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How to Add Air Conditioning to a Shipping Container

Climate Control
2 minute read
Jun 28, 2023
How to Add Air Conditioning to a Shipping Container

Determining what shipping container air conditioning system is right for your structure can seem daunting, but in reality, it’s simple. Consider the location and intended use of your modified shipping container. What is the climate? Will your container function as an office space, equipment storage, or something else? Keep these questions in mind as you read on and learn more about shipping container air conditioning.

Shipping Container Air Conditioning: For Storage, Offices, and Living Spaces


Think of the packaged terminal air conditioner (PTAC) units you’ve likely seen in hotel rooms. These PTAC units are the ideal size for single containers modified into storage, offices, and living spaces because of their compact cooling power.

PTACs have 15 K cooling power, the perfect amount to keep employees comfortable in a ground level office—even on a hot summer day. Additionally, the PTAC size hasn’t changed for decades, making installation standardized and simple.

Installing a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system in a shipping container means cutting and framing an equivalent-sized hole in the steel walls. So, if the container’s PTAC needs replacing, you can easily replace the unit by sliding the old one out and the new one in.
Even though we often use PTAC units, there are some situations when a smaller through-the-wall unit (12 K) is the best solution. These units don’t require a 220 V outlet; you can plug it into the same 110V outlet you’d use for a toaster. Connect with our container experts to discuss what option is right for your application.

Heavy Duty Shipping Container Air Conditioning– For Industrial Equipment


We recommend a more robust wall-mounted HVAC unit for container-based industrial equipment enclosures. If you’re protecting industrial equipment that emits heat or must stay within a set temperature range—such as server rooms or water treatment equipment enclosures—choosing a heavy-duty HVAC system creates a better environment for the sensitive equipment.

Basic Ventilation for Storage Containers


Determine if your container needs ventilation based on how you intend to use the container. All shipping containers come with small vents to equalize air pressure while traveling overseas, but these vents don’t create enough airflow to prevent mold or rust during long-term storage.

Pairs of passive vents installed in the shipping container walls can promote basic airflow without a power connection, but the efficacy of these passive vents partly depends on the climate of the container’s location. For instance, if your container resides in a tropical climate, vents may not be adequate, and you’ll likely need to add an air conditioning system to prevent mold.

***If you plan to use your container as an office or to store temperature sensitive items, you need air conditioning. It’s an important safety measure that fully transforms a former cargo box into a fully functioning workspace, restroom, or storage structure.

We always recommend that you work with an experienced shipping container manufacturer. Here at Falcon, we’ve built a team of master welders, carpenters, and electricians to ensure our structures are safe and modified to our standards.

If you have questions about climate control for a specific project, reach out to us! We’ve modified shipping containers for over two decades. Let’s collaborate to get you the right structure to meet your needs. Give us a call at  877-704-0177 or email us at Sales@FalconStructures.com.

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