One of the amenities that have a tendency to be overlooked when Arizona homeowners upgrade their patios is installing a misting system.
This feature will keep you cooler so you can enjoy sitting on your patio year-round. It is a perfect solution for Arizona's dry climate.
How does a misting system work?
A motor pumps the water at very high pressure (above 1,000 per square inch) through stainless steel tubing. That water then comes out of specially designed nozzles that release the water through flash evaporation thus, creating a micro-fine mist. As the water evaporates, you feel dramatically cooler. The evaporation can also remove odors, pollen, dust, fungus, and even insects from the air.
The mist produces microdroplets of water, allowing more surface area per gallon and more effective evaporation. As the superfine water droplets are introduced into the atmosphere, they quickly absorb the heat present in the environment and evaporate, resulting in cooler air.
Misters can cool an outdoor living space by 30 degrees in the right conditions. That makes grilling, dining, watching TV, or socializing in the summer more bearable – even enjoyable in a safe, clean, cool environment.
Considerations when shopping for a system.
Look closely at the quality of misting systems before purchasing. Inexpensive residential systems are typically made of cheaper materials such as PVC. With this material, the water is not atomized, thus resulting in water soaking all nearby surfaces. A commercial-quality system will leave your porch evenly cooled and without wet surfaces.
Look for a pump that will push the water through the tubes at 1,250 pounds per square inch (psi). The high pressure produces a very fine mist. The finer the mist, the cooler the air. Lower pressure will not atomize the water and result in wet surfaces. High-pressure systems produce the finest water droplet size available. The water droplets are smaller in size than both low and medium pressure systems. The smaller the water droplet size, the faster the evaporation rate and the greater the degree of cooling performance.
Choose industrial-grade pumps and motors with low revolutions per minute (RPM) as they are cheaper to run.
Make sure the distribution lines are made of stainless steel and the nozzles are made of ceramic. PVC and copper are not good choices. The cement used to bond the joints in PVC can break down and leak over time. Copper can corrode if the water is acidic.
Check out the warranty and guaranty carefully. A well-maintained, high-quality system should last many years.
Overhead misting fans can be added to the system. Install them so they deliver mist in a 360-degree pattern.
Electronics Hub suggests taking these factors into consideration as well.
Length: The most important thing to check before buying a misting system is to check its length to ensure that it fits the size of your patio. It includes length options like 30 feet or 40 feet depending on the model that you get.
Nozzles: You also need to check the number of nozzles offered by a given misting system to ensure that it can cool a large area. While some models come with a total of nine nozzles, better models might offer a total of 12 nozzles for better cooling overall.
Adapter: Since a misting system uses water to cool down the air around you, it needs to be connected to a water source. This is done using either a ½ inch or a ¾ inch adapter that comes with your misting system. It is highly important to make sure your misting system is compatible with your water source adapter size. This water should absolutely be put through a filter system.
Use a mister to add drama and comfort beyond the patio with these ideas:
Add a fogger. If you already have a mister, you can add a feature that pumps fog over your pool or around a backyard waterfall, pond, or fountain. You can rig the device so the fog looks like it is cascading down the waterfall. A bonus: Fog helps cool the air over a pool. For extra drama, add colored lights near the foggy area.
Direct your mist upward. Most patio misters cool from the top down. But, if you want to stay cool in a lawn chair under an umbrella in a grassy area away from the patio, have them installed in the ground so they send the cool air upward. Misting systems can be designed to work from any angle.
Cool the pool. Insert misters around the pool deck so they spray into the pool, which helps cool off swimmers on the hottest summer days. Or install them around the pool deck near your favorite lounge chairs.
Keep your pets cool. You can put misters around stables, dog kennels, and dog runs to keep your horses and pets cool on hot days. Select a model with a remote control or timer so the nozzles operate only during the hottest times of the day.
Minimize dust. A backyard with a sandy volleyball court is a better playground when a mister does double-duty to control the dust. Ground-installed misters also control construction dust during a home remodel.
Build it in. If you’re building a new home, have your misting system installed during construction rather than after the house is finished. That way, you can hide the stainless steel lines inside the walls.
The cost of a misting system varies greatly. The materials, compressor, pipes, and spray heads, plus labor costs, will start at several thousand dollars and go up based on size and added features. A misting system is an investment -- one that will last much longer than a week-long, out-of-town vacation.
Maintaining Your Misting System
Perform regular maintenance such as cleaning nozzles regularly. Professional maintenance on the motorized part of the system will increase its life. The system will also last longer if you use softened water for misting, at the very least it needs to be put through a filtration system.
Steps to removing hard water deposits in your misting systems nozzles.
Remove the nozzle from the system.
Remove the O-ring from the misting nozzle.
Soak the misting nozzles in white vinegar or CLR for at least an hour.
Rinse the misting nozzles, flush the misting lines and mount the nozzles back into the misting system.
Can’t remember the last time the misting system filter was replaced? Then it’s time to replace it, now.
Note: Never soak brass nozzles in strong chemicals such as CLR or Lime-A-Way®. They may deteriorate the brass components.
Be creative! Misting systems don't have to be limited to the porch. They can work from any angle. Install them in the ground to cool a favorite sitting spot, around the pool to help keep sunbathers cool, in the kids' favorite play area to keep play equipment cool, or to keep the dust down in your badminton or bocce ball court.
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For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 35 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the Rosie on the House radio program from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturdays on KTAR-FM (92.3) in Phoenix; KGVY 1080AM 100.7FM and on KAFF-AM (930) in Flagstaff. 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) in Tucson.