We have all seen those cheap patio misters they sell at the big box stores. For $29 you basically get a mini-spinkler system that connects to your garden hose and sprays small droplets of water on you and your guests. Of course you are a little bit cooler, but do you really want to be soaking wet at a barbecue? On those hot days, there's no doubt that having cooling systems outside sounds like a good idea. However, put down the cheap misting system and check out systems that really work. Here's how to cool off your patio with the right misting system.
- Choose a high pressure version. It really is all in the pressure. With a higher pressure misting system, the nozzles can be pinched down tighter, producing a micro-fine mist that just floats in the air, more like fog. The cooling effect comes not from getting everyone wet, but from the evaporation of the mist into the air. Evaporation is a chemical process that actually uses heat from the air. With millions of tiny droplets evaporating, serious cooling is the result. Choose a pump that can produce 1,000 psi or more to achieve full evaporation.
- Hang the misting lines at the appropriate height. Depending on the typical humidity level in your area, lines may need to be installed a couple of feet higher to get the full evaporation and avoid wetting. Another option is to use smaller nozzles and simply use more of them.
- Choose the right nozzle spacing. Most mist system sources will offer lines in 24, 30, or 36 inch spacing. The closer you position the nozzles, the more cooling you will get. But if it is too much, or if it is too humid in your area, you may see some wetting. Follow the advice of a good website or salesman, and don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions. See the following link to the same site where I got my Patio misting system. They have a very cool "Build-It Yourself" tool where you can type in your own temperature, humidity, height of install, etc. and see what the recommended specifications are. Other sites probably have something similar.
- Choose the right nozzles. Again, seek advice, but larger nozzles cool better, as they produce more mist. But take it too far and you'll get wetting down below.
- Filter your water if necessary. If your water contains calcium or other particles, install an inline filter right after the pump to be sure your nozzles don't clog. Cleaning nozzles isn't that tough, but it is time consuming. A $50 filter should take care of it though.
Now you know what to look for in these patio cooling systems. Basically, get yourself a quality system and make sure to get some help with the design first. A well-designed system can be an amazing addition to any backyard or patio. A cheap one or a poorly designed one can be a nightmare for your party guests!