10 Tips for Keeping Your Shipping Container Home Warm During Winter
Shipping containers are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, so your container in Ontario will remain standing year-round, keeping the elements and vermin out. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the inside environment will be comfortable unless you make certain preparations to ensure that it is warm in winter and cool in summer.
1. Shipping container insulation
Your shipping container home needs to be insulated to make it livable. The interior gets extremely hot during summer and extremely cold during winter because heat moves easily through the steel structure. Insulation is used to maintain the inside temperatures without much influence from the elements. Depending on your region’s climate, you may need both insulation and weather-proofing to maintain stable indoor temperatures for optimal comfort.
Generally, wet climates are more dangerous than dry ones to a steel home because the moisture can cause the metal to rust. So, it’s vital to keep moisture and condensation away from your home’s structure. This is particularly important when insulating your container home externally. Though container walls have a shallow depth and limited space, you can still install interior insulation. With both options, you need to build out the walls to provide sufficient depth for insulation.
Some common types of insulation for shipping container homes include:
- Spray foam. This provides a quick and easy way to insulate your home by spraying the insulation material directly on your unit’s exterior and interior walls.
- Wool. This is a natural insulation obtained from sheep wool. It is environmentally friendly and offers high-performance insulation with an R-value of 3.5 per inch. In addition, sheep wool contains a natural flame retardant (lanolin), eliminating the need to treat the insulation with chemicals.
- Cotton-based insulation. This natural insulation material is made from recycled, post-consumer cotton and denim attire. It has an R-value of 3.5 per inch, which is the same protection you get with fibreglass insulation. Moreover, cotton insulation also contains boric acid, which is a fire retardant. However, this insulation needs to be installed with a vapour barrier to prevent it from getting wet and losing its insulation properties.
- Cork. This is a natural insulator. Cork is biodegradable and is obtained from cork trees by harvesting their bark rather than cutting them down. It is not only an environmentally friendly insulation material but also a great option for people looking for the added benefit of sound insulation for interior or exterior metal walls.
Besides insulation, here are some tips to keep your shipping container warm during winter:
2. Install double-glazed windows
Suppose you reside in an area that experiences extremely cold weather for many months. In that case, you should consider installing double-glazed windows during the fabrication stage of your modified shipping container home. Though they’re a bit more expensive than other window options, double-glazed windows are energy efficient. This means that they provide good insulation to reduce heat loss through the windows, allowing you to trap more heat indoors during winter.
3. Seal your doors and windows
Shipping containers are usually airtight when properly closed. However, following various modifications to create a such as installing windows and new doors, gaps may emerge through which warm air escapes from your house. It’s important to inspect your external doors and windows for any gaps and seal them using silicone caulk.
4. Purchase a wood burner
If you’re looking for a way to quickly warm up your indoors, then a wood burner can get the job done quickly. You only need to wait a few minutes after lighting for the burner to generate sufficient heat to warm up your living space and even your entire container home if it’s a small unit. As they use wood for fuel, it makes them inexpensive to operate.
5. Use a portable heater
A portable heater can be used as an alternative to a wood burner to warm up small areas of your shipping container home, like the living room.
6. Close doors to unused rooms
The warm air that you generate inside your home will flow to all accessible rooms. Therefore, it’s important that you close the doors to any rooms you’re not using so the heat remains within the parts of your home you’re using. You can, for instance, keep the doors to your bedrooms locked until just before bedtime to let some of the heat in to warm them up.
7. Prepare homemade meals
Make use of your cooking appliances, especially the oven, which operates at temperatures of up to 400 degrees. Preparing your own meals will allow the heat produced in the kitchen to flow to other rooms in your home and warm it up.
8. Use your curtains to trap heat
Even during winter, you can still enjoy some warmth from the sun during the day. It would help if you opened your curtains to maximize heat penetration for the few hours of sunshine. After the sun sets, you should close your curtains to trap the heat that got in during the day. For optimal benefits, consider investing in winter curtains that are insulated to minimize the rate at which heat escapes from your indoors.
9. Choose the right flooring
Shipping containers typically have wooden flooring, which can make you feel cold during the winter months. Although wooden flooring is long-lasting and easy to maintain, you should cover it with a thick rug during the cold season to maximize heat retention. They also feel comfortable under your feet since you’ll be spending more days indoors.
10. Rearrange your furniture
During summer, it’s okay to position your couch next to a drafty window. As the cold weather sets in, though, remember to move your relaxation furniture pieces, such as your sofa and dining chairs, away from the doors and windows and placing them closer to your heating system.
With the proper modifications, combined with a few lifehacks, you and your family should be able to enjoy warmer days and nights during winter. In addition to warming up your home, make sure to dress appropriately by wearing sweaters, long-sleeved clothing, and other warm-weather attire, and consume hot foods and drinks, including hot chocolate, casseroles, and soups.