The trillion-dollar shipping industry transports goods to and from international seaports all around the world. Goods transported by ship can take several weeks or even months to reach their destinations. The industry caters to the transportation needs of a global market, and this includes, of course, the shipping of perishable goods.
But you cannot just pack perishable goods into a container and transport them. Chances are good they won’t arrive in an acceptable condition! To keep this market viable, carriers needed to store and transport such goods in sub-zero temperature conditions.
Thus, shipping companies have been using specialized containers for the transport of perishable goods. They installed HVAC systems in the containers to maintain perfect temperature conditions for the transportation of fresh produce, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, etc.
Shipping Container Housing Trend
Over the last decade, the shipping container industry has been trending in innovative ways. Shipping container architecture, one of the most popular trends, got its start in Australia when people began turning shipping containers into houses.
The world has welcomed this trend for many good reasons. First, it has supported the need for affordable housing and helped reduce homelessness. Shipping containers are environmentally friendly and relatively inexpensive compared to laying a foundation and building a new home.
This environmental friendliness is something that the world needs today. Putting waste containers to use rather than just allowing them to litter up the landscape helps mitigate a growing problem. According to the US Department of Transportation, over 1 million containers are abandoned annually, including HVAC-installed shipping containers.
However, before you head straight into a container home, there are many features and factors to consider, especially HVAC systems. The temperatures in a steel container can be extreme. It won’t be easy to stay cool in the summer or warm in the winter without help.
So before you make any buying decisions, read on to learn more.
Things to Know Before You Build A Container Home
Before building yourself a container home, the first thing to do is verify that the city code allows this type of residence. These containers won’t fit in just anywhere. Most areas have existing building codes that home and commercial developers must follow.
If a shipping container home is acceptable in your area, you now need to find one. Container sizes vary and you’ll need to choose one that fits your needs and budget. Pricing will differ depending on the size and the condition of the container you’re purchasing.
As you’d expect, newer containers will cost more than older ones. They last longer and you’ll experience fewer issues when working on a new container. This makes the condition of the container a key consideration when making your buying decision.
Therefore, the costs of buying a container will vary greatly. According to Metal Building Houses, you will need somewhere between $2000 – $5000 to build a container home. Costs also vary depending on whether features such as an HVAC system come pre-installed or not.
The size of the home you want to build also matters here. If you only need a small house, a single container could be enough for your needs. Most people looking to build larger homes with multiple rooms may need 4 – 6 containers to create a perfect home for their families.
And before you get started, it would be helpful if you gave some thought to where you’ll source accessories. Don’t forget that you need windows, doors, partitioning, flooring, etc. As mentioned, you’ll need to think about heating and cooling, so keep in mind the HVAC system.
There is always so much to remember when calculating your budget for a new home, and a shipping container home is no exception. You will need permits, certifications, and licenses just to get started. You also will need to include labor and materials for all the additions, including those for the HVAC system installation.
If the container comes with a HVAC system you may also need to clean it. This becomes even more important if the container has not been cleaned for a while. Duct cleaning helps dislodge any debris in the duct. Factor in all the expenses mentioned in this guide when approximating the total cost.
Customizing Your Shipping Container Home
Changing a shipping container into a home requires a lot of customization. Find how to help keep your home from getting too hot or too cold. Even containers that come ready with installed HVAC systems still require other modifications to help maintain temperatures.
You cannot entirely depend on an HVAC system to keep your home comfortable. Think about how you can position windows, doors, and even trees outside to help you keep utility bills down. You can also customize your roof for cooling and install fans for those hot summer temperatures.
Also, try to avoid features like indoor ovens and fluorescent bulbs. They not only increase your electricity consumption but also emit a lot of unnecessary heat. Working with a sustainable architect will help you find low-cost solutions and customize the container home to fit your needs.
We highly recommend expert guidance through this entire customization process. This guide is a resource that you can use to find both inspiration and practical suggestions for customizing your new home. You’ll find more information on HVAC systems and their importance in shipping container homes.
Pros and Cons of a Shipping Container Home
We don’t expect the popularity of shipping container homes to decrease any time soon. But as an aspiring homeowner, you need to understand the pros and cons of such homes and if they can prove to be a worthy investment for you or not.
Pros of Container Homes
- Easy set up – One of the significant benefits of container homes is that they are easy to set up. Everything from transporting them to your site to setting up HVAC systems and other modifications is streamlined. You only need to prepare a simple foundation for the container.
- Predictable costs – Preparing your budget to build your shipping container home is a relatively straightforward process. You can expect to know beforehand how much everything, including adding customizations such as HVAC systems, will cost you. Utility costs arising from HVAC systems and other equipment will be your only variable costs.
- Prefabrication – You do not need to build your shipping container home from scratch. The companies that sell and deliver them do most of the fabrication in their factories. Some also set up HVAC systems before putting the containers up for sale.
Cons of Container Homes
- Structural issues – Popularity aside, it isn’t all rosy for container homes. Some containers have structural weaknesses, especially with weak roofs. You may need to take compensating measures to keep the structure safe and stable.
Heating and Cooling A Shipping Container Home
There are many ways to heat and cool your container home to make it comfortable for your family and guests. As touched on earlier, adding heating and ventilation options can be helpful. If you want top-notch solutions, you may wish to include HVAC amenities for your home needs.
HVAC systems are modern solutions for extreme temperatures in container homes. Homeowners looking to invest in container homes need to understand the many benefits of HVAC. Expert advice and guidance from specialists can also help to provide more efficient heating and cooling tips.
Container homes do come with a variety of features that could help in heating and cooling without special equipment. First, containers let in natural light and enhance air circulation. This can ease the burden of investing in costly solutions.
Consider what you will need, specific to the placement and location of your home. Your climate, the natural landscape, and your personal preferences will be factors in how much heating or cooling you will need in your home.
An HVAC system could keep your home at the perfect temperature, but it would come at a high price. And because of this, it is advisable to combine an HVAC system with other home heating or cooling solutions. You can find affordable ways to make your container home perfectly comfortable.
When you plan on buying a home of any kind, knowing where and how you invest your money will help you get the best returns. Container homes are modern solutions that people are embracing all over the world. But you’ll need to ensure that the container is fit for human inhabitation, both in safety and comfort.
Remember that some containers have transported hazardous materials. Some might have interior paint or other properties that are toxic and a danger to your health.
So before you invest in a container home, you need to ensure it is in perfect condition. Make sure that the paint used inside the container is safe for residential living, and that the container is clear of any harmful chemicals. The seller may not divulge all this information to you before delivering the container.
But, once you’re confident in your decision, there is so much you can do to customize it to fit your family’s needs. And remember, installing an HVAC system will help you even out the temperature and keep you comfortable. If you follow these tips, you’ll be happy with your new home.