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Adding Heat to Your Paint Booth: Benefits, Challenges, and Planning Ahead

Shopping for a paint booth can become tedious, especially after you’ve spent hours trying to figure out exactly what type of booth you want and what size booth you need (not to mention fit your budget). You may just decide to buy a basic booth and think about upgrades later. However, taking the time to figure out what configuration and features you need can save you time and hassle down the road.

One thing that many people don’t consider at first is adding heat to the booth. Depending on the kind of booth you have, where you live, and your production goals can help determine if an air makeup unit is required for your booth. 

What are the benefits of adding heat to your booth?

One of the most advantageous upgrades to your paint booth is the ability to control the interior temperature by adding heat via an air makeup unit. Heating your spray booth provides several key benefits:

  • Increases production capacity by reducing the curing time; most projects can be completed and cool to the touch within an hour.
  • Creates an optimal environment for flawless finishes.
  • Offers a comfortable environment in cooler climates.

Having a heated booth can significantly improve your shop’s production speed. Instead of waiting for several hours for a job to dry, an air makeup unit will cure the finish and allow you to move on to the next job in no time. If you want to complete more than just a few projects a week, adding heat is the best way to expand your operations. 

Can you add heat to a paint booth that you already own?

Heat is added to a paint booth by installing a heated air makeup unit (AMU). The term “makeup air” is just that, replacement air for the exhausted air during normal operation. By replacing the expelled air, adding an AMU to a paint booth allows it to maintain consistent air pressure. The painter is able to control the booth’s pressure through the unit’s deluxe control panel. 

Stabilizing the air pressure reduces the amount of dust and other contaminants inside the booth and improves the air quality. By reducing the contaminants, it also greatly reduces the risk of blemishes in the finish.


Depending on how the air is ducted into the booth from the AMU, not every type of paint booth gives you the option of adding heat. The most common is the cross flow paint booth. This booth has front filtered doors, so it is impossible to control the air flow into the booth through the doors. 

Most other booth styles, including the downdraft, side downdraft, and semi downdraft models, can be upgraded with heat, either at time of purchase or later. For example, adding heat to a downdraft paint booth is generally simple and doesn’t require significant modifications to the booth. Likewise, you can install a heated AMU to supply air directly into the intake plenum at the front top of a semi downdraft booth

It’s also simple to upgrade a side downdraft booth with a heated AMU to supply air into the upper plenum, which runs along the entire length of the booth. Additionally, you may be able to create a setup that recycles some of the heat from the exhaust duct, improving efficiency and reducing energy requirements. 

Planning ahead gives you the option to upgrade your booth

If you decide that you may want to add heat at a later date, here are some essential things to keep in mind:

  • Location and installation: Leave enough room to accommodate an AMU and any necessary ductwork. Units can be set up directly outside the building, on the roof, or even inside the building. Units are also available in horizontal or vertical styles. If you’re not sure how much space you need, our expert team can answer your questions and help you prepare for future upgrades.
  • Electrical system: Make sure your building’s electrical system/infrastructure can handle the increased load of a heated AMU. If you aren’t sure, check with an electrician. 
  • Fuel: You will need a fuel source for the AMU (e.g., natural gas or propane). Verify the possibility and cost of bringing a fuel line to the AMU.
  • Rules and regulations: Check with your local authorities to see what codes may be applicable to install a heated AMU under local building and fire codes.
  • Lead time: Consider the lead time you will need to add an AMU. Since each unit is hand-built to your specifications, the lead time is usually between 10-14 days (this varies depending on production schedules). We suggest planning for a 3-month time frame for delivery, installation, and inspections. However, we sell them year-round!

Most paint booth styles allow you to add a heated AMU later. However, it is an easier install, easier inspection process, and more cost-efficient to incorporate heat with the initial purchase your paint booth.

Get the perfect paint booth for your shop

Whether you decide to add heat to your new paint booth right away or upgrade it down the road, our team is here to help. Our experts can discuss your needs and goals to help you choose a booth that’s the right style and size. We offer a wide range of top-quality booths for various applications, and we can even customize a booth to your exact specifications. To get started, contact our team directly, email sales@paint-booths.com, or call 888-312-7488.

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