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Air curtains are devices that utilize high speed fans to form an air barrier in the doorways of commercial buildings. The resulting high velocity air barrier separates the indoor from the outdoor environment, without limiting people’s access and allowing the reduction of heating and cooling costs by about 80%.
Additionally, air curtains protect the indoor environment the from infiltration of dust particles or other airborne contaminants as well as from the entrance of various insects and pests.
When properly dimensioned and installed, air curtains have proven to be extremely effective offering a wide range of benefits. Overall, the advantages can be grouped into four main categories:

Energy saving

The installation of air curtains in large doorways that are frequently open can have a significant impact on the energy consumption of the building. Their impact becomes more apparent during periods of the year where there is a big temperature difference between the indoor and the outdoor environment. When outdoor air infiltrates into the indoor environment it affects the temperature and the humidity of the indoor air and consequently increases the load that the HVAC system has to overcome in order to achieve the desired comfort conditions. By preventing the infiltration of outdoor air, air curtains allow the HVAC system to consume less energy and as a result reduce the carbon footprint of the building and the running cost of the system. As the impact of air infiltration is taken into consideration by most heating and cooling load methodologies, by considering the installation of air curtains at the design stage of a project can reduce the capacity of the designed HVAC system.

Safety improvement

  • It helps to increase visibility and avoidance of collisions as there will not be a physical obstruction
  • It reduces misting in a cold room, dries out doorways, and prevents forming of ice on floors
  • It helps ease the evacuation via the exit door in emergency cases
  • It can be a barrier to fire smoke

A healthy and hygienic atmosphere

  • It leads to better maintenance of the environment
  • Reduces the rate of employee absenteeism
  • It helps to control insects and pests
  • Serves as a blockade against airborne dust, fumes, pollution, and foul odours

Commercial profitability

  • Open doors send a message that business is available to customers
  • It helps to create better visibility of the interior
  • Assists in the control of uncomfortable draughts
  • Improves staff and customer comfort
  • Creates more usable space in the entrance
  • Allows free access for people with special needs
Besides the energy saving benefits, air curtains offer a number of additional advantages. For instance, air curtains allow shop owners to have their doors open which generally can improve the image of a store and potentially attract customers. In addition, air curtains improve air quality by and human comfort by not allowing dust, odors or insects and bugs to enter which can have a significant impact on the health of staff and customers.

Air curtains size and functions

There are different sizes available for air curtains. The location will determine the size of the air curtain. The size of the entrance will select the size of the air curtain you will need to get. The air curtains will help save energy as it reduces consumption; it will also keep bugs out of the space.
  • The air recirculation air curtains
  • The non-air recirculation air curtains

Types of air curtain

There are two major types of air curtains:
The air recirculation air curtains have the most-efficient air systems, as the air is released and taken back through the curtains. However, it is costlier than due to the complexity of the system.
Non-recirculation air curtains have an easy installation and maintenance process. They cost lesser, and they release air into the environment.
Some of the factors that can affect the performance of the curtain, as well as its effectiveness and operation, are:
  • Environmental circumstances
  • Door dimensions
  • Height of installation
These three factors considered and correctly noted for better effectiveness of air curtains.

Do air curtains work?

The answer to this question is an overwhelming YES. Several studies and testimonies back up this response. According to a survey carried out on how air curtains impacted walk-in restaurants – the result showed almost a two-hour reduction in the time in which the refrigerator's compressor functioned. If this is recovered over a long period, several hours are saved in operation time by the refrigerator compressor.

It means that there will automatically be a reduction in money spent on repairs and maintenance. It also leads to more energy savings every year.

Will an air curtain keep bugs out?

An air curtain is designed to keep bugs out. Air curtains deal with these bugs before they get in rather than when they are already in. If you place an air curtain in all the possible entrance that bugs can come in through, there is the assurance that they will never make it inside. The strong air blast produced by air curtains using a narrow pathway helps to keep the bugs out.

Are air curtains noisy?

If your air curtain is functioning correctly, the noise would not be loud when it runs. Correctly working air curtains are only mostly as loud as the volume of a normal conversation. If you use a highly noisy air curtain, there are issues with your air curtain.

How do you install an air curtain?

Installing an air curtain can be stressful when you do it all by yourself. You must get it right as a wrong installation could lead to inefficient performance and a long-term issue.
Here are some tips on how to install an air curtain:
  1. Your air curtain should always be between ½ - 2 inches above the doorway. When your curtain is closer to the door, it increases the effectiveness.
  2. Make sure that the air curtains are close together to improve energy savings and long-term performance.
  3. Don't rush; take your time
  4. Make sure the sizing is right

How do you clean an air curtain?

You should clean your air curtains once within three months at the least to ensure optimal performance and extended shelf life.
To clean your air curtain, make sure you turn the power off at the panel. Ensure that it is permanently off by locking the panel. Take out the air-intake grille to access blower motors and housing. Take out the bottom access panel for heated models to access blower motors and housing—vacuum to remove built-up debris and dirt.