But shipping containers run the almost-invisible risk of condensation.
Light Home reader Sally Ennor contacted us with a common problem of protecting your belongings while they’re packed up in a container.
Sally asked: “What’s the easy way to stop condensation on ceilings and walls of shipping containers?”
Condensation in containers
The contents of your container could become moisture-damaged due to condensation, which can form from any moisture in your belongings (such as inside a washing machine) or from prolonged periods of external humidity.
Condensation is most likely to form on the container ceiling, the coldest part of the container, leading to ‘container rain’.
While all shipping containers have vents to promote airflow and keep water out, it is almost impossible to account for any moisture within the contents.
Moisture and condensation can lead to fungi, mould and bacteria – so keeping your container condensation-free is important. Beginning with making sure everything you pack is dry.
Silica gel to prevent condensation
When it comes to preventing condensation, silica gel is the buzzword.
Silica gel packs, similar to the kind you find in new bags and shoeboxes, ‘drink’ up moisture in the surrounding air.
Experts recommend putting silica gel in the washing machine drum, if you’re shipping one, as it is almost impossible to drain all the water from the machine.
Silica Gel Australia, based in Burleigh in Queensland, sells silica gel sachets, beads and dehumidifiers.
Silica gel packets (from $8.50 for a pack of 50) work by sealing a product in a polythene bag or container together with the gel packet. The dehumidifier units, which start at $9.95, however, can go direct into a shipping container.
Desiccant packs to absorb moisture
There are some companies out there selling desiccant packs specifically designed for shipping containers.
Victorian-based JMP Holdings has come up with Wisecargo Gel Desiccant, which absorbs moisture to control humidity inside the container.
JMP Holdings’ website states: “Wisecargo’s sorbent is a unique formula, which can absorb up to 280% of its weight under the condition of 25 degrees and 90% humidity. With such a large absorption rate, the sorbent turns into a leak proof gel for added product protection.”
Similarly, Sud-Chemie, based in Penrith in NSW, manufactures absorbant and desiccant bags – the Desi Pak, Sorb-It, Tri-Sorb and Container Dri II, all of which absorb moisture vapour.
More shipping containers information
Check Port Container Services if you’re after more information on shipping your goods safely.
And if you’re after a little more inspiration when it comes to shipping containers, have a look at our article and podcast on a shipping container house.