I am investigating container homes. Something about the modularity appeals to me.

Regardless, I am thinking about one of the challenges that they face is to get adequate air flow without cutting holes in the container (and compromising the structure).

In most buildings, I have seen them use quite large ducting to provide the necessary cubic feet per minute/CFM.

My question is: why not use high pressure air lines (e.g. like the kind that are used to run pneumatic tools) to provide incoming air and vacuum lines to remove outgoing air?

It would appear to me to be a way to provide air circulation without having to have large ducting.

  • 2
    Because air compressors are noisy. So is the compressed air as it's released.
    – brhans
    Aug 16, 2020 at 5:22
  • Where will you get a vacuum? That is difficult.. if you just mean a local pressure just below atmospheric then that is easier.
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 16, 2020 at 5:52
  • if you're using a compressor to create pressure, the compressor would be pulling the air from somewhere so that could create vacuum as well.
    – xirt
    Aug 16, 2020 at 16:24

1 Answer 1


Creating compressed air is expensive If you consider most air handlers are pushing over 100 cubic feet of air a minute (many in the 200-300 rang). An air compressor 5 horse power will have a rating of 10-15 scfm at the working pressure so you would need a huge compressor just to move the air that would be expensive. Compared to the fractional HP motor on the air handler.

The best way to heat and cool this type of space in my opinion would be with a mini split. A 2-1/2” hole is all that is needed for that size space (each container) for heating and air conditioning the hole is for the electrical control from the main unit, a drain line and the high and low pressure lines that carry the “Freon”. No duct work just those lines.

You can use conventional ducted methods and all that space is lost but mini splits are very efficient and the inside units are small only about 32” to 48” long about 12” wide and protrude From the wall about 8-10”. Depending on the number of containers and layout you could have a large outside unit with multiple inside units or several small outside units connecting to the inside units.

But we don’t use compressed air because of the cost it could be done but no one would be able to afford to.

  • One of the problems with container homes is moisture and odors, so simple recirculating air either through a freon or chilled water unit might not be appropriate though they would provide dehumidification. I guess it comes down to friction losses in the air lines. Larger ducting results in lower friction losses?
    – xirt
    Aug 16, 2020 at 16:22
  • My office is a 40’ unit , I have not had any problems but there are no things like bedding and couches, just work benches and test beds for repairing equipment. The dehumidification effect and capabilities of a split may be the reason I don’t have moisture issues.
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 16, 2020 at 17:22
  • From what I have read, I think the moisture issue depends a lot on the environment e.g. is it cooler than the outside environment (moisture could condense on the outside of the container if below the dew point)? or is it warmer than the outside environment (e.g. if there was snow outside) which could cause moisture to condense in the inside. I'm in New York where it is hot in summer and cold in winter, so tricky.
    – xirt
    Aug 17, 2020 at 3:59
  • Yes moisture will condense at the extremes in your area, but insulation can stop that very effectively. I don’t have any insulation in my unit but do keep it heated. There is another one on top of mine and one to a side. Taking some of the wall out on the one next to me 20’ and a 20’ connected to it with its wall cut out is our machine shop. So some sections of walls can be removed FYI.
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 17, 2020 at 5:37

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