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Staying Cool in the Great Outdoors

Staying Cool in the Great Outdoors


Forced indoors to escape the heat? Sitting inside in the AC does not compare to a seat under the stars on a summer night. As you examine choices for cooling your outdoor space, you’ll need to weigh each option’s pros and cons.

Evaporative Coolers

Evaporative coolers, also known as swamp coolers, employ the principles of evaporation to cool. Portable evaporative coolers can be placed on patios or decks and cool the air around them while using a quarter of the electricity of an AC unit.

Evaporative coolers not only cool, they move air, acting as a deterrent to flying bugs invading your deck or patio. Evaporative coolers also offer great cooling versatility as they can be used indoors as well as outdoors.

However, evaporative coolers come by their nickname honestly. The water dampened pad the air passes through to be cooled collects dirt, mold, and other allergens. These trapped particles give the air it expels a swampy odor, especially if the coolers are not drained and cleaned at least once a month. Another downside is they tend to be noisy and take up ample floor space.

Misting Fans

Misting fans are a great option for cooling down an outdoor space and they work best in arid climates such as ours. As water evaporates it takes the heat in the air with it, lowering the temperature by harnessing the same technology your body uses when it sweats. Misting fans can lower the ambient temperature by as much as 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Misting fans can be a simple portable ground fan or a ceiling fan that’s hardwired into an overhead pergola. Misting ceiling fans are mounted and wired similar to a typical ceiling fan but require a plumbed water source. As with all ceiling fans, 3 blades are best for optimum airflow.

Portable misting fans are inexpensive and connect to either a garden hose or have an internal tank you fill ahead of time. Even easier, you can purchase a misting ring that attaches to any standard fan and converts it to a misting fan.

Misting fans are remarkably efficient with both with water and energy, and they possess benefits that go beyond cooling. For example, the mist created by misting fans cleans the air of contaminates as it cools it, improving the air quality. Unlike evaporative coolers, misting fans actually reduce pollutants and odors in the air.

High Velocity Fans

It’s difficult to talk about any fan without talking about its ability to move air or its CFM (cubic feet per minute). High velocity fans are ideal for outdoor spaces. When you’re shopping for a high velocity fan you want to find one that’s between 5,000 and 6,000 CFM. CFM between 4,000 to 5,000 is good, 5,000 to 6,000 is even better, and over 6,000 is the best.

These fans are an especially good option when the installation of a ceiling fan is not possible. They’re portable, relatively inexpensive, and when used indoors, high velocity fans have been known to cool so well they replace air conditioning.

The downside? They’re noisy. As a fan’s ability to move air increases so does its noise. But if you do your research, there are high velocity fans you don’t have to yell over while visiting with friends. Sometimes it’s worth paying up for cooling without the noise.

Keep in Mind

Mixing water and electricity should be treated with caution, and a professional consulted for anything hard-wired. When operating a portable evaporative cooler or misting fan, be sure it’s plugged into a GFI protected outlet. This way if the water and the electricity do mix, the outlet will trip and shut down the electricity.

Stay safe and cool while you make the most of these long, hot summer days.


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