Outdoor Patio Cooling - How To Keep Cool Outside
Keep cool outdoors when the shade isn't enough.
After moving into the shade, there isn't too much else you can do to
keep cool right? Well, we have a couple of ideas. We have one solution
that can knock up to 30° (F)
off the temperature.
Keeping cool isn't just a matter of reducing air temperature. You can
also feel cooler via a wind chill effect or via evaporative
cooling. Wind chill is the difference between the actual temperature
and how it feels to you. Your body has an envelope of air around it.
When the envelope is removed and replaced by the ambient air,
you notice the difference. A breeze makes you feel cooler because of
the wind chill factor. Evaporative cooling occurs when water evaporates.
Water on your skin (perspiration) evaporates and makes you feel cooler.
So if you employ these techniques outdoors on your patio, you and your
guests can stay cooler. Let's start with a fan. There are a variety of
outdoor fans on the market. Some are rated for damp locations, which
means they can be used outdoors, but they should be protected from direct
contact with rain and other water. Devices rated for wet locations can
be exposed directly to the weather, including rain. One or more high
velocity fans can be mounted to create cross flow in your outdoor area.
However, the strong breeze can be annoying and tends to blow away napkins
and lightweight objects. Instead we recommend an outdoor ceiling fan
as a way to create the desired affect. Another advantage is the breeze
tends to keep away flying insects.
For evaporative cooling, you could install a kind of sprinkler system.
A system of sprinklers spray a fine spray of water that gently settles
over your patio. However, for this to work, everyone and everything gets
wet. In some settings, this might be acceptable, possibly poolside. But
in most cases, this would be unacceptable. So instead of direct evaporative
cooling, another option exists, one that does cool the surrounding air.
Outdoor misting or fogging systems spray a mist so fine that the
particles of water evaporate before they reach the ground. How this helps
is that for a particle of water to evaporate, it requires energy. The
available energy happens to be heat. So when a particle of water evaporates,
it takes some of the heat energy away, thus making it cooler. When a
cloud of mist evaporates, the temperature can drop as much as 30° (F).
Another nice thing about the physics of this process is that cool air
falls while warm air rises. So anyone seated beneath this cooling system
feels the effects.
Outdoor misting systems, are most effective in areas with low relative
humidity. If there is already too much moisture in the air, the mist
may not be able to evaporate. Also the temperature needs to be warm enough
to evaporate the particles. However, if the water does not evaporate,
the very fine mist itself will feel cooling.
If you are wondering if these systems really work, just look at who
is using them. City governments have installed them in public areas,
theme parks, including Disney World, use them to keep people cool in
line, restaurants and hotels keep their patrons comfortable. They are
effective and growing in popularity.