It is very common in areas of the west and southwest to have a very dry heat. Sometimes, like in my home state, the temperature can reach the 115-118 degree range in the summers. No matter what type of heat that is, dry or otherwise, it is no fun. It makes going out on your patio to sit or lounge a near impossibility unless you are a glutton for punishment. A shaded patio is key and so is keeping cool. Well, that is where these misting systems come into play.
When a patio misting system is running, spraying water mist out into the air, it can drop the perceived temperature by up to 25-35 degrees! This, combined with the fact that the mist just feels cool itself and is refreshing, make shopping for a system for your own home a good idea. So, let's discuss what types of systems are available and how they are installed.
Types of Misting Systems
The most crucial element of the misting system itself is the pump. The misting heads are what cause the water in the tubing to turn into tiny droplets. This process is known as atomizing the water. The heads on a traditional system will cause the atomized droplets to be around 5 microns in diameter. This small sized droplet allows them to evaporate and cool the air. In some cases, like in a greenhouse, misting systems can be used to cause a large increase in humidity and temperature. It is all a matter of how the water is escaping. For the case of your patio mist system, you will be looking for the natural evaporative and cooling properties.
One way to maximize the function of your mist system is to add a pump to increase the pressure in your lines. A simple line-pressurized system will only create so much pressure forcing the water out of the mister heads to create the atomized droplets. With a pump, the pressure in the lines can be increased to 1000 psi. This will result in much smaller droplets. Smaller droplets means a more efficient system and a better ability to cool as the droplets will evaporate more quickly.
Of course, these pumps do add a considerable amount to the overall cost of your misting system. These pumps can cost in the neighborhood of $250-600 for a quality unit. You will get your investment back through increased performance and efficiency and a cooler patio, it just adds a higher up-front cost. Overall, you should expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand for your basic misting system. Cost largely is based upon the size of the area you are wishing to install it on.
How To Install Your Water Mist System
If you are a handy enough person, you can install one of these home misting systems yourself. You can buy many off the shelf varieties at the local home improvement warehouses. They typically have a few to choose from. Your particular needs will determine the type you opt to install. There are some that have a hose bib type attachment that goes on an existing hose bib or you can plumb a dedicated line. You will also find that some systems have a rigid line while others have more flexible tubing set-ups. These are simply different styles based upon the manufacturers specifications for their system. If you are doing this installation yourself, you should plan on roughly 4-6 hours for a typical installation. Instructions for how many heads to install and where will be found with each specific system - the placement and spacing is slightly unique based upon line pressure, nozzle designs and patio size.
Of course, you can always have a professional install your misting system for you. This will greatly reduce your hassle-time and increase your enjoyment time. If you can tolerate the roughly 30% increase in cost it will add, then this is the best way to go. Finding a professional with experience will also ensure that you get the proper installation and ultimately function from your system.
Personal Body Misting System
There are other types of misting systems as well. One such type is the personal body style. This one comes with a variety of containers that are pressurized with a small tube and a mister head. The idea is that you can carry it over your shoulder just like you would a water bottle or purse. When you are out and about in the summer heat or on a hike or walk, if you start feeling too hot, you simply open the valve and the mist cools you off.
The containers can be plastic or metal that holds the water. The steel containers are going to be better able to hold the pressure for the mister to function better. These can also be just a bottle with a built in pump mechanism in the base. As you spray it on yourself, the pressure decreases and you will need to pump it again to build up the pressure to continue using it.
Another modified version of the larger misting system is a more portable misting system or misting station as they are called. These look like mini-versions of those blow up rooms or castles that are for kids to jump around in. They are set up at fairs and other sporting events or outdoor festivals.
How Do You Maintain A Misting System?
There is really only a few things to consider regarding maintenance. First of all, if you have a pump installed, it will require a bit of maintenance like any machine does. If you make sure to routinely add oil and check that the moving parts are free of debris and such, your pump should last many years. It will be outside so keep this in mind.
The only other part of this system that needs to be checked are the misting heads or nozzles themselves. With enough use, they will get plugged. Also, hardwater will cause your nozzles to fail much more quickly. The routine cleaning of your nozzles will ensure that your line is operating under the right pressure and will reduce excessive wear on your lines and motor. If you live in a climate susceptible to freezing temperatures, then you will want to drain your lines just like you would in your home to prevent freezing and failure of your lines.
Seamless Misting System
Just like with your gutters on your home, a seamless gutter option is simply more pleasing to the eye. It also provides a functional benefit. Sometimes, it can be a chore or hassle to install the misting system after the home is already built. The video below is talking about a new way of installing misting systems that are done as the house is being built. Building it this way, allows the system to be hidden within the covered patio or other building structure. This allows for a more seamless and invisible type of appearance. If you already own a home and you are looking to install an after-market system, then you can simply keep this in mind for your next home.
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