How to Maintain Your Refrigerated Shipping Container - Do's and Dont's

December 30, 2021

Whether it's your refrigerated shipping container or your car, everything needs regular maintenance to perform at maximum efficiency and avoid potentially dangerous mistakes that could cost you more in the long run. A refrigerated shipping container is no different, and taking a few minutes each week to maintain it will help ensure that it's safe and ready for anything.

The following are some tips on what you should and shouldn't do to maintain the refrigerated shipping container for your business.


Use your container as often as you can

A refrigerated container that sits around doing nothing will lose its internal temperature and start to degrade faster than one that is regularly moved and used for its original purpose. If you're planning on using the container more in the future, just setting it up and leaving it there isn't the best idea. Also, make sure to inspect all refrigerated containers before and after each use for any damage or defects.

refrigerated shipping container maintenance
Keep the door closed when not in use

While this might seem like an obvious thing to do, it's incredible how quickly a door gets left open when you aren't using the container, especially for a 20 or 40-foot container. If you're not using it, make sure that you close and lock the door to help maintain a cool internal temperature.

Keep your refrigerated shipping container in a well-ventilated area

If you want all the benefits of your refrigerated shipping container, the best place for a container is one where it will be left outside or at least open to the air on all sides. Avoid parking your container in an enclosed space or under trees where it will be subject to high carbon dioxide concentrations.

Clean the container often

Keeping any container clean is important, but this is especially valid for refrigerated shipping containers. Dirt and debris can interfere with door seals and cause leaks while allowing mould and mildew to grow inside. When cleaning your container, be sure to wipe down the entire exterior and interior, especially any visible dirt or grime. Remember to pay extra attention under and behind doors where spills can seep in over time.

Re-coat when necessary

The sealant used on refrigerated shipping containers isn't meant to last forever. If you have a container with a weak or flaking exterior coating, it's crucial to re-coat the unit as soon as possible. Avoid using oil-based paints and instead opt for a marine varnish designed for this purpose.

Check the internal temperature weekly

Regularly checking your refrigerated shipping container's temperature is very important, especially since everything can be affected by problems with the door seals and improper ventilation. Ensuring that the internal temperature stays at your desired temperature will help maximise energy efficiency while preventing any spoilage or loss of freshness for your stored goods.


Never place any kind of open flame near your refrigerated container

This can cause a fire to start and even an explosion if the flammable contents inside are too close to the heat source.

Don't overload your container or add additional weight that wasn't accounted for

Doing so will change how your container performs and won't allow for the best results.

Avoid using your refrigerated container as a place to store non-food items

Using it to keep cleaning products, chemicals, or hazardous materials can cause odours and other issues that you don't want to contaminate or spoil what's stored inside.

Never paint your container

While this might seem like a good idea, especially if your unit is looking worn or rusty, it's important to remember that the paint will prevent the steel from breathing properly. This can cause moisture to build up inside and interfere with insulation.

Stay away from any material that can damage the door seals

Things like caulk, brick, and grout can cause problems as they will build up around the sealant and prevent it from sealing correctly. Over time, this could lead to increased energy costs as the cooling system will have to run longer to maintain a proper temperature inside.

Don't use your container for storage if it's damaged or has visible cracks

Holes will allow the cold air to escape and no longer provide an effective seal. You might also want to inspect your container for any dents that might compromise the unit’s structural integrity.

Don't place sharp objects near your refrigerated container

They risk damaging the seals, which will cause leaks and other problems. If you keep tools nearby, be sure to use a sturdy storage container for them.

Please don't store your unit indoors if at all possible

It's not meant to be used as a storage space, and doing so can result in mould or mildew forming inside and other problems. If you must keep your unit indoors, be sure to regularly inspect it for any issues and remove anything that might be causing a buildup of condensation or mould.

Don't use silicone caulking around the door

Silicone will trap moisture, cause corrosion and rusting, and interfere with the door seal.

Don't try to repair your refrigerated container on your own

It's not worth the risk, and hiring a professional is always best in these situations. The last thing you want is to end up causing more damage that will cost even more money. Putting your unit in the wrong place, stacking it too high or using the wrong material for your door seal are all things you should leave to a professional.

Don't forget that these are just basic guidelines, and each refrigerated shipping container is unique. Always make sure to read the manual before taking yours out on the road, as this will help ensure it performs correctly and provides your stored goods with the best possible care. Following these guidelines will ensure that your refrigerated container performs at its highest levels and provides you with many years of excellent service!

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you are in the market to buy refrigerated shipping containers, please talk to us today at Betta Storage to find the best cold storage container solution for you!

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