How Do I Keep My Shipping Container Home Warm?

Posted By: February 13, 2015 In How To

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Last week we covered what you can do to keep your shipping container home cool during the summer, so it only makes sense this week to address the other half of the equation; how to heat your shipping container home during the winter. Although shipping container homes are seriously awesome, they aren’t magical and during the winter they are like any other home and get cold.  We have devised a set of strategies to ensure you keep your container home lovely and warm all year round.

Open Your Curtains

Even during a cold day there is still some warmth to be received from the sun. Most people think they should keep their curtains closed all the time to keep the heat in but they are missing out on the warmth provided by the sun.Once the sun has risen make sure to open your curtains and let some of the heat in…

But Close Them at Night

I think it goes without saying once the sun has set for the night close your curtains so do you don’t loose any of the heat you’ve gained throughout the day. If you are serious in your attempts to keep warm during the winter make sure you buy some winter curtains. These are typically insulated with addition cloth so you have a thicker buffer between your warm air inside and the cold air outside.

What About Those Wooden Floors?

Sometimes certain things can just make you feel cold and wooden floors are certainly one of those things.

Now, a lot of shipping container homes I know have wooden flooring because they are easy to clean and very long lasting, however in the winter they don’t give off any warmth.

Try getting a lovely thick rug and placing it over the wooden floors during the winter. Not only are rugs nicer to feel under your feet they will also retain some of the heat. In fact if your flooring is really cold there is nothing stopping you putting two rugs downs!

Reposition Your Furniture

It’s surprising how many people have their sofa next to a ‘drafty’ area like a window. Simply re-arranging your furniture can provide a massive heat boost. Any furniture which you sit on for long periods of time, such as your dining room chairs or the sofa in your living room should be moved away from any external openings and placed closer to heat sources. Also if you know some areas of your house are ‘drafty’ such as an external fan then block if off with a bookcase so you stop that cold air passing through your house.

Make yourself warm

Quite often people focus more on heating their homes up than they do on heating themselves up; it’s much easier and quicker to heat yourself up.

Plus your containers don’t mind being a little bit cold!

Take simple steps like putting an extra jumper on, or wear thick socks to keep the heat in. Wearing additional layers is the cheapest way to stay warm during the winter and it’s also really snugly. Other simple things like eating hot foods such as soups or casseroles can quickly heat you up. Also periodically throughout the day have hot drinks like tea or hot chocolate!

Get a Wood Burner

Wood burners can provide an incredible amount of heat in a very short amount of time. Literally, a few minutes after lighting and they can be generating more than enough heat to keep your living room warm. Not only do they heat up quickly they are very cheap to run; especially if you are using wood which you gathered yourself! Remember though, wood burners aren’t very good at heating your entire house. You can however slightly mitigate this by closing the doors to the rooms you don’t want to heat up.

Open Your Oven Door

Obviously we wouldn’t recommend turning your oven on full heat and leaving the door open as a viable, cost effective, way to heat your home up! However, a great little trick is, once you’ve finished cooking and turned your oven off, leave your oven door open so the heat inside the oven can escape and spread throughout the kitchen and hopefully the rest of your home.

Close That Door

There is nothing worse than heating up a room which nobody is using. It’s quite easy to walk out of a room and forget to close the door behind you. However, this is a sure fire way to keep the overall temperature in your container home low. Make sure once you’ve finished using a room to pull the door to, so the heat in your house only spreads to the rooms you are actually using.

As previously mentioned with wood burners, they struggle to heat up large areas so if you want to get the most out of your log burner make sure to close all the doors in your house except your bedroom doors, that way you will get some extra heat up into your room before you head to bed.

Double Glazing

Granted if you’ve only just moved into your new shipping container home and decided on using single glazing you probably won’t be running off replacing your windows. However if you’re in the process of building your shipping container home whilst reading this I would certainly recommended getting double glazed windows. Although they are more expensive, it will reduce the amount of heat lost through your windows and also provide a sound buffer to unwanted noise outside.

Seal All Leaks

Make sure that you seal any gaps which let air in; these are most commonly found around your external doors and windows. Caulk is what you want here. It’s a quite straight forward DIY job; all you need is a caulking gun and some silicon caulking.

Get A Portable Heater

Like last week we had a last resort of using air conditioning to cool yourself down. This weeks last resort is to use a portable heater (otherwise known as space heaters) to give you some extra warmth. We’d class a portable heater as a last resort for two key reasons.

Firstly they are very expensive to run and only heat a very small area at any given time. Secondly, they are a fire hazard and cannot be left on overnight.

If you really can’t keep yourself warm any other way then use the portable heater but be careful. Remember to turn if off before you go to sleep and also make sure it isn’t close to any flammable materials whilst it is turned on.

We hope that the eleven ideas above will help keep you and your shipping container home warm throughout the winter! If you have any other great tips feel free to let us know in the comments below; we’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading guys and until next time,


  1. Dave

    Hey Tom a couple of ideas you might want to add for ways to stay warm in your container home hey that rhymes.
    Wear warm clothes inside. So many people could lower their heat bill if they would wear warmer clothes in their homes.
    Cheap Solar system saw this work in MN on a zero degree day we got 80 degree heat.
    Used an old dryer motor built a couple of solar boxes used old windows and spray paint the whole thing black you can make them out of any wood but thicker is better to allow some mass effect heating. connect as many boxes as you want together using either insulated dryer vent or large diameter PVC 4″ minimum. Pick up a cheap thermostat and set it in the box. We pumped this through a garage but it would work better directly in the house. Put the blower in the house when the tstat hits your desired temp you pull the warm air from your solar boxes and you get free heat as long as the sun is out. Make sure you put a way in your heat distributor to insure heat won’t flow backward through the system. Using spare parts and stuff you find this could be built for less than $100.00

  2. Kaye

    We are working on a quest container-home and are wondering about insulation and condensation? We live in Michigan where it’s often just 10 degrees – 30 degrees in winter and significant moisture too. We don’t know about using batted insulation (inside) and with a vapor barrier (Plastic) facing inside after installing the batted insulation or leaving the paperface toward the inside and then plywood/drywall, whatever we decide to use. Also have considered spray foam and didn’t know if that should be inside or externally on the unit. Externally will NOT be pretty to finish off but. . . what are the choices here?

  3. Ole Andersen

    Hi, interesting. But i think the most important thing one can do regarding keeping livingspace warm is isolation ect. What should you expect to do regarding siding/isolation if you live in a colder climate like Canada or Scandinavia. Is it possible/reasonable at all?

    • Tom

      Hi Ole,

      Absolutely, insulation is an absolute must in areas like this, you could either use kingspan insulated panels or rockwool insulation sheets; I have also seen foam insulation that you can spray on to your walls.

      Keep your eyes open because we will be releasing a blog post on this shortly!