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Air Door Distributors -

Berner Air Curtains vs. Mars Airs Curtains

As companies, retail businesses, and even individual homeowners continue to search for ways to both purify their indoor air and improve the energy efficiency and thermal performance of their buildings, the air curtain industry is well-posed for long-term economic growth. One recent market analysis found that the global air curtain market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGRI of 4.5 percent over the forecast period of 2018-2024. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic put a renewed focus on the importance of purified air and improved indoor air quality, the appeal of air curtains and air doors was widespread. 

Proper installation of an air curtain has been proven to reduce the operational costs of a building via lowering the energy losses from the conditioned space. This subsequently results in lower CO2 emissions and a lower carbon footprint associated with the heating and cooling of indoor spaces. Air curtains or air doors can also play a major role in maintaining a comfortable interior environment for employees, customers, and others, while simultaneously helping to control pests and insects inside the buildings. With the adoption of UV and other air purifying technologies, air curtains can also play a major role in reducing the dangers from airborne contaminants, including pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. 

For all these reasons and more, air curtains and air doors will most certainly continue to grow in popularity, especially now that the recently released ASHRAE building standards allow for air curtains to replace the more costly vestibules for business entrances. 

Two of the leading companies in the air curtain industry are Mars Air and Berner Air Curtains. Both of these companies have proven track records in the industry and have developed an impressive portfolio of diversified air curtain products directed towards different industries and uses. Air Door Distributors is proud to sell a huge variety of air curtain and air door products from both Mars Air and Berner Air Curtains. This short article will briefly look at the history of both of these companies before looking at some of the highlights of these leading air curtain manufacturers. 

A Bit of History on the Two Companies

Though the first patent for an air curtain was given in the year 1904 to an inventor by the name of Theophilus Van Kannel, it wasn’t until the 1960s when air curtain technology truly began to take off in the United States. The Dyfoam Corporation based out the United Kingdom was one of the pioneers in popularizing this technology in Europe. The Miniveil Corporation, which later became Berner International, brought the Dyfoam air curtain technology to the United States, with the first air curtains being manufactured by Berner International in 1960.  

Two years after the first air curtain was manufactured by Berner in the United States, Mars Air began making and selling their own products that they called air doors in order to distinguish the product from others on the market. According to Zoom Info, Mars Air System which is based out of Gardenia, California has an annual revenue of $10 million. Berner International, which is based out of New Castle, Pennsylvania, has an annual revenue of $22 million.  Both Mars Air Systems and Berner International are the leading companies in the air curtain industry. 

Product Portfolios of Berner International and Mars Air Systems

One of the main advantages of these companies is that both of them have an impressive product portfolio, designing customized air curtains and air doors for different industries and purposes. Mars Air Systems offers the following line of products: 

  • LPV2 Lo-Pro 2 Series: These low-profile air curtains offer a low-noise line with variable speed control. They are ideal for customer-facing commercial installations.
  • STD2 Standard 2 Series: These air curtains offer a unique commercial and industrial hybrid application and comes with a powerful ½ horsepower power motor. 
  • PH Phantom Series: These air curtains are perfect when you need the device to blend in with the building’s aesthetics and when recess-mounting and unit concealment are preferred without any sacrifice to performance.
  • QP Quiet Pro Series: These products claim to have half the perceived noise output of traditional air curtains due to their unique internal dampening design and anti-vibration technology.
  • CA Clean Air Series: These air purifying products can collect and kill airborne particles and pathogens by using a True HEPA filter, MERV 7-8 rated pleated pre-filters, and a plasma generator and UVC bulbs with germicidal capabilities. 
  • HV2 High Velocity Series: These air doors are strong enough for industrial applications with a 1 HP motor. For even more power, their EP2 Extra Power Series comes with a 3 HP motor for industrial and warehouse settings. 
  • Wind Stopping Series: Mars Air also has a unique line of wind stopping systems that can be used in areas where strong gusts of wind are common. 

Similarly, Berner International has a diverse line of air curtain products that are designed for different uses and applications. 

  • Architectural: Their line of architectural curtains combine aesthetics and the customer experience of the indoor space, and are designed to either enhance or replace a vestibule for further energy savings. 
  • Commercial: Their line of commercial air curtain products are intended to meet the functional needs of the space while integrating with the door or window opening. 
  • Sanitation Certified: These air curtains are excellent options for restaurants and kitchen designers who need to meet food service standards and/or health department requirements for flying insect control. 
  • Industrial: The company´s line of powerful industrial air curtains are offered in both belt-drive and direct-drive models and are great options for manufacturing plants, distribution centers and warehouses to keep temperatures stable and flying insects out when the doors are open.
  • Hazardous Location: Berner International also manufactures air curtains for industries that operate in potentially hazardous locations, including manufacturing plants, CNG bus garages and pharmaceutical plants. 
  • Drive-Thru: The company also has a line of compact air curtains designed for drive-thru windows that will keep employees working the window comfortable during all kinds of weather, and safe from carbon monoxide fumes and flying insects.

Both Berner International and Mars Air Systems have high-quality air curtain solutions that can be adapted to virtually every need. You can see Air Door Distributor´s complete list of Mars Air products here, and our list of Berner air doors here. Contact us today +1 (866) 672-8874 for help determining which of these companies has the best product for your particular needs.

How Air Curtains Can Help You Meet Energy Code Requirements

Though it might seem like just another cumbersome type of legislation, energy codes set forth by your local or state government are put in place to help business owners and homeowners save money while also reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with building energy usage. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the combination of residential and commercial buildings accounted for approximately 40 percent of all energy consumed in the country. Of that energy use, around 25 percent is used for heating in commercial buildings, and an estimated 48 percent of energy in residential spaces goes towards space heating and cooling. 

Given those statistics, finding strategies to reduce heating and cooling loads for both residential and commercial loads is an essential part of helping the country meet its climate targets, decrease stress on the electricity grid, and facilitate the transition to renewable and “clean” energy sources. As sustainable and energy-efficient building techniques become ever more advanced, energy codes are continually being updated to help builders, homeowners, and other building owners implement the best energy-saving techniques and technologies to lower their overall energy use. 

In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy´s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office estimates that model energy codes that represent the most energy-efficient building practices and technologies for residential and commercial buildings could potentially save (cumulative 2010-2040):

  • $126 billion energy cost savings
  • 841 million metric tons of avoided carbon dioxide emissions
  • 12.82 quads of primary energy

To give you an idea of how much energy these codes could potentially save, these savings are similar to the annual emissions of 177 million passenger vehicles, 245 coal power plants, or over 89 million homes. 

What do Energy Code Requirements Regulate?

Firstly, it is important to differentiate between energy codes and standards. Energy codes are most often regulated on either a local/municipal or state level. These codes might slightly differ depending on local climate and other contextual situations. A commercial business building in Florida, for example, will not require the same amount of insulation as an office building in Minnesota. Despite the fact that the United States does not have a nationally-mandated energy code for buildings, they do espouse several different energy standards for both commercial and residential buildings in an effort to push the building industry towards more energy-efficient practices. The most commonly referenced model energy codes are the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for residential buildings and ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 for commercial buildings (42 USC 6833). 

Both energy codes and standards are put in place in order to set minimum efficiency requirements for new and renovated buildings. This can help to guarantee a minimum of energy use and emissions reductions over the lifespan of the building. These code and standards establish baseline requirements for diverse areas of construction, including wall and ceiling insulation, window and door specifications, HVAC equipment efficiency, lighting fixtures, and more. 

By bringing both residential and commercial buildings into compliance with energy codes, we can reduce power demand, lessen dependence on foreign fossil fuel reserves, mitigate the environmental impact of the energy sector, and also put money back into the pockets of homeowners and business owners. For both commercial and residential buildings, you can check this map provided by the U.S. Department of Energy to determine the status of your state energy code adoption. 

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How Air Curtains or Air Door Influence the Energy Efficiency of a Building 

Whether you have a drafty and under-insulated home or manage a 75,000 square foot commercial building, one strategy to increase the energy efficiency of your home and come into compliance with your local building code is to install an air curtain or air door. Air curtains work by creating an invisible sheet of air that bends and resists thermal exchange over an opening using the building’s internal pressure.  

In the case of businesses that either leave their front doors open to encourage customers passing by to enter or warehouses that operate loading docks where doors remain open for long periods of time, an air curtain can play an extremely important role in lowering the heating and cooling load of a building and thus improving comfort levels inside for both employees and customers. 

Every time a door is opened, a heat exchange occurs with the outside environment. In the colder winter months, the warm air inside your building escapes to the outside, while during the summertime, the cooler conditioned air of your building interior is negatively affected by the hotter outside temperature. In both cases, the warm air rises and passes through the open doors while the cooler air replaces that air at a lower level. As heat exchange occurs, both your heating system and cooling system (depending on the season) will have to work harder and harder to replace the conditioned air. This not only pushes up your monthly energy bills but also drastically increases the carbon footprint of your home or business. 

The solid stream of air provided by an air curtain or air door can help to reduce this heat transfer and energy loss. In fact, one recent study carried out in the cold climate of Finland determined that the best air curtains on the market, such as those provided by Air Door Distributors, have the ability to reduce air leakage through doorways by up to 86 percent. 

Recently, the energy savings provided by air curtains have also been recognized by the leading energy code standards for commercial buildings. In 2019, The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) published a new building standard that will help save energy, construction costs, and space in commercial facilities. The standard allowed for doorway air curtains as an energy-efficient, less-expensive, and space-saving alternative to vestibules on most commercial building entries.

If you are either in the process of building a new commercial building or are undergoing any sort of major renovations or energy-efficient retrofit, air curtains are a simple and effective strategy to lower your energy bills and help your business meet energy code requirements. 

At Air Door Distributors we have 20+ years of experience helping businesses find a solution that will help them save energy and meet strict energy codes and regulations. If you have any questions related to air curtains, we would be happy to answer them. You can reach out to us directly at +1 (866) 402-1642 or fill out our online contact form.

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Protect Your Customers from the Cold with Heated Air Curtains

protect your business and customers with air curtains

With winter just around the corner, many business owners are fretting the high heating bills that inevitably add to the seemingly endless list of ever-growing business expenses. In fact, a recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) found that “about 40% of energy costs for the average commercial building are spent on heating, cooling and ventilation. This equates to about 7.5% of total costs for the average office building, since 19% of total costs are energy costs.” As a total, small businesses spend over $60 billion every year in energy costs, almost half of that devoted to running the HVAC equipment required to keep inside temperatures agreeable for both employees and customers. 

Despite this enormous expenditure by businesses owners, many customers find that the businesses they frequent are either too cold or too hot for their liking. A 2008 survey reported by The Washington Post found that almost nine out of ten consumers (88 percent) considered that at least some retail establishments were too cold inside, while 76 percent said they regularly bring extra layers of clothing with them to movies and restaurants.

As any small business owner knows, an unhappy customer is much less likely to convert into a sale. In the specific case of the interior temperature level of your brick and mortar business, when a customer feels unpleasantly cold or hot, they will most likely spend less time physically present in your business. And of course, the less amount of time that a customer spends in your store, the lower the probability of converting them into a sale. 

Unpleasantly cold business interiors can also cause problems for office environments. One recent study published by the Association for Psychological Science found that productivity levels of workers significantly drops when office interiors are too cold. The study states that “raising the temperature to a more comfortable thermal zone saves employers about $2 per worker, per hour” and could help businesses save up to 12.5 percent of their wage costs per worker simply by raising the temperature a few degrees.

To keep your employees productive and your customers happy, is cranking up the furnace to ensure during the coming cold winter months your only alternative? Improving the insulation in your building, properly sealing the building envelope, and upgrading to a more energy-efficient central furnace are a few long-term solutions to this problem. However, these “fixes” are certainly not cheap, and might not feasible in the case of business owners who do not own their building. 

Installing air curtains or air doors at your main entrance way is another simple, practical, and affordable solution that can help keep your customers and clients protected from the cold while also significantly lowering your winter heating bills. 

What is an Air Curtain?

An air curtain is a fan-powered device that is generally placed over the main entrance doors of businesses. This fan creates an invisible air barrier over the doorway that can efficiently and effectively separate the two different environments. Unlike doors or vestibules, an air curtain does not limit the access of the people or vehicles while still providing a thermal barrier for your business. Air curtains are thus one of the preferred technologies for businesses that need to maintain open doors, such as warehouses with loading docks or retail stores wanting to lure customers into their business interior. 

The best air curtains, such as those sold by Air Door Distributors, come in a variety of sizes and designs. Some air curtain models can be effectively hidden from sight through a recessed design into the ceiling of your business. Others are designed to be virtually silent so that they do not distract customers or employees. 

How can Air Curtains Protect your Customers from the Cold?

The solid stream of air that is forced over the open doorway drastically improves the energy efficiency and thermal performance of a building. Even if your business does not leave its doors open throughout the day, every time a customer opens the door to enter or exit your building, the heated interior air rushes out and is replaced by the colder, exterior air. This influx of cold air causes your central furnace to work harder in order to maintain a pleasantly warm interior temperature. In some cases, the protective barrier provided by an air curtain can reduce business heating and cooling costs by up to 80 percent while ensuring a stable and constant interior temperature that will be comfortable for your customers and employees. 

In the past, many businesses have opted to build separate vestibules to protect interior business temperatures. While a well-designed vestibule can certainly protect from frigid outdoor temperatures, vestibules take up valuable interior square footage and often come with a high price tag. A study comparing the thermal protection provided by air curtains and vestibules found that “the air curtain door can save 0.3% ~ 2.2% energy for zone 3 ~ 8, corresponding to 1146 kWh ~ 18986 kWh. Better performance will be achieved for colder climate.” 

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Other Benefits of Air Curtains

Installing an air curtain over the main entrance doors of your business will not only keep your customers comfortable and drastically reduce your monthly energy bills, but can also improve your indoor air quality. The forced stream of air over the doorway that leads into your business will also protect your business interior from flying insects, exhaust fumes and other odors from nearby streets, dust, pollution, and other air contaminants. 

Some leading air curtain models also offer the ability to keep your customers and employees protected from strains of virus such as COVID-19. For example, the Mars UVC Sanitizing Air Curtain relies on ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), which is a disinfection method that uses short-wavelength ultraviolet (ultraviolet C or UVC) light to kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA.  

With winter already upon us, now is the time to install an air curtain for your business!

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Using Air Curtains as a Replacement for Vestibules

air curtain as vestibule replacement

The primary entrance to any business or commercial property is the first opportunity to make a positive impression on your customers and visitors. Attractive landscaping, innovative signage and branding, and neat building facades can all help to entice the interest of patrons entering your business. However, the actual entry point into your business acts as the first opportunity to help convert the curious shopper into a sale. 

Many businesses have long relied on vestibules as the primary point of entry into their building. A vestibule acts as a small foyer leading into the main space such as a lobby. When designed correctly, a vestibule can improve the energy efficiency of a building by reducing heat loss, which is one of the reasons that many building codes have required a vestibule for commercial construction. However, there are also a number of drawbacks to using vestibules as part of the design of your business entranceways. Below, we examine a few of the disadvantages associated with vestibules and explain why air curtains can act as an effective and beneficial replacement for the more common vestibule. 

Air Curtains are a Better Use of Available Square Footage

For most small and medium-sized businesses, figuring out how much retail space you need is an essential first step in designing your business. Smaller retail spaces might lead to cluttered and disorderly interiors that can have a negative effect on your customers purchasing habits. Obviously, the larger the retail space you require, the more you can expect to pay on renting, leasing, or purchasing a commercial property. 

According to the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), “in cities across the U.S., rising commercial rents are threatening the viability of local, independently-owned businesses. Mom and pop shops are being priced out by national chains. Residential developers in search of a large-scale housing opportunity are pressuring the industry to relocate.” 

In urban areas around the country, retail lease rates are on the rise, increasing by anywhere from 16 to 22 percent. Given the steeper rental and leasing rates, many businesses are opting for smaller retail spaces to reduce their operating costs. Unfortunately, large vestibules can often take up important square footage of smaller retail spaces, limiting the amount of useful and valuable interior space for a business to operate. 

Many innovative business owners are finding ways to repurpose the significant square footage of entranceway vestibules for more productive uses. Using an air curtain on the main entranceway of a business can allow a business to retrofit existing vestibules in order to drastically increase the square footage for their business without sacrificing the comfort of your customers. 

Furthermore, air curtains are significantly less expensive to install than a vestibule. Full-sized vestibules will most likely cost your business anywhere between $20,000 and $60,000. An effective and high-performance air curtain, on the other hand, will most likely cost well under $10,000 including installation. Air Door Distributors offers a huge variety of the most energy-efficient and practical air curtains on the market. 

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Increased Energy Efficiency

The use of an air curtain instead of a more traditional vestibule can also actually improve the energy efficiency and thermal performance of your business. Energy bills are often a major expense for small and medium-sized business owners. Every time a customer opens the door to walk into your business, a part of that expensively conditioned interior air is lost to the outside environment. This is why building codes have traditionally required vestibules on the main entranceways of commercial properties. 

However, recent studies have shown that air curtains or air doors are actually more efficient at reducing unwanted heat loss or heat gain in commercial properties. The Air Movement and Control Association International, Inc. found that medium-sized office buildings could expect to see an average annual energy savings of between 1,146 kWh and 18,986 kWh by switching to an air curtain instead of a more traditional vestibule. 

Air curtains work by forcing a controlled stream of air that is directed across the full width and height of an opening, generally the main entranceway to a business. This stream of air effectively creates an energy-saving air seal that divides the conditioned interior environment from the unconditioned outside climate.

Not only do air doors lead to sizeable energy savings, but they can also be designed to work almost silently. The unhindered flow of foot traffic into the main entranceway of your business is an additional benefit for both offices and commercial properties. At the same time, maintaining open doors allows casual customers and “window shoppers” to see what your business offers while improving the energy efficiency of your building. 

What do Building Codes Say?

In the past, commercial buildings were required by government-mandated building codes to install vestibules on primary entrance doors leading to and from spaces greater than or equal to 3,000 square feet (298 m2). However, just last year, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) updated their energy code standards to allow air curtains as a replacement an alternative for vestibules. 

According to one leading industry website “doorway air curtains were approved June 25 as alternatives to vestibules on most commercial building entries in the upcoming ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2019, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low Rise Residential Buildings. The professional association’s approved addition requires that the air curtain performance be tested in accordance with ANSI/AMCA Standard 220 to ensure it provides a minimum of 400-ft/min. airstream velocity at the floor.” 

This new ASHRAE standard allows businesses of all sizes to incorporate air curtain technology as a way to save on energy expenses while also avoiding the often-prohibitive costs of building a separate vestibule entrance. At the same time, air curtains can also play an important role in protecting the health of customers and employees during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Air curtain technology can protect business interiors from outdoor air, exhaust fumes, flying insects, wind and dust, and other common air contaminants. Furthermore, the best air curtains today are implementing needlepoint bipolar ionization (NPBI) technology, which can be effective at neutralizing bacteria and viruses.

contact air door distributors to find a air curtain that suits your needs

How to Hide an Air Curtain

how to hide an air curtain

What if you could drastically reduce your business energy bills, improve the comfort of your employees and patrons, and protect people inside your building from outside contaminants with a device that is almost completely hidden from sight? Business owners and managers understand that a comfortable and pleasing interior atmosphere is absolutely necessary to keep customers happy. If the inside of a business is too hot or cold, too noisy, or contaminated with dust, insects, or other airborne contaminants, many people will think twice before returning to that store in the future. 

For that reason, hundreds of thousands of business owners across the country have invested enormous sums of money in installing large, expensive, and space-consuming vestibules at the front entrance of their businesses. While vestibules can certainly help save on heat transfer that leads to rising energy bills, they are not a practical alternative for businesses with a limited amount of square footage. 

Just last year, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) updated their energy code standards to allow air curtains as a replacement an alternative for vestibules. Despite the fact that businesses across the country can now avoid the expensive cost of vestibule construction, some people continue to be worried about the appearance of air curtains at the entranceway of their business. Fortunately, the leading air curtain manufacturers and distributors have come up with resourceful and effective ways to almost completely conceal air curtains and air doors. 

Benefits of an Air Curtain for Your Business

A recent study published by the Air Movement and Control Association International (AMCA) found that “compared to the vestibule door, the air curtain door can save 0.3% ~ 2.2% energy for zone 3 ~ 8, corresponding to 1146 kWh ~ 18986 kWh. Better performance will be achieved for colder climate.” Furthermore, a study in Europe determined that high-efficiency air curtains lead to 30% energy savings for small and medium-sized businesses, with businesses in larger buildings expecting to see even further energy savings. 

Air curtains or air doors work by creating a stream of forced air in a downward direction over a doorway or other entry point to a building. The forced air creates an invisible barrier that essentially separates the conditioned interior air of the building from the unconditioned outside environment. This invisible “curtain” helps to control temperatures by preventing hot or cold air from entering a doorway or building at an opening. 

Besides reducing heating and cooling bills, other benefits associated with air curtains include: 

  • Protection from flying insects: The invisible barrier created by an air curtain stops flying insects such as mosquitoes from entering your business every time the door is opened. 
  • Improved Indoor Air Quality: Air curtains also stop outdoor contaminants from entering the interior of your business. This is especially important for businesses located near roads where exhaust fumes could be a potential source of contamination. Air curtains connected to HEPA air filters, or those that include Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), have also been proven to help to protect people inside the walls of your store from virus strains such as tuberculosis, Listeria, Salmonella, MRSA, as well as SARS-COV (2003) which is similar to COVID-19. 

Despite these obvious benefits associated with air curtains, many business owners hesitate to install these energy-saving and air-purifying solutions because they assume that air curtains are large, bulky, and noisy contraptions that might be a deterrence to potential customers. However, the best air door distributors offers several leading products that can be almost completely concealed from sight. Today, business owners can choose to either hide an air curtain in the ceiling or even above the ceiling for a discreet, energy-saving solution. 

How to Hide an Air Curtain in the Ceiling

The first way that business owners can choose to hide or conceal an air curtain is through mounting it flush with the surface of the ceiling. This in-ceiling mounting technique, also known as recessed mounting, allows for much lower installation costs while also maintaining a very low key profile in terms of visibility. 

Recessed mounting of air curtains keeps all the parts in one unit, thus reducing installation times and costs. Though air curtains are generally extremely low maintenance, this type of concealed installation is also one of the easiest to fix should problems occur. All of the internal components of the air curtain are easily accessed from below the ceiling, generally through a hinged access panel. 

With an in-ceiling mounting, the air intake is evenly spaced to prevent entrapment of the discharge. Conditioned air is pulled from below the ceiling, thus ensuring that only conditioned air is ventilated through the air curtain. 

Though an in-ceiling mount is more visible than an above the ceiling mounting technique (which we will explain below), the flush mounting technique essentially makes the air curtains invisible to customers. The lower installation costs and easier maintenance make this option a favorite for many types of business owners. 

phantom series air curtains


How to Hide and Air Curtain above the Ceiling

For business owners and managers who want to even further hide their air curtains, concealing the air door above the ceiling can be done with the combination of a high-performance air curtain and a unique nozzle extension. This six-inch extension is generally made from clear anodized aluminum and air directional vanes. 

The two main advantages that come with an above the ceiling mount are a much smaller and less noticeable footprint on the ceiling surface and a quieter operation. Because the air intake is located above the ceiling, these types of installations are generally the quietest and might be a great option for businesses that want to strictly limit noise levels in their interiors. 

On the downside, above the ceiling mounting techniques are generally more expensive to purchase and install. The multiple components, including the nozzle extension, ceiling grills, and the return air ductwork will add a little to the final price tag. Furthermore, unless your business has an insulated and conditioned attic, this type of air curtain installation will most likely pull unconditioned return air from above the ceiling. In climates with extreme cold in the winter or extreme heat in the winter, this could add to your heating or cooling bills.

All of the in-ceiling and above-ceiling air curtains sold by Air Door Distributors are AMCA certified and come with all different heat options. These air curtain technologies allow business owners to enjoy the energy efficiency benefits of an air curtain without most customers every noticing where that forced air over your front entranceway is coming from.

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UV Sanitization for Air Curtains: An Innovative Strategy to Protect Your Business during the Covid-19 Pandemic

mars uvc air curtains

The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously caused major disruptions and challenges to almost every aspect of our society. Besides the millions of infections, overrun hospitals and ICU units, and an unfortunately high death toll, this novel coronavirus has also taken a severe toll on businesses and the economy in general. Recent reports find that across America, over 100,000 small to medium-sized businesses have closed their doors for good, while another 7.5 million businesses are at a severe risk of having to shut down operations. 

As the economy reopens, a large percentage of customers (and employees) are adamant in demanding safe and hygienic business practices that minimize the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Setting up hand washing stations, enforcing strict social distancing guidelines, and distributing alcohol gel to your customers can all be effective in mitigating the risk of COVID-19. However, the use of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is another strategy that is often overlooked and ignored. 

The idea of using UV light to disinfect businesses might seem more technical and specialized than simply offering people a space to wash their hands. However, short-wavelength ultraviolet (ultraviolet C or UVC) light has been proved to kill or inactivate microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses through destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA. Today, ultra violet germicidal irradiation is used by several industries for the safe and effective purification of food, air, and water. 

Furthermore, UVCI sanitation and purification can work within traditional HVAC systems, including air curtains. Below, we offer a quick overview on how UV-enhanced air curtains might be able to protect your employees and your customers from exposure to the COVID-19 virus. 

Can UV Light Kill the Coronavirus? 

According to a recent scientific study titled “2020 COVID-19 Coronavirus Ultraviolet Susceptibility”: 

“Ultraviolet light can be an effective measure for decontaminating surfaces that may be contaminated by the SARS-CoV-2 virus by inducing photodimers in the genomes of microorganisms. Ultraviolet light has been demonstrated to be capable of destroying viruses, bacteria and fungi in hundreds of laboratory studies (Kowalski 2009). The SARS-CoV-2 virus has not yet been specifically tested for its ultraviolet susceptibility but many other tests on related coronaviruses, including the SARS coronavirus, have concluded that they are highly susceptible to ultraviolet inactivation. This report reviews these studies and provides an estimate of the ultraviolet susceptibility.”

Furthermore, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the use of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation as and effective technologies to minimize the spread of airborne microorganisms. 

Of course, direct exposure to UV light is dangerous to humans, and can cause damage to our skin and retinas. Instead of hiring highly trained technicians wearing specialized suits to use UV lamps or lights to disinfect the interiors of businesses on a nightly basis, installing UV lights safely within the ductwork of HVAC systems is a safer and more cost-effective solution. 

How Ultraviolet Irradiation Can Work with Air Doors or Air Curtains 

One solution for using protecting your customers and employees from COVID-19 is to install specialized UV lights inside the duct system of your HVAC equipment. As the air circulates throughout your building, any strains of the coronavirus can be neutralized as your forced air systems circulate that air through the UV lights. The obvious benefit of this approach is that all of the air inside your building will eventually be exposed to the UV radiation, usually between 1 and 4 hours, depending on the size of your building and the strength of your HVAC equipment. On the downside, this can entail rather expensive renovations to your ductwork, especially if you plan on installing more than one UV light. 

Another, more cost-effective solution is to simply install a UVC air curtain over the front door to your business. Air doors have been proven to be effective to stop insects, allergens, and other air-borne pathogens from entering your business. They also can increase the energy-efficiency of your building through providing a shield between the conditioned interior air of your business and the unconditioned outdoor air. 

When a UVC light is added inside the air curtain, the elimination of strains of virus can also add an extra-layer of protection. For example, the Mars UVC Air Curtain that is sold by Air Door Distributors has been proven to eradicate virus strains such as tuberculosis, Listeria, Salmonella, MRSA, Serratia marcescens as well as SARS-COV (2003) (Similar to the current COVID-19 virus). 

Essentially, a UV air curtain or air door offers two lines of defense against the coronavirus. The powerful flow of air over the entranceways to your business might inhibit the introduction of the viruses and pathogens through the air curtain’s output of air flow. Furthermore, the interior UV light can eradicate any strains of the coronavirus (and other dangerous bacteria and viruses) that might already be present in the air inside your business. 

Important Specifications for UV Air Curtains 

Ultraviolet radiation has wavelengths that range from 100 to 400 nanometers (nm). According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), “the optimal range is 200 to 280 nm, and the highest germicidal effect is achieved at 265 nm. Most UVGI air purification systems use a wavelength of 253.7 nm, which is close to the optimal value.” This is important to understand, because UV lights that emit wavelengths around or below 200 nm, can form ozone. High levels of ozone inside buildings can be considered a pollutant as ozone causes respiratory irritation and chest pain. 

The Mars UVC Air Curtain uses Sanuvox UVC lights that emit a frequency of 254nm, which is ideal for eliminating viruses, bacteria, and other airborne pathogens without negatively affecting your indoor air quality. Another benefit is that the UVC lamp inside these air curtains might also be able to eliminate certain types of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that also negatively affect your indoor air quality. 

The Mars UVC Air curtains can be designed to work for a number of different businesses and applications, including for businesses that work in the food service industry, the healthcare industry, or for customized entrance doors to any type of business or office. 

Protecting your employees and your customers from the coronavirus is a vital responsibility for every business owner. With a UVC air door or air curtain, your business can add one more vital line of defense for greater sanitation and safety. At Air Door Distributors, we can help you find right air door products for your business. Contact us today at (866) 402-1642 or fill out our online contact form.

Building Codes: What You Need to Know about Vestibules and Air Curtains

[This blog was originally published on August 21, 2018 and was updated on April 24, 2020]

What is an air curtain?

An air door or air curtain is a device used to prevent air or contaminants from moving from one open space to another. The most common use is a downward-facing blower fan mounted over an entrance to a building, or an opening between two spaces conditioned at different temperatures.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) defines an air door as follows: “In its simplest application, an air curtain is a continuous broad stream of air circulated across a doorway of a conditioned space. It reduces penetration of insects and unconditioned air into a conditioned space by forcing an air stream over the entire entrance. The air stream layer moves with a velocity and angle such that any air that tries to penetrate the curtain is entrained. Air curtain effectiveness in preventing infiltration through an entrance generally ranges from 60 to 80%”. 

The Air Movement and Control Association (AMCA) defines an air curtain as: “A directionally-controlled airstream, moving across the entire height and width of an opening, which reduces the infiltration or transfer of air from one side of the opening to the other and/or inhibits flying insects, dust or debris from passing through”. In North America, the more commonly used term for an air door is “air curtain”.
(Credit: Wikipedia)

What is a Vestibule?

A vestibule, also known as an arctic entry, is an anteroom (antechamber) or small foyer leading into a larger space, such as a lobby, entrance hall, passage, etc., for the purpose of waiting, withholding the larger space view, reducing heat loss, providing space for outwear, etc. The term applies to structures in both modern and historical architecture since ancient times. In modern architecture, commercial vestibule typically refers to a small room next to the outer door and connecting it with the interior of the building. In ancient Roman architecture, vestibule (Latin: vestibulum) referred to a partially enclosed area between the interior of the house and the street.
(Credit: Wikipedia)

Is a vestibule required by code?

We often get asked whether commercial vestibules are required by code or not. To answer this question in short: Vestibules are required by code but if you can’t have a vestibule then you can use an air curtain as an alternative. Want to learn more about this requirement, read below on or click on this link.

What is the IECC (The International Energy Conservation Code)?

The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) was established in 2000 and institutes a range of energy efficiency requirements for both residential and commercial buildings. In relation to air curtain technology, the most relevant part of the code is the vestibule requirement. In the past, the IECC code has required commercial building designers to include vestibule entrances on the primary entrance doors to large open spaces. Specifically, the requirement states that primary entrance doors to spaces that are 3,000 square feet or larger must include vestibules. In other words, if the main lobby of a building is 3,500 square feet in size, then the primary entrance to that space must include a vestibule.

This requirement puts an obvious burden on building designers, project developers, and building owners alike. For one thing, commercial vestibules take up much space on their own and eat up valuable real estate in a building. Even small entrance vestibules or lobby vestibule take up valuable floor space in a mostly non-functional way. Vestibules also add extra costs to the building project or force expensive and time-consuming redesigns to avoid the IECC rule.

Vestibule Cost – Vestibules themselves can cost $15,000 – $ 20,000, meanwhile, an unheated air curtain can range from $900 – $1,200, and a heated air curtain can range from $2,000 – $2,500.

What is the IGCC (International Green Construction Code)

The International Green Construction Code (IGCC) regulates the construction of new and existing commercial buildings. The release of Public Version 1.0 was announced by the International Code Council on March 11, 2010. The IGCC was established to aid in the construction of sustainable buildings in the business and residential sectors.

Why the Vestibule Requirement Exists

Before we get to the air curtain part of this conversation, let’s talk a little bit about why the IECC requirement includes a vestibule requirement in the first place. After all, vestibules are not—and have never been—an efficient use of space. Why was this building design strategy ever utilized, let alone required by an international building code?

According to the United States Department of Energy, the intention behind the vestibule requirement is “to reduce infiltration of air into a space.” By cutting down on infiltration, vestibules help limit heat transfer, reduce energy usage, and provide greater creature comfort to occupants or guests just inside the entrance.

? Have additional questions about air curtains? Talk to a specialist now!

IECC / ASHRAE and Air Curtains

Of course, vestibules have been rendered mostly obsolete by air curtains. Air curtains can achieve the same benefits as vestibules—the energy conservation, the creature comfort, the limited infiltration of fumes or contaminants—without taking up precious ground space or adding tens of thousands of dollars to the construction bill. By simply installing air curtains on their primary entranceways, commercial building designers can do more with less.

There are stipulations, of course. The IECC / ASHRAE only recognizes air curtains as meeting the vestibule requirements if they meet the following criteria:

  • They have been tested and found to meet ANSI/AMCA Standard 220
  • They are installed in accordance with all manufacturer instructions
  • They have an air stream velocity of 2 meters per second, directed at the floor
  • They have manual/automatic controls that allow the air curtain to operate when the door opens
  • The air curtain controls are compliant with Section C408.2.3 of the IECC / ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2019

The good news is that air curtain manufacturers are familiar with these requirements and have taken steps to comply with them. For instance, Berner & Mars are two of the biggest brand names in the air curtain market, offers air curtains that have been “certified” to meet the IECC building code /ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2019. Most Berner & Mars air curtains have been carefully tested and certified per the ANSI/AMCA Standard 220. Commercial building owners who are required to comply with the IECC /ASHRAE vestibule rule should make sure they are purchasing air curtain systems that include this certification. If you are worried about air curtains being loud, manufacturers have low noise units available for the quietest of applications.

Air Door Distributors supplies both Mars & Berner AMCA certified air curtains to meet ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2019 and the IECC Building Code.

Here is a list of Berner & Mars series that meet building codes (ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2019, IECC, IgCC) for main entrances with AMCA certification:

berner certified air curtain chd10

BERNER Air Doors:

Most Common for Vestibule Use
Commercial High Performance 10 Series (CHD10): Unheated, Electric Heated, Steam, Hot Water
Architectural High Performance 10 Series (AHD10): Unheated, Electric Heated, Steam, Hot Water
Architectural Elite 8 Series (AED08): Unheated, Electric Heated
Architectural Recessed 12 Series (ARD12): Unheated, Electric Heated, Steam, Hot Water
Architectural Recessed 16 Series (ARC16): Unheated

MARS Air Doors:

Most Common for Vestibule Use
Standard 2 Series (STD2): Unheated
High Velocity 2 Series (HV2): Unheated
Phantom 10 Series (PH10): Unheated
Phantom 12 Series (PH12): Unheated

To make it easy to know if a model is viable for energy code vestibule exceptions, look for the AMCA seal on Berner & Mars spec sheets. 

Click here to find the status the energy code adoption by state

In addition to product innovation, Berner & Mars have been instrumental in the drive to achieve greater recognition of the air curtain, a.k.a. air door, as an important part of any building’s design.  Part of that drive has been to research and promote third-party studies on the efficacy and benefits of air curtains.  This research has led to air curtains being included as an exception to vestibules in ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2019, ASHRAE Standard 189.1, the IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) and the IgCC (International Green Construction Code) building codes.

ASHRAE Standard 90.1 Update Approved!

Effective Fall of 2019, ASHRAE Standard 90.1, “Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low Rise Residential Buildings,” allows air curtains tested in accordance with ANSI/AMCA Standard 220 as an exception to vestibules

ASHRAE Standard 90.1,Section Vestibules and Revolving Doors  states:

Vestibules and revolving doors shall be installed in accordance with this section. The new list of exceptions include air curtains complying with mandatory provisions and can be found in Section 10.4.5:

“Air curtain units shall be tested in accordance with ANSI/AMCA 220 or ISO 27327-1 and installed and commissioned in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper operation and shall have a jet velocity of not less than 6.6 feet per second (2.0 m/s) at 6.0 in (15 cm) above the floor and direction not less than 20 degrees toward the opening. Automatic controls shall be provided that will operate the air curtain with the opening and closing of the door.”

NOTE: 2 m/s is equivalent to 400 ft/min

Code Change Approved!

Code change proposal CE192-13, toward the 2015 IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) was approved at the IECC (Group B) Committee Action Hearings in Atlantic City, N.J. The code change adds air curtains as an exception to a vestibule in the section C402.4.7 Vestibules. The new code reads:

Exceptions: Vestibules are not required for the following: Item 6. Doors that have an air curtain with a minimum velocity of 2 m/s at the floor, have been tested in accordance with ANSI/AMCA 220 and installed in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Manual or automatic controls shall be provided that will operate the air curtain with the opening and closing of the door. Air curtains and their controls shall comply with Section C408.2.3.

Code Change Approved!

The 2012 IgCC (International Green Construction Code) states,

“Where a building entrance is required to be protected with a vestibule in accordance with the International Energy Conservation Codean air curtain tested in accordance with ANSI/AMCA 220 is permitted to be used as an alternative to separate conditioned space from the exterior.”
See page 37, Section 605.1.2.3 Air Curtains in the 2012 IgCC

Third-Party Certifications

Berner & Mars use industry-accepted best practices and third-party certifications to verify that what we build is safe to use and does what we say it does.  Some product certifications are required as part of being in compliance with various building codes and health codes.


  • AMCA (Air Movement and Control Association) International, backed by almost 80 years of experience, is the world’s leading authority in the development of the science and art of engineering as relates to air movement and air control devices.  AMCA standards are referenced by building codes all over the world.
  • Berner & Mars Air Curtains are tested in accordance with AMCA Standard 220 – Test Methods for Air Curtain Units – assuring customers that their unit will perform as stated. A unit that has not been tested and certified in accordance with AMCA Standard 220 may not be reliable or meet the performance claimed by the manufacturer. Accurate information helps you make the right decision.
  • The AMCA seal on a product’s data sheet means that AMCA has independently tested the product and certifies the published performance data for that product is accurate.
  • For AMCA’s directory of certified products, click here.


  • UL is a nationally recognized testing laboratory. UL Standards for Safety help insure public safety and confidence in product. Millions of products and their components are tested to UL’s rigorous safety standards. Berner  & Mars understand the importance of UL certified products.


  • A UL certification, the C-UL (Canada – Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.) mark appears on products for the Canadian market. The products with this type of mark have been evaluated to Canadian safety requirements, which may be somewhat different from U.S. safety requirements


  • Berner & Mars manufacture Air Curtains / Air Doors with EPH certification tested to ANSI/NSF Standard 37 for flying insect control for many food service applications. The presence of the UL/EPH Mark on food service equipment means that the equipment has been evaluated, tested, and certified by UL as meeting international commercial food equipment standards. Berner air curtains that meet ANSI/NSF Standard 37 help keep your food establishment free of insects and are noted as, “EPH Listed per NSF 37.”
  • NSF International is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to public health safety and protection of the environment.
  • NSF/ANSI Standard 37 is the certification for air curtains for entrance ways in food and food service establishments, e.g., service and customer entries, service windows, cooler and cold storage entries.
  • Many health departments, and some building codes, around the country require an EPH Listed per NSF 37 air curtain and/or some other chemical-free insect deterrent as part of being in compliance with their heath and safety standards.


  • A UL certification, the UL EPH (Environmental & Public Health) mark appears on products that have been evaluated to Environmental and Public Health Standards. Berner & Mars manufacture many products that are UL EPH certified to NSF/ANSI standard 37.


  • A part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected consumer protection agencies. Stated most simply, FDA’s mission is to promote and protect the public health by helping safe and effective products reach the market in a timely way, to monitor products for continued safety after they are in use, and to help the public get the accurate, science-based information needed to improve health.
  • The FDA is the regulatory body of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
  • In the 2000 Food Establishment Plan Review Guide, the FDA recommends controlled air currents (which is what an air curtain provides) for insect control at all openings, as well as specifically recommends air curtains for loading docks and delivery doors.
  • In Chapter 6 of the 2001 Food Code put out by the FDA, Section 6-202.15 Outer Openings, Protected, properly designed and installed air curtains are specified as a method to protect openings of food establishments against the entry of flying insects.



  • The DOE has issued energy consumption standards for certain walk-in cooler / walk-in freezers based on the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (HR 6, Section 312).  By protecting the interior temperature of the walk-in when the door is open, research has shown that properly sized and installed air curtains are effective at reducing the number of run times for the compressor, thus reducing energy consumption.

Other Sources


  • Air curtains can be found in the following ASHRAE Handbooks: “HVAC Applications,” “HVAC Systems and Equipment,” and “Fundamentals.”

At Air Door Distributors, we can help you find certified air door products from trustworthy brands, including Berner. To find the right vestibule alternative for your building, contact us today.

contact air door distributors to find a air curtain that suits your needs

4 Ways to Enhance Your Home with a Residential Air Curtain

residential air curtain installation

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the average cost of energy in US households is about $1,411.80 a year. Almost half of the energy that we use in our homes goes towards space heating and cooling, meaning that most American households spend upwards of $700 each year to keep their home a pleasant indoor temperature. Unfortunately, inadequate insulation and a leaky building envelopes lead to a massive amount of unwanted heat loss and heat gain. Furthermore, data from the US Department of Energy finds that “heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25% – 30% of residential heating and cooling energy use. If you are selecting windows for new construction or to replace existing windows, it’s important to choose the most efficient windows you can afford that work best in your climate.” 

While opting for triple pane windows and energy-efficient doors is certainly one way to cut back on unwanted heat loss and heat gain, most homeowners never consider the option of installing an air door or air curtain. Below, we take a quick look at four of the main advantages that come with installing a residential air door or air curtain. 

What is a Residential Air Curtain?

Most people probably associate air curtains with larger commercial buildings. When entering your local grocery store, for example, you probably are greeted by a burst of air from above as you pass through the threshold. Air curtains have long been used by a wide array of commercial establishments such as restaurants, grocery stores, large retailers, warehouses, and other large buildings where open doors or windows jeopardize the energy efficiency, thermal performance, and indoor air quality of the building. Studies have shown that not only are curtains a cost-effective way to lower the energy costs of large, commercial buildings, but they also outperform traditional vestibules while costing significantly less to install. 

Air curtains or air doors, however, are not only designed for large commercial spaces. Recently, many leading builders and contractors in the area of energy-efficient home construction and renovation have begun to recommend residential air curtains as a way to drastically improve the thermal performance of the homes we live in. 

A residential air curtain is most likely to be installed above a large window or door that is often left open. Residential air curtains have been installed in a number of different situations including: 

  • Above garage doors (in an insulated garage) allowing for a more comfortable home workshop; 
  • Above large front doors that are opened and closed frequently; 
  • Above large, bay windows in living rooms that can be opened to improve air circulation in homes. 

A residential air door will have a small sensor that will trigger the air door to turn on whenever the door or window is opened. The stream of air generated from the fan covering the opening effectively separates the outdoor temperature from your interior environment. For homeowners worried about the aesthetics or the sound of a large air curtain inside their home, Air Door Distributors offers a number of different models that can be hidden or recessed inside ceilings and operate essentially silently. 

Learn more about residential air curtains

Benefits of Residential Air Doors

Installing a residential air curtain offers several different benefits for your home, including: 

  1. Lower Energy Costs: An air curtain over your front door is essentially an added layer of protection that enhances your home´s energy efficiency. A recent study published by the Air Movement and Control Association International found that for commercial establishments, “the modeled air curtain door is shown to reduce air infiltration significantly under the same conditions when compared to either the single door or the vestibule door….Compared to the vestibule door, the air curtain door can save 0.3% ~ 2.2% energy for zone 3 ~ 8, corresponding to 1146 kWh ~ 18986 kWh.” Similar savings should be expected for residential homes, especially if a door or window is opened several times during the day. 
  2. Improved Indoor Air Quality: Residential air curtains can also help to improve indoor air quality in two different ways. Firstly, it can stop outside air contaminants from entering your home. Pollen and other allergens, exhaust from passing vehicles, and other common air contaminants are essentially “blocked” from entering the home by the stream of air produced by the air curtain. Furthermore, some air curtain models can also include an air purifying device. As the conditioned air from inside your home circulates through the air curtain, UV rays can effectively kill off viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens that might be inside your home. The MARS UVC Air Curtain distributed by Air Door Distributors is one example of how air curtains can actively improve the safety of your home´s indoor air quality. 
  3. Protection from Pests and Flying Insects: An air curtain or air door over a strategic window or door can also help to protect your home from flying insects such as flies, mosquitos, and other nuisances. The steady stream of downward air keeps the insects from entering your home even if you decide to leave the window open. 
  4. Quick Payback Period: Lastly, a residential air curtain offers a relatively quick payback period thus making this home renovation one of the most cost effective strategies to improve the comfort levels and energy efficiency of your home. Depending on the size and type of air curtain or air door you install, the energy savings you perceive on your monthly heating and cooling bills will begin to pay off the investment from the first month after installation. 

Businesses, warehouses, and other large commercial establishments have long enjoyed the benefits and advantages that come with installing air curtains or air doors in strategic entrance areas to their buildings. Because air curtains can be custom manufactured to a specific size and profile, homeowners across the country would do well to consider this energy-saving and air-purifying option for their homes.

contact air door distributors to find a air curtain that suits your needs

Hazardous Location Air Curtains and how they can help your companies plant

air curtains for hazardous plants

For years industries with hazardous locations that wanted air curtains also known as fly fans had to have them custom manufactured. Air curtain manufacturers did not offer standard air curtains for hazard location applications. This was a huge barrier to companies that were looking for air curtains as custom manufactured air curtains are much more expensive that standard air curtains.

Recent advances in air curtain technology have allowed for the creation of standard lines of hazard location air curtains. Petroleum refineries, food processing and pharmaceutical plants, chemical facilities, and more all have hazardous locations. They can now take advantage of hazardous location air curtains that will improve their plant performance.

Most plants are going to be uninformed on air curtains. They may not understand how air curtains can benefit them as well as where to place them, how to install them, how to maintain them, and more. Air Door Distributors is the go-to expert in all things air curtains. The experts at Air Door Distributors can talk your plant HVAC team through all of the steps that go into installing an air curtain. From initial questions all the way to post-installation maintenance.  

It may be helpful to understand the difference between a hazardous location and a normal air curtain before discussing exactly how air curtains can improve plant performance. 

Difference Between Hazardous Location and Normal Air Curtains

Let’s define what a hazardous location is before we jump into the differences between the air curtains. OSHA defines a hazardous as the following: “Hazardous locations are areas where flammable liquids, gases or vapors or combustible dusts exist in sufficient quantities to produce an explosion or fire.” 

Typical air curtains could have electric motors that cause a spark, ferrous metals, and electrical connections that can cause arcing. These threats can have drastic consequences in a plant environment that can threaten the plant and all of its personnel. Hazardous location air curtains have a few key differences because of these reasons. 

Hazard location air curtains feature explosion-proof electric motors, proper electrical components, as well as fans that will not produce sparks. All of these features ensure that air curtains are safe to operate in a hazardous environment. 

Now that we understand the key differences between the two types of air curtains let’s talk about what they can do for your plant performance.

air curtain purchasing criteria

Benefits of Hazardous Location Air Curtains

Cost Savings

One of the main reasons that businesses purchase air curtains is to save costs. Air curtains help large plants regulate their temperatures. As one can imagine, the heating and cooling costs for these massive plants are incredibly high. Air curtains positioned in the proper locations can save your plant thousands of dollars in heating and cooling costs each year. Most hazardous location air curtains will pay themselves off in just a few years. 

More Consistent Manufacturing

Controlling the temperature and keeping insects out of the plant will help any manufacturer create a more consistent product. Production plants are massive operations with millions of variables. Air curtains can help plants control more variables. This will lead to a more stable production line. 

Keeping bugs out of food plants is an extremely difficult task, but air curtains can significantly reduce the number of bugs present. Insects will be sent flying by the air force the air curtain produces. Customers will be thrilled to hear that their are less bugs present in their food. 

Improve Safety

Employee safety will also improve with a hazardous location air curtain. Temperature differences in parts of the plant can lead to condensation on the ground. This hazard can cost employers valuable employees who will need time off for their injuries. Air curtains will negate the temperature difference, which is why the condensation appears in the first place.  

Toxic fumes can be a concern for many plants. Air curtains can mitigate the spread of toxic fumes in certain parts of the plant. In an emergency situation, air curtains can actually protect public health as well, by preventing the spread of toxic fumes to the outside. 

Call or email Air Door Distributors today to learn more about how hazardous location air curtains can improve your plant performance. Air Door Distributors has the best experts in the industry and can find the perfect air curtain for your plant.

contact air door distributors to find a air curtain that suits your needs

How Supermarkets Can Benefit From Air Doors: A Complete Analysis

air doors for supermarkets

Shoppers appreciate the comforting flow of warm air when rushing into a store on a cold winter day. They often, however, overlook the other benefits that air curtain or air doors contribute to their overall comfort and health once inside the store. Air curtains or air doors also known as fly fans offer several economic and health advantages for business owners. Below, we provide a complete rundown on how supermarkets can benefit from installing and operating air curtains.

How Air Curtains Work

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) defines an air door as “a continuous broad stream of air circulated across a doorway of a conditioned space. It reduces penetration of insects and unconditioned air into a conditioned space by forcing an airstream over the entire entrance. The air stream layer moves with a velocity and angle such that any air that tries to penetrate the curtain is entrained.” ASHRAE goes on to mention that “air curtain effectiveness in preventing infiltration through an entrance generally ranges from 60 to 80%.”

By creating an invisible air barrier over the doorway, supermarkets and other large buildings can efficiently separate two different environments without having to close the door physically. Furthermore, because air curtains recirculate the already conditioned air from inside a building, they are widely considered to be energy-efficient devices that can enhance the thermal performance of a building.

Potential Benefits of Installing Air Curtains for Supermarkets

The most obvious benefit of air curtains is that they create a barrier between two environments of differing temperatures. For supermarkets, however, there are several other advantages that can benefit business owners, managers, other employees, and the customers inside the stores.

Increased Sales

As any business owner probably knows, getting the customer inside the doors of your business is half the battle. Once inside, the probability of converting that customer into a sale increases monumentally. However, there are many times when extreme weather compels businesses to shut their doors. How many times have customers driven by a business with closed doors and mistakenly assumed that the store was closed, despite the operating hours being visibly posted on the doorway? Put simply, open doors translate into more customers, and more customers directly means increased sales margins.

Air curtains allow businesses to maintain the doors of their businesses open, even during the heat of summer, the rains of spring, and the bitter cold of winter. The blast of conditioned air creates a physical barrier that reduces heat transfer between the outside environment and the controlled climate within the building. Thus, the open front doors can attract customers without translating into enormous heating and cooling costs.

Lastly, by leaving the front doors of your business open, supermarkets can also create more accessibility for people with special needs, such as customers in wheelchairs, mothers with baby strollers, and others. This increased accessibility not only shows that your business goes the extra mile to care for people with special needs but also increases your potential customer base.

air curtain purchasing criteria

Energy Savings

Air curtains and air doors also offer energy savings on heating and cooling bills. Unlike HVAC equipment, air curtains do not create warmed or cooled air, but instead, draw the interior air from the building and discharge it through nozzles or vents over a doorway. Some air curtain technologies do allow for temperature adjustment, which can be helpful in areas where extreme outdoor temperatures are commonplace. The non-turbulent air stream is adjusted so that the air is pushed down to the threshold of the door opening.

The curtain of conditioned air, then, creates a barrier than limits heat exchange between the outdoor and indoor environments. If, for example, supermarkets were to simply leave their doors open without the use of an air curtain, the losses in energy efficiency would translate into enormous heating and cooling costs. In fact, one recent study published by the Air Movement and Control Association International (AMCA) found that “compared to the vestibule door, the air curtain door can save 0.3% ~ 2.2% energy for zone 3 ~ 8, corresponding to 1,146 kWh ~ 18,986 kWh (in energy savings).” Even further energy savings can be expected in areas that experience cold winters.

With the average price of electricity standing at $0.12, supermarkets can expect to save anywhere between $137 and $2,278 per year, according to the AMCA savings estimates. These energy savings lead to relatively quick payback periods without even factoring in potential increases in sales from the “open door effect.” Lower energy usage also translates into a smaller carbon footprint. As more and more people began to demand sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices for the businesses they choose, air curtains can be a part of a holistic sustainability vision for supermarkets.

During especially cold winters, supermarket owners can also opt to operate an air curtain with a closed door. Automatic door switches can trigger the air curtain to turn on only when the door is opened. This feature reduces the energetic cost of running the unit throughout the day while essentially adding an extra layer of insulation at doorways where most heat loss occurs.

It is imperative to correctly size the air curtain for the doors and entryways where they will be used. If the stream of conditioned air does not reach the floor of the threshold, heat transfer will occur at floor level, and effectively eliminate any potential energy savings. When properly-sized, an air curtain can retain up to 80 percent of the air that it uses and return that conditioned air to the inside of the building.

Improved Customer and Employee Health and Comfort 

More energy-efficient buildings are also more comfortable for the employees and customers inside. Air curtains further enhance and protect the health and comfort levels of people inside supermarkets through creating a physical barrier that prevents potential contaminants, flying insects, and other unwanted elements from coming into the building. The steady stream of air over entranceways, loading docks, and other areas can stop flying insects from infiltrating a store. Furthermore, traffic fumes and other outdoor air contaminants will also be stopped by the barrier provided by air curtains. An air curtain placed over a loading dock at the back of the store, for example, could serve to protect workers from carbon monoxide fumes, especially if trucks leave the engine running during delivery.

One recent study states that “traffic congestion increases vehicle emissions and degrades ambient air quality, and recent studies have shown excess morbidity and mortality for drivers, commuters, and individuals living near major roadways.” Air quality in heavily congested areas can include contaminants such as particulate matter, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Air curtains, then, play an essential role in protecting the health of your customers and employees through keeping exhaust, insects, dust, and other airborne contaminants out of your store.

Increased Safety Precautions 

Lastly, air curtains can also play a significant role in improving the safety of supermarket businesses. Open doors are an obvious evacuation route in the event of fires, earthquakes, or other unexpected emergencies. Establishing open door policies help companies to abide by local fire codes without having to install additional exits. Furthermore, the increased visibility that comes with open doors can help avoid collisions that could lead to upset customers and potential liability issues. During the winter months, the blast of warm air from an air curtain also acts as a natural de-icing agent, thus helping to avoid slippery conditions at the entrance of the store.

Air curtains or air doors offer several unique and significant advantages for supermarkets, including increased customer comfort, improved health conditions, energy savings, lower environmental footprint, and enhanced sales. As a relatively low-cost investment, air curtain technology can pay for itself in a relatively short amount of time while helping supermarkets to attract and retain their clientele.

contact air door distributors to find a air curtain that suits your needs