Cool your summer with Misters
This is the time of year when Arizona homeowners start preparing for summer – new barbecue, new patio furniture or new cushions for the chairs, new umbrellas to shade the furniture, and maybe some big projects like repaving the patio or buying a new pool pump. Almost everything is designed to provide more comfort in the great outdoors and maybe keep everyone cooler.
Maybe you've even thought about having a misting system of your own, like those you sometimes experience while dining outdoors at some Arizona restaurants. In fact you can have a misting system like that installed in your own backyard.
Misting is not a type of cooling system that works in sticky summer jungle climates like those you experience in Florida or Louisiana. But it is perfect for the desert and is being used successfully in dry climates all over the world.
In order to mist, water is pumped by a motor at very high pressure through stainless steel tubing. That water then comes out of specially designed nozzles that release the water in a micro-fine mist. As the water evaporates, you feel dramatically cooler. The evaporation can also remove odors, pollen, dust and fungus from the air.
If you're not fond of misters, you've probably been in restaurants where the experience has not been so comfortable and refreshing. A mist may be spraying out of those cooling tubes but it's a little like getting drenched in a shower or rain storm. Your hair gets frizzy and has that wet doggy feeling. Or maybe you were sitting at a restaurant table that was cooling some diners, but not others.
Effective cooling requires that nozzles be precisely placed so that water mists out in perfect plumes. There are no hot spots on the patio that don't receive mist and no nozzles that overlap to create unnecessary and unwanted moisture drips.
Then again, perhaps you've tried misters in the past, but they only worked for a season or two.
We asked for a few suggestions from Bill Sommers of Mist Air in Phoenix on what to look for in getting a misting system for your own patio.
- One basic requirement is a pump that will push the water through the tubes at 1,250 pounds per square inch. The high pressure produces the finest mist and the finer the mist, the more cooling you will experience. Lower pressure may be cheaper, but the moisture will come out in bigger drops.
- Look for industrial grade pumps and motors with low revolutions per minute. That will mean your system will cost less to operate.
- Make sure you get stainless steel distribution lines and ceramic misting nozzles. Avoid PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or other synthetic materials for piping. Avoid copper.
- Check out the warranty and guaranty carefully. After all, you want several years of trouble-free performance.
- Remember to have regular maintenance – one service visit to start up the system in spring and one to close it down in fall. Your system will also last longer if you use softened water for misting.
- The cost of the pumping plus the water for one hour of use on a medium-size patio should be much less than running your central air conditioner for an hour in your house.
- The price of your system can run the gamut of fairly inexpensive to more costly. You will pay more for special operational requirements like adding fan misters and pressure washing systems. If you want overhead fans, they should release the mist plume in a 360-degree pattern. You don't want the mist to come in contact with the fan because it could cause rust and calcium buildup.
How Did Misting Systems Get Started?
According to Bill Sommers, misting systems were first used in the early 1980s as a way to keep chickens cooler and to increase egg production. Egg farmers used PVC pipe and inserted mist heads into tubes. The chickens loved it, and as time went on new materials were used for piping.
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