Poolside pavilion houses an outdoor kitchen, hearth and dining area for entertaining. Construction: Red Rock Builders

Outdoor Misting Systems

Beat the heat and keep your guests comfortable

When summer days reach scorching temperatures, many people head for a refreshing dip in the pool. But how can you beat the heat outside the pool? One way to keep your outdoor space cooler and guests more comfortable is by including an outdoor misting system.

These systems work by forcing water through nozzles that are then quickly atomized to small droplets (some as minute as 5 millionths of a meter). Usually used around the perimeter of a pergola or patio cover, outdoor misting systems can drop the setting’s temperature by as much as 35 degrees.

Outdoor misting systems are popular in dry, hot climates, but are also in demand elsewhere. Some are simple units that can be hooked up to a garden hose, which in turn supplies the water that produces a faint mist for a small circumference. Others are more elaborate and need to be installed by a professional or handy do-it-yourselfer. No matter the system, however, homeowners should keep a few things in mind when considering which type is best for their property.
Photo courtesy of Red Rock Pools & Spas, Mesa, Arizona; Photography by Lee Anne White

What is the best location to install an outdoor misting system?

Most landscape architects and outdoor designers suggest mounting an outdoor misting system in the places that are most used by you and your guests. You can put them around the rim of your pergola or patio cover or go from bottom up: misting from the deck floor or patio floor.

Additionally, some manufacturers put them along patio umbrella brims, in freestanding fans, around deck fences, and within personal size units that can be used poolside or on the patio.

Before choosing where to place the outdoor misting system, however, determine the foot traffic around the outdoor space and how much of that space you want misted.

Photo courtesy of MistyMate, Inc.

How do you determine whether you need a high-pressure or low-pressure outdoor misting system?

By measuring the area you want to keep cool, you can calculate the best outdoor misting system. For relatively small sections, low-pressure misting systems are perfectly suitable because they run on a municipality’s water pressure, about 30 to 85 psi.

For bigger spaces, a higher pressure system is better for optimum efficiency and cooling. Although you can adjust the pressure, many professionals suggest that 1,000 psi, along with specialized pumps, tubing, and nozzles, is the best option.

A specialty nozzle system that can atomize droplets from 1/1th to 1/50th the size of a line pressure system is the choice of most pros. When sized this way, the misting system produces 40 to 50 times the number of droplets, which further expands the system’s effectiveness. Keep in mind, the smaller the droplet, the faster the evaporation and the cooler you will feel–plus, your space stays dry.

Photo courtesy of Summerset Gardens/Joe Weuste, Warwick, New York

How much do outdoor misting systems cost?

Based on the size and type of outdoor misting system you want, budgets can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. By adding professional installation and custom options, be prepared to spend even more.

Should I winterize my misting system?

If you live in an area that has a freeze/thaw cycle, you need to take precautions to avoid damaging your misting system. Before the season turns colder, you should disconnect your misting system from the water supply and then remove the nozzles—just make sure to put them in a safe spot or clean and dry them, then return to the line (follow your manufacturer’s cleaning instructions). Additionally, drain the water from the lines, pumps, and filtration systems. A good idea for those systems that have underground hoses and pipes is using an air compressor to blow out any remaining water.
Photo courtesy of MistyMate, Inc.

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