7 Reasons to Use Air Curtains in Your Facility
This article was written in conjunction with our partners at Mars Air
Air curtains are so universal in their application, you could almost justify one over every opening (or entryway) in a commercial facility. Essentially, they are fan-powered machines that blow air downward to create invisible barriers. These could be between the interiors and exteriors of buildings or two adjoining areas in a commercial facility.
As such, air curtains are a superior alternative to traditional doors and vestibules. They prevent the entry of hot and cold air, dust, bugs, pollen, and other airborne contaminants but don’t restrict access in any way. This makes them uniquely suited to serve the needs of diverse industries like restaurants, food service, retail, manufacturing, refrigeration, healthcare, etc.
In 2020, the global market size of air curtains was more than $1 billion with a healthy CAGR forecast of 10.6%. The fast-growing industrial sector and increasing awareness of energy efficiency and its environmental impacts are the main driving forces behind this growth. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of using air curtains and their varied applications.
Let’s get started.
1. Air Curtains Keep Bugs Out
In restaurants, food-processing facilities, retail stores, and hospitals, it’s extremely important to maintain a pest-free environment. Flying insects and bugs can be quite a nuisance. Not to mention, they can create a host of health problems arising from bites, food contamination, and other associated issues.
You definitely don’t want your customers at the restaurant or retail store to see a flying insect go past as it affects their experience and raises serious concerns about your business’ hygiene standards. But with people going in and out the front door all day, it can be difficult to keep pests out, especially in summer. The problem is even more pronounced at quick-service restaurants or drive-thru windows.
Likewise, bigger warehouses have massive dock doors that are open all day to enable the movement of goods. If these facilities are used for food processing, you can’t afford to have flies or bugs around. Even if they’re used for other purposes, it’s important to keep pests out to ensure the safety and comfort of your staff.
Here’s where air curtains can be really helpful. The high-pressure airflow creates an effective seal at openings or entryways and prevents flying insects from penetrating the curtain. Air curtains are available in a variety of different dimensions to suit doors and windows of different sizes. By using them to keep pests out of your facility, you can provide sanitary conditions for your customers, patients, and staff.
2. Temperature Control
It’s very important for restaurants, retail stores, and warehouses to maintain a comfortable indoor environment — especially if it’s too hot or too cold outside. But with doors opening and closing all day to facilitate the movement of people or goods, this can be quite difficult. Your HVAC system will need to run constantly to keep up with the heating or cooling losses, thus diminishing its life faster while skyrocketing your energy bills.
Air curtains are ideal for regulating temperature and airflow between two adjacent spaces. The high-pressure flow of air creates an efficient yet invisible barrier that prevents the entry of hot or cold air from the outside into an entryway or opening in a building. Thus, they help to preserve the difference in temperature between two areas by keeping the cooler air on one side and warmer air on the other.
This makes them ideal for reducing the workload of your HVAC systems, air conditioners, and heaters while maintaining optimal temperatures inside restaurants, commercial shopping centers, and warehouses — no matter how extreme the weather conditions may be outside. Plus, they can also eliminate the cooling and heating losses that arise from the continuous opening and closing of doors.
Air curtains can also separate areas that need to be maintained at different temperatures. For example, in bigger cold storage facilities, certain areas may need to be maintained at 32°F while others may need to be at -2°F. In walk-in coolers or freezers, air curtains can also prevent the cold air from rushing out whenever doors are opened.
3. Energy Savings
As explained earlier, air curtains reduce the workload of your heater or air conditioner drastically by minimizing the losses associated with the continuous opening and closing of doors at commercial facilities.
They do consume some energy because they operate on electricity. But because they can trap the climatized air inside effectively, they can prevent your energy costs from adding up. In fact, a study conducted at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid or UPM, Spain) revealed that air curtains could create more than 30% energy savings in retail stores having a high flow of pedestrian traffic.
Air curtains deliver net savings on energy by preventing heat transfer between the two spaces that they separate. Researchers at Ghent University, Belgium found that air curtains can decrease the exchange of heat across an entryway by 20%.
Air curtains also reduce the strain on your HVAC systems by preventing the frequent switching on and off of its blowers or air handlers. This prolongs their lifespan by limiting wear and tear.
Besides, it’s proven that regular cleaning and maintenance of air curtains can reduce repair and replacement costs. This further implies that air curtains are well in line with the demands of a carbon-neutral and sustainable future.
4. Superior Customer Experience
Keeping your customers happy is crucial to the success of your business. And one way to do that is to make sure they’re comfortable at your restaurant or retail establishment.
Air curtains can ensure their comfort by helping maintain an optimal indoor temperature while minimizing any loss of climatized air. Also, by keeping any flying insects, pests, and particulate matter out, they can help you maintain highly sanitary conditions. This is especially important for high-end luxury stores, fine-dining restaurants, and health facilities. Establishments with both indoor and outdoor facilities, like restaurants with patio dining, can also use air curtains to prevent outdoor temperatures and particles from infiltrating indoor spaces.
Humidity can also affect the comfort levels of your customers significantly. Air curtains ensure that the untreated humid air from outside doesn’t enter the climatized space.
As such, keeping the doors of your restaurant or store closed may be quite inconvenient for customers — especially for those in wheelchairs or carrying trolleys, baby strollers, or umbrellas. Air curtains allow you to leave your doors open providing easy access to customers while keeping the indoor environment comfortable and hygienic.
Plus, it’s widely known that open doors are an inviting gesture that allows customers to see inside. This improves the customer experience and increases the inflow of traffic substantially, helping you ring in more sales.
5. Superior Employee Experience
OSHA recommends that temperatures in work environments should be maintained between 68°F and 76°F. Besides other things, an uncomfortable environment can also affect employee productivity.
Air curtains can help you provide optimal working conditions for your staff and ensure their comfort. This, in turn, has been known to reduce complaints, turnover, and absenteeism. A healthy work environment fosters a greater commitment to work and improved customer service.
Apart from these benefits, you can also use air curtains to keep out pungent smells or odors that could make your staff uncomfortable. This is especially important if your building or facility is located in an industrial area or near a chemical plant.
6. Smoke, Fumes, and Particulate Control
Smoke and fumes can cause severe discomfort, allergies, and long-term respiratory issues among your staff and customers. By using an air curtain, you can bar them from entering your facility.
This can be especially useful in restaurants where space is limited. By installing an air curtain at the entryway to the kitchen, you can prevent kitchen fumes and odors from reaching your customers. And air curtains at drive-thru windows can keep the fumes from cars out and prevent them from entering the kitchen.
Air curtains can also be used at industrial facilities to contain smoke and fumes and prevent them from filling the entire building. Or if you need to protect spaces in your manufacturing or processing facility that need to be kept at cleanroom standards, you can use air curtains as an internal separation to keep contaminants out.
In cold room entryways, air curtains can prevent misting, thus minimizing the creation of slippery or icy surfaces that could put employees at risk.
Also, certain areas in auto body shops (where painting or detailing takes place) need to be completely dust- and particulate-free. By preventing the transfer of airborne dust particles into these areas, air curtains can help maintain the highest quality of work.
7. Health, Hygiene, and Safety
One of the main requisites of healthcare facilities is to ensure a safe and hygienic indoor environment for patients. Air curtains can protect these spaces from outside contamination. They effectively prevent airborne bacteria and viruses from entering critical areas like surgical wards and intensive care units.
In educational institutions, they help to create a healthy environment free of fumes, bad odors, pollens, and particulates to prevent allergies and respiratory illnesses among students.
If a fire breaks out at a commercial facility, an air curtain can prevent the smoke from entering, reducing the chances of asphyxiation and allowing customers and staff to quickly evacuate through the wide-open doors. It also increases visibility and reduces the chances of collisions due to panic.
An air curtain is one of the most effective and energy-efficient solutions for maintaining a safe, hygienic, and comfortable indoor environment. It’s a highly versatile product that provides far-reaching benefits. It requires very little maintenance and also extends the lifespan of your HVAC system.
However, all air curtains aren’t created equal; there are several important factors to consider before you make your choice. Contact your LONG representative to find the best air curtain for you.
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Joslyn is the digital marketing coordinator for LONG. She loves to hike and play volleyball when the weather is warm and spends her free time reading, watching movies, and playing video and board games.