If you’re contemplating installing a misting system in your back or front yard, here are some things to consider.
If you live in a humid climate, misting systems may not be a cost effective way to cool down, since you are using water to do the job in an environment that is already heavy with water. Dry climates get the most benefit from a mister, but you need to consider the water usage vs cooling effects. If you have a mister in a greenhouse, that’s a completely different issue.
A mister can provide up to a 30° cool down the immediate area, depending on the system, temperature and relative humidity. Even in water restricted communities, a mister may be better than running your air conditioner and here’s why:
To generate 1 kilowatt of electricity, it takes about 25 gallons of water. An air conditioner must use about 3-5 kw each hour (that’s 75-125 gallons of water). A small pump for the mister only uses about 250 watts (¼ of a kilowatt) per hour. Most misters have 1 nozzle for every 3 feet, so an average 10’ x 10’ deck or patio would only use a little over 26 gallons of water per hour.
High pressure misting systems are more expensive, may cost more to operate, (not as much as an air conditioner) but have superior cooling effects (nozzle clogs are rare). Low pressure misting systems are cheaper, easier to install and operate; but will not cool as efficiently as a high pressure mister and the nozzles can clog if not properly maintained.
It is important that you plan the layout of your misters, taking into consideration the natural shading on your backyard, patio or deck. You might also want to consider placing your mister in an area so it can double as a watering system for some plants.
If you are so inclined, you may want to consult a plumber or contractor about installing a permanent misting system that connects to the water lines in your home and is permanent. Of course, this will add a substantial cost to the project.
Some misting systems are made of pliable tubing that is connected to an outside hose bibb and should be disconnected and stored away in the winter (unless it is attached to a pergola, wall or railing). With proper maintenance, your misting system should last a good, long time.