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Air Conditioning Paint Booths - A Guide

A question we occasionally get asked is whether or not a paint booth can have air conditioning. While this is not an everyday question it often comes up with spec work for aerospace, coating companies, and original equipment manufacturers that have critical concerns about the environment they spray paint in. This guide will cover air conditioning paint booths plus the benefits and drawbacks associated with air conditioning a paint booth.

Why Air Condition a Paint Booth?

The main reason to air condition a paint booth is to ensure that your paint environment has absolute consistency. While heat for a paint booth is often used (and needed ) which you can learn more about here, air conditioning is generally reserved for special paint application needs. The main reason that is used less frequently is the high cost associated with providing an air conditioning unit to massively cool air for a paint booth. While a paint booth heater basically uses an open flame that air blows across, a paint booth air conditioner has to have a massive air cooler (more on the approximate math soon) which is a lot more involved from an engineering and materials standpoint compared to a heater for a paint booth. That being said if you need the temperature of your paint environment to always be a certain temperature then you will potentially have to go with an air conditioner for your paint booth.

How Big of a Air Conditioner will be needed for a paint booth?

The size air conditioner you will need will depend on the size of the paint booth and the type of paint booth.  There are two primary ways air flow is calculated in a paint booth. For a cross draft design paint booth air flow is calculated by the height and width of the booth x 100 feet per minute which gives you the CFM of the booth. For a downdraft design the air conditioner would be sized based on the length and width of the paint booth. In general a 1 ton air conditioner conditions approximately 400 CFM of air. So for a 6 x 6 crossdraft paint booth you would need a 9 ton air conditioner. However a paint booth air conditioner will also be unique to be able to handle moisture and rapid cooling at high air flow rates as well and will have unique controls. Which is why having an air conditioner for a paint booth is expensive and different than the standard air conditioner you use in normal cooling applications.

Final thoughts

Ultimately an air conditioned paint booth is a expensive solution but if you need precise temperature control then it may make sense. Just know the air conditioner used in a paint booth is different than a standard commercial air conditioner due to the need to handle large volumes of air and rapidly cool the air safely for the paint booth. Keeping the width and height of the paint booth smaller in a crossdraft or length and width of the paint booth smaller in a downdraft can potentially help keep project costs a bit better when considering heating or air conditioning a paint booth. If you need further help on an air conditioned paint booth you can contact us today.


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