The Unique Functions of a Night Cover

Evolution of a thermal night curtain

Open commercial refrigeration systems have an air curtain built inside of them. The concept is that air is cycled through the unit, cooled and then recirculated to the front of the case where it flows back into the grill or vents on the front bumper of the the case.

While the air curtain does help to circulate cool air, it does so inefficiently. The refrigeration system and it’s components must work extra hard to fight against ambient store air that infiltrates the case.

When the store is closed at night the refrigeration equipment is still working extremely hard to maintain cooler case and product temperatures. Defrost cycles occur more frequently and for longer periods. Store personnel stocking the multi-decks and dairy line-ups would notice variations in product temperatures and the shelf life of perishable items. This was especially the case in the produce department as vegetables are the most sensitive to ambient heat and light and wilt and spoil at faster rates.

A Night Cover is Born

Retailers search for a solution to wilting stock

A night cover first originated as the vinyl strip curtains that became an integral component of every refrigerated store case. While strip curtains helped to alleviate some of the issues of insulating open refrigerated merchandisers and refrigerated cabinets, there was still room for improvement.

To further prevent cold air spillage and reflect radiated heat away from the cooler case, the night cover was born. The new design of a cover that acts as a thermal barrier that was made of material that was no longer transparent which helped to further shield the refrigeration equipment and products from penetrating UV radiation and warm air from store heaters. Store managers saw an immediate improvement and night covers soon became the norm.

Naming a Night Cover

The many names of a night cover

A night cover is typically referred to as a night cover or a night blind among industry professionals. However, there are many variations of an acceptable reference for a night cover including: thermal night blind, thermal night shade, thermal night cover, thermal night curtain, thermal night shield, thermal display case barrier, insulating refrigerated display cover etc.

While the need for night covers has grown as energy prices continue to rise, their design has evolved over the years to include many different makes and models. A properly designed night cover will deliver the highest energy savings while providing the greatest protection for perishable fresh foods. When you factor in the service life of the night cover, the unit should generate thousands of dollars of savings for the store operator.

Many utility companies recognize the importance of installing a night cover and offer retailers rebate incentives for retrofit night cover applications.