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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.

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