purchase and maximise your investment.


Newer units and those with more air vents are less susceptible to condensation. However, all units are at risk of condensation damage and you should take steps to reduce the build-up of condensation in your units. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take to manage condensation in your containers and boost the lifespan of your units and cargo. If you are still concerned about condensation, get in touch with our friendly team of container specialists for advice.

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