How to Choose a Great Misting System
Look for system integrity & balance, and an experienced supplier
If you already understand how a misting system works and have an idea of what you want, you’ll need to know a few things about shopping for that system.
Are all Misting Systems High-Pressure?
Understand the descriptions each supplier uses for their parts and their systems. For example, one supplier describes their system as “High-pressure – up to 100 psi”. By most definitions, anything under 250 psi is low-pressure. That systems will likely get things wet, but for a group that doesn’t mind getting a little wet on a hot day, that’s not a problem.
One supplier says their system yields a “fine mist” of 50-80 microns. By the definitions of this site, that would be a coarse mist that could get things wet.
Yet another may describe their system as having “Very quiet operation”. Without some kind of measurement or demonstration, this could be as “quiet” as a truck.
Learn how water pressure affects how much cooling you can expect from your misting system in “What Makes a Great Misting System?“
Learn more about misting nozzles and how they affect the quality of the spray.
Learn more about misting system pumps.
Do All Misting Systems Need a Pump?
But if you purchase those system thinking they will impress your guests and cool the area by 30ºF (17ºC), you’ll be very disappointed. Only systems with a pump can approach that level of cooling.
Following are some typical temperature reductions you can expect with a truly high-pressure system of 700 psi or more. Low- and mid-pressure systems will have less cooling effect:
- as much as 10° F / 5.5°C in areas with humidity above 80%: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Bangkok, Thailand; Darjeeling, India; Darwin, Australia
- as much as 20°F / 11°C in areas with humidity between 40% and 80%: Orlando, FL, USA; Sydney, Australia; Vancouver, Canada; Los Angeles, CA
- as much as 30°F / 16.5°C or more in areas with humidity below 40%: Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cairo, Egypt; Abadan, Iran; Baghdad, Iraq
You can find out the monthly average humidity levels where you live by searching for your city at https://www.timeanddate.com/ (Go to Climate under the Weather tab and Show under the chart.)
These may be perfectly effective systems, but you need to know exactly what you’ll be purchasing to be assured it will work the way you expect. Most suppliers simplify their descriptions to avoid confusion or to persuade you to buy. The detail and data involved in some of the high-end misting systems can be truly dizzying.
Make sure you have enough information to make a decision you’re comfortable with by reading through our pages and by connecting with your supplier.
The supplier needs to be honest about the system’s limitations. Only by being aware of the limitations AND the abilities can you decide which system, which supplier is right for YOU. Suppliers generally won’t take returns, so make sure you know as much as possible about the system and the company that sells it.
Shop for an Experienced Misting System Supplier
Use this site to make some basic decisions about your cooling needs and get a general idea of the misting system you want. Then, unlike some other cooling options, shop by supplier: manufacturer / system designer / retailer / wholesaler for a system, instead of shopping for individual parts with multiple suppliers.
Unless you enjoy DIY projects, you can avoid some headaches by purchasing all parts of the system from the same supplier. They are responsible to make sure all their parts work together and have a stake in the proper working of the system because their reputation depends on it. If their system doesn’t work properly, you have some recourse by taking it up with that supplier. If you work with different suppliers, you have no recourse in that regard.
The best suppliers will really work with you, whether it’s in person, over the phone or the website, or with informative packaging that includes contact information. They know there are some important variables to be aware of. They know you’ll have a lot of questions. Many of the decisions you must make are judgement calls and a matter of personal preference. Make use of their experience. It is invaluable. Keep in mind the supplier’s integrity is as important as the system’s integrity.
Misting System Integrity and Balance
Integrity: Consistent pressure ratings
There are only a few different parts used in a basic misting system, but they all need to be rated for the same range of water pressures. For example, low-pressure lines (pipes, tubing) and connections may be damaged by a pump rated for high pressure. Then you’d have to take out all the low-pressure lines and replace with the compatible high-pressure lines, making sure it will work with your existing nozzles and fittings. So before you buy be sure all parts of the system are rated to work with the same range of water pressures.
Integrity: A balanced misting system
A great misting system balances water pressure, flow rate (water volume), size of nozzles, and number of nozzles. A great misting system also takes your climate into consideration, the complexity of the layout, and how you will be using it.
Balancing all of these elements takes on special importance when the installation is permanent and the price stretches your budget.
Custom Misting Systems
There is something of an art to balancing all the elements of a system with your site and your activities. High-pressure systems and large systems can benefit from the expertise of an excellent supplier who specializes in these kinds of systems. Look for a supplier who is familiar with your climate – suppliers located in your general area are often a good choice.
You can work with a well-chosen supplier to decide if you need a standard or custom system. Together you can determine what your needs are and the best way to address them. Not all companies handle custom systems though, so understanding misting systems and your needs will help you decide which company is best for you. There’s not much point in paying for a custom system you simply don’t need, or in being disappointed in a system that just doesn’t measure up to your needs.
Misting System Kits
An advantage of misting system kits is that compatible components have already been collected. You first decide on your cooling needs and budget and which water pressure range you want to use. From there you decide among kits fitting your needs. A kit contains an assortment of components that have been pre-selected to work in a certain pressure range. Some systems, usually Low to Medium pressure, can be purchased right off the shelf of your local hardware store. Others can be selected online with a wide range of options. You can install many of these yourself (better if you have someone helping you, though). It does take some careful planning (which a supplier will help you with) and a bit of work, but installation could generally be done in about a day or two.
Kits typically include:
- A specified number of nozzles in a size that works with the pump’s flow rate and water pressure
- A specified length and diameter of water supply line in a specified material that also works with the pump’s flow rate and water pressure
- All fittings needed to assemble a system of a pre-set size and water pressure
- An end plug
- A certain number of line mounts to attach the lines to a structure
- A pump, if needed
- Installation & operation instruction manual
- Warranty information
- Contact information for installation and operation help and advice.
The supplier may offer no options for the simplest systems or many options for a much more customized system. These options, of course, should be rated and sized to work with the kit you’ve selected. Some of these options can be added at a later time:
- Filters for the pump
- Line material
- Number of fittings, mounts, nozzles
- Nozzle orifice and features
- Reservoir size on portable systems
It’s reasonable to assume all components in a kit will be rated and sized to work together. But mistakes can happen. Review your order before you place it and when you receive it to make sure the parts are compatible with each other, and that they are exactly what you ordered.
Note that with low- and mid-pressure systems, variations in the system setup can affect the water pressure. Going “uphill” and around corners can cause the water pressure to drop a bit. In these cases, consider getting a pump that supplies a bit more water pressure.
Questions for misting system or parts suppliers
This list may spark some questions of your own.
- How long have they been in business manufacturing / designing / installing?
- Do they have special experience in any particular applications, such as residential, industrial, sports, commercial, resort, restaurant, agricultural, etc.?
- Do they have special experience with any particular kind of misting system, such as permanent, portable, Low- Medium- or High pressure, etc.?
- Where is their business located? Will they install in your area?
- Who will measure for the system — You? Them? Another installer?
- Who will install the system — You? Them? Another installer?
- Do they have references for a licensed and bonded installer in your area?
- Is the cost of installation included in the price of the system?
- Whoever installs it, what should you do if you have problems with installation? Must you hire someone to come out every time the system needs cleaning or adjustment, or can you do that yourself without voiding any warranty?
- Is there a warranty on any part of the system?
- What does the warranty cover? What are its limitations?
- How does installing it yourself affect any warranties?
- What should you do if there are any problems or questions with the system after it’s been installed?
- Do they have a help line? What days and hours is the help line available? What’s the wait / response time?
- Do they have references you can contact before purchase? Seeing and feeling the operation of a system in your area can help you understand how any particular system performs far better than a verbal description.
- Do they have any systems / installation in your area that you can see?
- How do you get replacement parts?
- Do they have a maintenance plan?
- If the system is being shipped to you, what carrier will be used?
- What will shipping charges be?
- When can you expect to receive it?
- How will it be packaged? In one box or several? How heavy will the box(es) be?
- What should you do if components are missing or damaged?
- What is their return policy?
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.