Heavy-duty plastic storage bins make excellent storage containers for a variety of products including food, books, and clothing. These storage containers are optimal for protecting their contents from a variety of environmental elements, such as water and dust, and can take quite a bit of impact damage without denting or breaking. However, one drawback to using plastic storage bins is moisture can condense inside the container and ruin whatever it is you're storing in it. Here are a few tips for dealing with this problem.
Control the Exterior Environment
One common reason moisture condensation occurs inside of plastic containers is because of fluctuations in temperature and humidity in the environment where the containers are stored. If the container is stored in an area that's warm and humid, condensation will start to form if the temperature in the space suddenly drops. This is because the contents of the container will start releasing water vapor that was trapped in the stored items.
Some items are more prone to this problem than others, such as food. However, even items like books and clothing can cause this problem if they are stored in areas where the humidity is high.
The first thing you should do is ensure the plastic bin is stored in an area where the temperature and humidity remains constant. If you're trying to save money by setting the thermostat in your storage room to change depending on the time of day (e.g. set to lower temperatures when the store is closed), avoid setting the temperature below the dew point for that room.
The dew point varies depending on the relative humidity of the room. For instance, a room with 45 percent humidity has a dew point of between 42.8- and 50-degrees Fahrenheit. You can find resources online that can help you calculate what the dew point is in your facility.
Another thing you can do to prevent condensation from forming inside your plastic containers is to use products designed to absorb excess moisture. These products range from cheap to expensive, and the best one for your needs depends on your budget and what you are storing in the container.
For instance, if your budget is tight and you're storing non-edible items such as purses and shoes, then you can use an assortment of low-cost absorbent materials such as kitty litter wrapped in cheese cloth or charcoal. However, if you're storing food items or if customers will have access to the containers, then you may want to use something a little more professional like packets of commercial dessicant.
Be aware that you'll need to monitor your condensation absorption solution and replace it as necessary. The frequency will depend on the solution you're using and how often the container is opened to new air. For instance, some commercial dessicants need to be replaced every 1 to 3 years depending on the environment and whether the container is opened frequently or rarely.
Let Items Air Out Before Closing Up
As noted previously, condensation occurs when there is a drastic temperature change and moisture-containing items start emitting water vapor. A third way to avoid this problem is letting moist items dry out before putting the lid on the storage container. For instance, letting clothing sit in a dehumidified area for a few hours before putting it in storage will help draw out some of the moisture it may contain.
With food stuffs, you want to make sure the food is the same, or near the same, temperature as the area where it's going to be stored. For instance, let hot food cool to room temperature before storing it. This reduces the difference between the internal temperature of the container and external temperature of the storage area and minimizes the risk of condensation forming.
For more tips on preventing condensation or to purchase plastic containers for your goods, contact a local supplier.