Cool mist humidifier for direct & effective evap cooling

Swamp Coolers, Cooler Management, Dry Ice, Misting Systems, and just plain how to beat the heat.
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BrotherNomad
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Cool mist humidifier for direct & effective evap cooling

Post by BrotherNomad » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:01 am

In Reno post-BRC 2015, I was in a big box warehouse store and saw a humidifier with a cool mist function. I waved my hand in front of the mist to gauge the cooling effect, and found it to be like A/C; even in the climate controlled store. One of them left the store with me, and stayed in the box until I arrived back in San Jose, CA.

I played with it and felt some cooling even at 50% humidity. Because it is a fine mist versus atomic particles of water from a bucket cooler, it has a lot more surface area. The one I have is a PureGuardian® 120-Hour 2-Gallon Ultrasonic Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier, send me a PM for details or search around online.

The mist from this humidifier is an ultrafine cool mist, cool like spray bottle mist or misting system mist but with smaller particles. Smaller water particles mean more surface area, which means more cooling in the city on the dust. For those who need to pack tight and light, the 2 gallon capacity one (largest I've seen) I have is smaller than a 5 gallon bucket. Plus they consume less than 50 watts AC (an inverter is required if powering from batteries). Dust can't cloud the water, unlike with bucket coolers. Some large humidifiers can be packed with Artica ice if theres no water. It can be placed indoors and/or out of the sun. Some have timers, and intermittency settings, and mist intensity settings. Most have auto-shut off when out of water. It has the added benefit of being useful off-playa, unlike most peoples bucket coolers that sit unused for 50 weeks out of the year.

There are even 12v car humidifiers that can go in the cupholder, and be powered straight from a car battery or regulated solar power.

This hasn't been playa tested as-far-as-I-know, this sounds like a great means of indoor direct & effective evaporative cooling.

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Jackass
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Re: Cool mist humidifier for direct & effective evap cooling

Post by Jackass » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:21 am

Sounds to me as though you have an axe to grind with Figjam and his epic, playa-tested, world famous bucket cooler. What's the beef, can't accept that his design is on point and does exactly what it was designed to do or what?
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Re: Cool mist humidifier for direct & effective evap cooling

Post by asr9754 » Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:41 am

Sounds interesting. Mist is quite nice in the desert. That machine doesn't force much air, so the cooling effect would be limited to right in front of the device. I like my swampie because it has a powerful fan and actively circulates cool air into my structure, but a misting station could be OK too for spot-cooling and it's quite refreshing to be misted. Note that evaporative cooing has two components: adding humidity is just one portion of the cooling effect, the other portion is active circulation of new cool air into the structure and venting the old/warm/humid air to the outside. The humidifier only does one of these things. I don't like the sound of that 50watts AC though, since I run off batteries. If your plan is to run it off 12V batteries, hook it up at home and see how long the batteries last, it sounds like a power hog. You lose efficiency running the 12V thru an inverter to an AC device.
Test it out and see how it works! That's science, and very Da Vinci-esque.

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Re: Cool mist humidifier for direct & effective evap cooling

Post by trilobyte » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:03 am

I'm not sure how Da Vinci-esque buying an off-the-shelf appliance is... but it could end up working for you, give it a shot. I've had friends who've tried variations of 'bring appliance to Burning Man' to solve things, but invariably they all discover that once they brought out whatever thing it was they wanted to bring, it's forever changed by the experience and the appliance doesn't get used at home anymore. Your mileage may vary, of course, it all depends on the environment you build and then use it in.

Personally, I just haven't had a need to bother. During the day gets hot as hell, but if I'm moving around (riding my trike somewhere) or under a decent shade structure it's pretty bearable, and I have plenty of decent shade around my camp (no walking around crouched or any of that stuff).

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Canoe
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Re: Cool mist humidifier for direct & effective evap cooling

Post by Canoe » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:46 am

BrotherNomad wrote:... This hasn't been playa tested as-far-as-I-know, this sounds like a great means of indoor direct & effective evaporative cooling.
There are so many things wrong with that. You've got some partial understanding behind what you experienced, but you've extrapolated that into conclusions, some of which are incorrect.

If you don't mind the various issues with providing power on the playa (tons of threads covering various issues on that) for use by an ultrasonic humidifier, there are situations on the playa where you and others would enjoy that mist.

That mist doesn't cool because it has lots of surface area. The mist applies to you and your clothes, which can then evaporate away and provide cooling (remember your experience in the store). That surface area does mean that as it's falling towards you, it is evaporating away, with the remaining mist lowering it's temperature due to that, so it's even cooler when it lands than it was coming out of the humidifier. Kinda nice. If you had a mister setup for people to walk through its mist, people on the playa do enjoy their mist.

To get an idea how your ultrasonic humidifier would work on the playa, look at people using hand-held spray bottles (preferably the ones with good pumps and nozzles that mist very fine and very well; professional cleaning stores have some amazing ones in the $4 to $6 range). You know how spray bottles work, most misters use electrical water pumps, some use an air pressurized sprayer (not a garden sprayer that has been used with chemicals please), your humidifier would use power for the ultrasonic disc and its fan. (fan: do note that playa dust has a reputation of messing up electrical things; which is why we like playa-tested stuff.) Do watch out for playa dust getting onto the ultrasonic disc and needing cleaning to prevent it impeding the misting. You'll get some dust in the water reservoir; as you'll end up cleaning the disc so no difference there, and while the dust can interfere some with the seal on the water tank, that only matters while you're setting the tank into place.

For cooling your playa sleeping structure, look at what happens with the old tried and true method of cooling with a spray bottle. Spray the mist, instant cooling; the dry hot (often dusty) air evaporates, cooling. There's heat coming into the structure from outside and the people inside it are providing heat too. Over time with mist application, the inside becomes hot & humid. The mist no longer cools. The mist on you no longer cools. But if you open up the door and let dry hot (dusty) air replace the hot humid air inside (happens faster if there's a breeze), then you're back to your starting point (hot dry air in your structure) and you can mist again and experience some cool. All your ultrasonic humidifier means is that you don't have to squeeze a bottle (and you need to provide power).

Whereas, if you use an evaporative cooler (for example, the bucket cooler), it provides cooled air (with some humidity), either blowing over you or blowing into a structure to fill it with that cooled air. Sized and installed appropriately, the incoming cool air pushes the hot air out of the structure. Power efficiency and noise are concerns too. What works well on the playa, are evaporative coolers that are not affected by dust in their intake air: with that dust getting washed off the evaporative pads so cooling isn't affected, while the dust trapping, washing and airflow means that the air you're blowing into your structure is 99 44/100 % dust free.

P.S.
bucket coolers don't cool people because of "atomic particles of water from a bucket cooler".
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Re: Cool mist humidifier for direct & effective evap cooling

Post by Dr. Pyro » Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:05 pm

...talk about your buzzkills...

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Re: Cool mist humidifier for direct & effective evap cooling

Post by BrotherNomad » Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:31 pm

The cool mist humidifier makes a great supplement to a bucket cooler, provided one has the power and space for it. The bucket cooler changing the air with the mister placed up high and on the side of the structure where the bucket cooler is blowing in, helping cool the space down even more.
Over time with mist application, the inside becomes hot & humid. The mist no longer cools. The mist on you no longer cools. But if you open up the door and let dry hot (dusty) air replace the hot humid air inside (happens faster if there's a breeze), then you're back to your starting point (hot dry air in your structure) and you can mist again and experience some cool.
Yes, air exchange IS needed for evaporative cooling.
If you had a mister setup for people to walk through its mist, people on the playa do enjoy their mist.
MIST TUNNEL!

The cool mist humidifiers could be great for turn-key misting systems (provided the water is dust-filtered first).

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Re: Cool mist humidifier for direct & effective evap cooling

Post by BrotherNomad » Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:50 pm

Do not use a cool mist humidifier as your primary cooling appliance.

Because when I was in Las Vegas For the carnival of electric daisy in 2016 the cool mist humidifier only delivered a few degrees of noticable temperature drop with considerable air exchange in the van for dry Las Vegas air. I guess the micro water droplets don't absorb much latent heat like water vapor does. My idea was the cool mist humidifier would act like a misting system, which have a noticable temperature drop even in florida. A misting system on a restarant patio in Florida is better than nothing.

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Canoe
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Re: Cool mist humidifier for direct & effective evap cooling

Post by Canoe » Sat Aug 20, 2016 5:17 am

BrotherNomad wrote:... I guess the micro water droplets don't absorb much latent heat like water vapor does...
Nope.
The 'water vapor' does not absorb latent heat; it's already vapor.
The cooling is done in the swamp cooler as the incoming hot dry air is cooled when it blows through the pad as the water flowing on the pad converts to water vapor.
The swamp cooler blows that cooled (and now also moist) air into your structure, replacing the hot dry dusty air, forcing it out through the necessary exhaust vent.

You need to stop guessing. If you want on-playa cooling, I'd strongly suggest you build one of Figjam's proven designs, without varying anything.
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BrotherNomad
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Re: Cool mist humidifier for direct & effective evap cooling

Post by BrotherNomad » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:26 pm

You need to stop guessing. If you want on-playa cooling, I'd strongly suggest you build one of Figjam's proven designs, without varying anything.


I have built a bucket cooler with the proven design, down to the fan and pump. I found it didn't provide a scaled down version of the cooling like big residential evaporative coolers provide, probably due to not enough airflow and/or surface area. So I built an upgraded one with a roadpro tornado fan and bilge pump, with the addition of a bottom bucket for a reservoir. Yes, I do know the limits of evaporative cooling, 30 degree temperature drop with an ideal cooler in ideal conditions.

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Re: Cool mist humidifier for direct & effective evap cooling

Post by AntiM » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:17 am

We get a 20 to 30 degree drop with a Figjam bucket, but we are cooling small tents under shade. This year we didn't really need to run it, but we did as we were using it to evap off clean excess ice melt. Keep the tent almost pressurized and we had even less dust in the tent than usual, which is next to none anyway. Ran it off solar panels, so sometimes it would lag a bit, but it worked like a charm. Tent was always pleasant. Mist would have been damp and wretched in the long run. In the shade area, during hot years, mist would be nice, but not in an enclosed tent.

I think part of this is I am used to having evap cooling, it is what we use at home. Making it work includes opening windows in the rooms you want cooled. Same thing on the playa, snorkel it in the door, and leave the back window unzipped a tiny bit.

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Re: Cool mist humidifier for direct & effective evap cooling

Post by Skuzzy61 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:50 am

I have to say I was blown away (well,..almost that one night :)) by the moderate temperatures on the Playa this year. For our first burn, I am pretty sure it could not have been better.

We only had to run the A/C in the RV a couple of hours a day.

I was perfectly comfortable all week outside.
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