How Do Air Curtains Work?

An air curtain is widely known in the market also as an air door. The main purpose of an air curtain is to act like an invisible door. This particular machine or curtain is designed to blow a controlled air stream to another side of an opening, on which it is placed. The main purpose of this curtain is to help create an air seal.

Air curtains are used a lot in shopping malls and other places that receive a lot of footfall. A seamless separation of the two environments without affecting the movement of people and goods can be achieved with the help of air curtains.

An air curtain can be used to contain either conditioned or heated air. This helps the store cut down their energy consumption and also enhances the comfort of all the employees and people coming to the store. Air curtains or doors are used extensively for commercial and industrial purposes.

Air curtains also help keep all the dust, debris, pollutants, insects, and other infiltrates away, thereby ensuring a safe and comfortable atmosphere for the people inside.

An air curtain
An air curtain

Why should you use an air curtain?

An air curtain offers a whole host of benefits, making it one of the inevitable machines to install at places that have heavy footfall. Let us give you some of the main reasons why you should consider installing an air curtain.

  • By controlling air transfer and creating an air seal, air curtains help cut down the energy costs.
  • Air curtains help cut down the running time of high energy-consuming machines like compressors.
  • Improved air circulation helps provide a safe environment for the people inside.
  • By restricting the entry of insects, dust, debris, and other irritant pollutants, air curtains help improve employee and customer comfort.
  • The unobstructed flow of traffic and visibility.
  • Helps maintain a stable temperature.
  • Make use of the space near the door for advertising and other marketing purposes.
  • Air curtains also help eliminate the formation of ice and fog, in all the cold storage sections of the property.

What is an air curtain?

Now that we have discussed the working of an air conditioner, let us talk about an air curtain. An air curtain is also one of the key devices that are used alongside AC units in large commercial buildings and heavy footfall locations, to regulate temperature and provide a comfortable environment inside the building.

The function of air curtain

An air curtain is a machine that is used in commercial establishments to create an invisible barrier between two environments. The main function of an air curtain is to provide the following:

  • Air curtains create barrier-free invisible protection and separation of the outdoor and indoor air. This helps cut down the utility bill considerably.
  • An air curtain acts like an air door preventing the entry of insects, dust, fumes, dirt, etc. from entering the designated area.
  • Air curtain is also designed to reduce the workload of your HVAC system, improve the lifespan of the system, and also reduce service & maintenance costs.
  • Air curtain helps keep the store much cooler and more comfortable for all the shoppers and workers.
  • The air curtain cuts down the odor from entering inside.
  • Any external condition that could cause a change to the interior temperature and create an uncomfortable environment for the occupants inside would be blocked by the air curtain.

Types of air curtains

The two types of air curtains are recirculating and non-recirculating. The non-recirculating type of air curtain is the most commonly used of the two. Air curtains are classified under these two types according to space intention and application.

  • Non-recirculating – This is the commonly used type of air curtain because it is affordable, easy to install, and also has low maintenance costs. A non-recirculating type of air curtain can be mounted either horizontally or vertically depending on space availability.
  • Recirculating – This type of air curtains can be commonly found in places that attract a lot of foot traffic, like in malls, shopping centers, convention centers, supermarkets, etc. This type of air curtain is installed horizontally at the top of the entrance.

What activates an air curtain?

An air curtain can be controlled in multiple ways and this varies the functioning and how the system gets activated. A switch can be installed in a remote location to control the fan speed and output of the air curtain. A remote control switch is perfect for activating and controlling the functioning of the air curtain in heavy traffic regions i.e. in locations where the door is always going to stay open.

For other environments, either an automatic activation system or thermostatic controls can be used to activate an air curtain. Door switches are the best automatic activation system used in several stores. The air curtain is considered to be one of the crucial components of building maintenance systems.

Where to install the air curtain?

Air curtains are designed to provide invisible barrier-free protection between two environments, outside and inside the premises. This naturally means the most preferred place to install an air curtain is the main doors.

Air curtains serve their purpose only when they are installed at main doors, dock doors, receiving doors, or any other entryway of the commercial building or establishment that receives a lot of foot traffic or equipment movement.

You could also find air curtains installed in a drive-thru, pass-through doors & windows, walk-in cooler entryway, concession stand openings, cleanroom settings, and also manufacturing center separations. There are other customized places too for installing an air curtain, places like a butterfly aviary.

If you are still having doubts about whether an air curtain should be installed inside or outside. Well! It should not be installed inside or outside because it actually acts as an invisible barrier, so naturally, it acts as the differentiator between the inside and outside environment.

Do they keep cold air outside?

Air curtains are not air conditioners and vice versa. They can be used to keep cold air inside or outside, depending on the temperature set by the controller. An air curtain is essentially a temperature controller, helping in maintaining a set interior temperature.

Air curtains can be used for keeping cool air inside the room and warm air outside the room (when the door is open), and vice versa. Air curtains are commonly referred to as invisible barriers or doors because of this reason only.

In short, air curtains help keep either cold air or heated air inside the room, according to the requirement of the user. When used in a commercial setting, it helps cut down utility bills and improve the energy efficiency and life of the air conditioning unit.

Do air curtains keep AC in?

YES! Air curtains are designed to keep AC in. It acts as a temperature regulator helping the commercial building from keeping AC cool air or heated air inside the room or outside. Air curtains act as temperature and energy barriers, helping regulate them.

Does the air curtain keep flies out?

YES! They help in keeping flies, dust, dirt, and other temperature-affecting agents from getting inside the room. They help keep insects and flies away from the room, thereby providing a comfortable space for the people inside the commercial building.

Air curtains effectively keep flies out and are high performers at that. All kinds of dust, flying pests, dust, debris, flies, insects, and other negatively impacting contaminants are prevented from entering the room, thereby protecting the room. This helps maintain optimum performance and energy consumption too.

Charles John

Experienced HVAC technician with 8 years of experience in the industry. Capable of handling all sorts of heating and cooling equipment as well as proficient in operational management, construction-related techniques such as preventative maintenance, electrical troubleshooting and AutoCAD

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