Estimating Misting System Costs

INITIAL AND OPERATING COSTS

How Much Does a Misting System Cost?

Initial costs vary from about $30 – $100 for a typical 10-20 nozzle low-pressure system kit without a pump. A self-contained low-pressure unit can be even less. With a pump, a low- to mid-pressure system kit of about the same size costs around $200 – $1,500. A standard 10-20 nozzle high-pressure system starts at about $800 – $2,000.

Most low-pressure system units and kits are simple enough to install yourself, so you can save on installation costs. Typical mid- and high-pressure installations may cost $200 – $700. Of course, additional or upscale features and larger systems will cost more.

Ongoing costs mostly include the cost of water, and electricity if a pump is used.

Initial Costs of a Misting System

Cost of a misting system pump

The pump can be the most expensive feature of a small-sized misting system. In larger systems, the cost of lines and nozzles can be more expensive. Price is a reflection of the pump’s resulting water pressure, flow rate, pump features, and quality of construction. As a general guideline, you can figure on $1 – $2 per psi ($16 -$32 per bar) of resulting water pressure for a residential or commercial pump. Industrial pumps can go up to $3 per psi ($40 per bar). Custom-built pumps with added features can fit within these price ranges, or go even higher depending on how they are configured.

Lines and connectors costs

Prices for the lines depend on the length and materials of the line. Prices are discounted for larger purchases.

  • PVC, PE, and CPVC start at under $1 per foot.
  • flexible nylon lines are available for about $1 per foot for 1/4-inch and about $3 per foot for 3/8-inch.
  • Synflex – flexible and highly durable tubing is about $3 per foot.
  • Stainless steel costs about $3.50 per foot.
  • Type L copper pipe ranges from about $3 – $5 per foot, depending on diameter. Flexible type L copper tubing or “coil” is about $3 per foot.

Nozzle costs

Nozzle prices depend mostly on their materials and construction, with some variation based on the orifice size. I’ve seen them priced from under $1 each for low-pressure plastic to over $7 each for high-pressure anti-drip nozzles.

There are hundreds of options that you might find necessary, helpful, or simply nice to include in your system. I’ve touched on a few of them throughout our pages on misting systems. You’ll find them on our pages for misting pumps, lines and fittings, and nozzles. Of course, using any of these can add to the cost and comfort of your system.

One way to deal with some of this cost uncertainty is to purchase a kit. These have pre-assembled components that are all designed to work together. These kits list right up front what their total cost is, not including installation. Many of these kits can be customized. Just keep in mind such customization will affect the cost.

Installation Costs for a Misting System

If your system is a portable unit or self-contained device, you only need to fill it with water, plug it in, attach it to a garden hose, and adjust it so the spray is near your activities.

Other systems are similar in setup, whether low-, mid-, or high-pressure systems. They all have lines and connectors or fittings and nozzles. They all must be connected to a water source, and attached to some kind of support, and except for hose-fed low-pressure systems, they all need a pump.

Angi.com, a nationwide service that connects service professionals to people who need them, estimates installation costs for these kinds of systems to range from $200 – $700.

Estimating Operating Costs of a Misting System

You can estimate the system’s electricity and water use by connecting with your local utilities and doing some basic math.

Estimating Electricity Cost for a Misting System

Electricity use is determined by the amount of electricity your pump uses — its wattage. This is listed in the specifications for each pump. The pump is the only component that uses electricity. If you have a low-pressure system that doesn’t use a pump, you don’t have to worry about electricity use at all — one advantage of a low-pressure system.

When you buy electricity you are charged by the kilowatt-hour (kWh). Using 1,000 watts for 1 hour equals a kilowatt-hour.

You can use the formula below to estimate a pump’s energy use:
Wattage × Hours Used Per Day ÷ 1000 = Daily Kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption

You can work through it yourself, or you can use an energy cost calculator, like the one at the US Department of Energy’s website, energy.gov.

Here’s an electricity estimate example:

  • One pump I saw uses 750 watts of electricity. This is about the same as a dehumidifier or a desktop computer. If I wanted to use it for four hours a day I would use 3000 watts (750 x 4 = 3000), which is the same as 3 Kilowatt-hours (3,000 Watts divided by 1,000 = 3 kilowatts).
  • I then need to learn how much my local electric company charges me for each kilowatt-hour. My electric company charges me $.30 US per kilowatt-hour. This is easy to find online by searching for your electric company’s rates.
  • 3 kilowatt-hours multiplied by $.30 tells me this pump will cost me $.90 in electricity each 4-hour day I use it.
  • My estimated electricity cost to use this pump for 4 hours each day for a month would be $27.00

Estimating Water Costs of a Misting System

Water use is measured by the flow rate per hour of a misting nozzle on your system multiplied by the total number of nozzles your system uses. Once you know how much water your system uses you can estimate the water costs. See the page on Estimating Water Use and Nozzles to learn how to estimate how much water your misting system will use.

How does your water supplier charge you?

Check your local water supplier or utility company for water costs in your area. Water companies have different pricing structures, so yours will be different from mine, and possibly your neighbor’s.

My water company charges a standard rate for typical water usage. If I use more than that, they charge by HCF (Hundred Cubic Feet), which equals 748 gallons. For the first 6 HCF, I am charged $1.72. From 7 – 18 HCFs I am charged $2.19. If I only use a partial HCF, I am still charged for a full HCF.

You can use this formula to estimate a misting system’s water use:
Flow rate of each nozzle (GPH / LPH) × Number of Nozzles × Cost per gallon / Cost per liter charged by your local water company
= Estimated Water Cost for 1 hour of use

Here’s a water estimate example:

  • Once I know the water pressure I want to use I can pick out a nozzle.
    • I would look up my nozzle on the manufacturer’s flow rate chart. I’ll use the general numbers from the flow rate chart from the nozzles page, but keep in mind that numbers for any particular nozzle will vary from this.
    • For this example, I’ll use a nozzle that uses 1 GPH and a 10-nozzle system. 1 GPH x 10 nozzles = 10 GPH for the system.
  • I then estimate how many hours I expect to use the system throughout a billing cycle – typically a month.
    If I expect to use it 4 hours every day, that would be about 120 hours in a month (4 hours x 30 days).
  • Now I multiply my system’s water use per hour (10 GPH) by the hours I expect to use it (120 hours) to get 1,200 gallons per month.
  • My water company charges $1.72 for every HCF. Since I’d be using more than one but less than two, they would charge me for 2 HCF.
  • My estimated water cost for this 10-nozzle system would be $3.44 for the month.
  • My estimated water use would be 1,200 gallons to keep a number of people comfortable for an entire month.

This is about how much water it takes to grow and transport the produce, grow, transport, and cook the bread, and grow, transport, and cook the beef for 2 hamburgers.

Details about misting systems are in our in-depth series,
The 3 Parts of a Misting System.
1. Misting Pumps – the heart of a strong misting system
2. Lines & Connectors that tie it all together
3. Estimating Water Use, Nozzles and the quality of the mist.

Finally, Installation Tips and Maintenance Tips will help you with some “nuts & bolts” issues.

Other Outdoor Cooling Methods

Take a look at our comparison page or our pages on other outdoor cooling methods.

While misting systems work well on their own, they can combine with other cooling methods, such as outdoor fans for added cooling effect. Misting fans are a clear example of how misting systems work with another cooling method to maximize cooling. Outdoor shades are a nearly universal solution that work well with any outdoor cooling method.

Swamp coolers (desert coolers) use a similar technology as misting systems, but in a contained unit.

Portable air conditioners are especially suited to enclosed areas and special circumstances.