You Need a Ventilated Unit If You Store Any of These 10 Items

Storage units are more than just enormous metal crates. These shipping and storage containers come equipped with the attachments and specifications needed to safely transport goods worldwide. To make these shipping containers even more versatile, many suppliers offer customizations—from internal heating and cooling systems to fully functioning windows.

Ventilation is one of the most common storage unit customizations. But do you need this modification? There are plenty of reasons to opt for a ventilated unit, but if you’re storing or transporting any of the following 10 items, ventilation is crucial.

1. Certain Chemicals

If you trade in medical or industrial chemicals, you know each chemical comes with its own set of rules for shipping, storing, and selling. Some chemicals are fine in a typical storage unit, but you may need a ventilated unit if you export chemicals that are:

  • Flammable
  • Require ventilated storage according to local laws
  • Transported in unsealed (or not airtight) containers

Check the legal requirements for each chemical you deal in before you decide how you will transport it. You cannot put some chemicals in an enclosed space. And you cannot store or ship certain chemicals together in any circumstances.

For example, you cannot store manure in an unventilated enclosed space for any reason because, under these conditions, it releases noxious gases.

2. Dry Goods

Food can be one of the most difficult cargoes to transport. It is temperature and humidity sensitive, has an expiration date, and is vulnerable to contamination. When you transport dry goods, it’s essential to maintain as stable of an environment as possible.

Ventilation helps keep freight containers cool and dry, preserving the food. This is important because each temperature change of 18°F cuts the storage life of dry foods in half.

3. Explosives

Whether you trade in fireworks or industrial demolition explosives, you must keep these goods dry and at a safe temperature. This is because moisture can infiltrate the explosive, effectively destroying it (and your investment). Furthermore, if these combustible items get too hot they may explode prematurely.

4. Machinery

To keep machinery in proper condition, it’s important to keep it within a safe range of temperature and allow airflow. While most machinery isn’t likely to explode, extreme temperatures could undermine its structural integrity. And, if moisture infiltrates the shipping container and is then sealed in, it could cause rust.

5. Mattresses

Moisture can warp mattresses and encourage mold growth. You should pack individual mattresses in protective wrappings, but a basic ventilation system can also prevent damage in transit.

6. Organic Cargo

Passively ventilated containers are sometimes referred to as “coffee containers.” This is because organic cargo with high intrinsic moisture content, like cocoa and coffee beans, requires ventilation. In a sealed or poorly ventilated container, these goods would gather condensation, which would undermine the product’s quality. Eventually, this condensation could even cause rot.

7. Pressurized Gas

Like chemicals, pressurized gas containers have a lot of legal requirements for their transport. To comply with the law, pressurized gas shipment and storage must meet the following requirements:

  • Containers and cylinders must be kept within a safe temperature range while in transit and in storage.
  • Oxidizing gases (like oxygen and nitrous oxide) can’t be stored within 20 feet of a flammable substance.
  • Supply storage locations must be ventilated.

Most places also require you to post notices that a container has pressurized gases inside it. Check on the specific restrictions of your product before you make shipping decisions.

8. Upholstered Furniture

Due to its size and sensitivity to weather condition changes, upholstered furniture can be difficult to transport. Disassemble furniture as much as possible and pack each piece in a storage bag before transport. Book a ventilated unit while in transit and in layovers to keep moisture wicking away from the upholstery fabric and stuffing of these pieces.

9. Vehicles

While not overly sensitive, vehicles contain flammable liquids and are made up of materials which can suffer from exposure to heat or moisture. To ship any of the following vehicles, use a ventilated freight container:

  • Bulldozers, steam rollers, and other construction equipment
  • Cars
  • Tractors
  • Trucks of any size

Some vehicle parts also require ventilated storage. These include engines, vehicle fluids, and delicate internal systems.

If you plan to store other vehicles, like bikes, in a location with temperature extremes, you may also benefit from storage ventilation.

10. Wood

Wood is sensitive to moisture, both in storage and en route. Whether you trade in firewood or custom-made wood furniture, it’s important to keep your goods well ventilated. Exposure to moisture can cause wood to:

  • Bend
  • Contract and expand, compromising its structural integrity
  • Mold or rot
  • Warp

If you aren’t sure how to best ship or store your goods, set up a consultation with a freight container supplier. For more information about shipping units, the history of freight trade, and how to improve your business, browse our other blogs.