Installing a patio misting system is simple in theory, but not always so easy to do in practice. We've seen and helped out with thousands of misting installations over the years and let us tell you, if you're struggling or worried about getting confused, you're not alone. Misting requires many pieces to be fit together in one continuous water-tight system,
which means there are plenty of opportunities to make mistakes along the way. Fortunately, these mistakes are usually easy to spot and fix. And with the help of today's reel of common misting installation bloopers and solutions, you can avoid all of the most common mistakes before even getting started.
1) Loose Connections
By far the most common misting mistake is forgetting to tighten your joints. Because a misting system involves a fair number of nozzles, joints, and elbows, this can be a lot of individual pieces to tighten and it's incredibly easy to forget just one or two along the way. Some misting installers, in fact, forget that water will be running through the system and don't take the time to tighten anything at all. And you can imagine what happens when the pressurized water does start to fly.
The best way to make sure you don't miss anything is to make tightening an automatic part of your installation process. Every time you connect a piece, tighten it completely. And double-check when you're securing the misting system in place, twisting each piece tightly together as you go. If you have any skills in plumbing, use your knowledge to secure the joints. The good news is that if you do miss one or two joints, it will be easy to identify because of the spray or steady drip of escaping water when the system runs.
2) Buying a Pump that's Too Small
The size of your pump also matters a great deal. Misting relies on high-pressure water running through the piping which forces water out at some velocity through the tiny holes in the nozzles. This creates a fine wide-spread mist
that will be a delight to you and your guests. But to do this, you need to create the proper amount of PSI. While most misting kits will come with a pump that is guaranteed to do the job with the misting pieces
you have, not all kits come with parts. And many misting owners choose to customize in ways that increase demand on their pump, without actually upgrading the pump itself.
So whether you're building a custom misting setup or your kit simply does not come with the right pump included, you'll need to choose your pump size and power carefully. As a rule of thumb, great misting happens between about 500 and 1000 PSI. Any lower than 500
PSI and your nozzles will start to form larger droplets which feel wet instead of misty. If you are troubleshooting oversized misting droplets or puddles forming under your nozzles, low water pressure from an underpowered pump is the most likely culprit.
3) Excluding Anchor Points
The anchor points for your misting system are what connects them to the structure above the patio. This might be the overhang of your roof, a covered patio awning, or even a decorative wooden arbor. Your anchor points are usually going to be screw-in half-circles of plastic or metal that wrap around the piping and screw into the above structure.
It's easy to think that perhaps you don't need all those tiny anchor points and the effort of screwing them in. After all, the piping and nozzles together are incredibly light, so you should be fine. The oversight here is that high-pressure water flowing through that piping and jetting out the nozzles will make your misting system much heavier when running than it is empty. The last thing you want is for your fantastic new misting system to fail and need to be re-installed because
the full pipe could not be held up by a meager number of anchor points.
If the instructions on the package say to use all the anchor points and to space them at measured intervals, do. That said, it's also okay to improvise a bit if your patio structure makes it hard to 100% match the placement of anchor points. As long as the points are all used, are reasonably spaced, and are anchored well to the overhanging structure.
4) Adding Too Many Extra Nozzles
Every patio is unique, which naturally leads to misting customers getting creative with how they set up their patio misting. Your roof might not provide ample coverage, an inward corner that borders the patio. You might have an awning, an arbor, or even a tent cabana set up ready to be misted. So it comes as no surprise that most misting customers wind up straying at least a bit from the model in the instructions.
But the moment you start adding new nozzles or lengths of pipe, the entire math equation changes. A misting pump included with your kit is calibrated to provide exactly the right amount of pressure for high-quality misting with the pieces you have. An extra nozzle uses up some of that necessary PSI, and multiple extra nozzles put you at serious risk of falling below 500 PSI. And as we mentioned earlier, low PSI will cause larger droplets and dripping from the nozzles.
If you do want to expand your misting system, make sure to upgrade your pump accordingly.
5) Misting Too Heavily
Another common issue with a new misting system is spacing and distribution. Your misting kit likely has the nozzles spaced at intervals between pieces of piping. However, if your patio is smaller than the system assumes, avoid bringing the nozzles closer together. This can result in an unfortunate case of 'over-misting' or misting too heavily. When your nozzles are too close together, the droplets will hit each other in mid-air, become larger, and begin to simulate something more like light rain than a gentle mist.
If your goal is to lightly chill the skin and ease the heat of the summer sun, then concentrated misting will be much too damp. You may also experience over-misting if your PSI is lower than 500, creating larger droplets moving at a slower velocity. Be careful not to mist too heavily to enjoy your patio.
However, there are some situations where heavy misting is your goal. You may be looking to water plants with your misting or provide something more like a waterpark cool-down station instead of misting more appropriate for summer outdoor dining. In this case, we do recommend placing nozzles closer together rather than lowering the PSI.
6) Awkwardly-Placed Misting
Not all patio misting is placed overhead. Depending on your patio and ideas for mounting your misting system, you might want to shoot mist up from the ground (less efficient, but very pretty and good for plants) or at waist-level instead. However, be very careful about where you aim your misting nozzles if you choose to bring them down to eye-level or below. Misting right at eye-level can catch people in the face. Which is pleasant and cooling at a distance but not so great at high-velocity right next to the nozzle.
But the worst/funniest misting bloopers of all occur when someone thinks they're being clever by pointing their mist up from the paved edge of the patio or garden walk. If your mist is light enough, or if all your guests are clad in bathing suits, this can work well. But if anyone is wearing pants that show water droplets or a skirt that can be caught in the spray, you're going to have some very surprised and awkwardly uncomfortable guests.
7) Not Accounting for Hard Water
Do your taps run hard water? Hard water contains an excess of harmless chalky minerals like calcium and magnesium. Homes and businesses with hard water tend to deal with water spots on dishes and water deposit residue, known as scale
, which has to be scrubbed off of sinks and tubs on a regular basis. Hard water tends to be regional and if your taps run hard water, this is bad news for misting.
Misting nozzle holes are incredibly tiny in order to create that delightfully fine mist that hangs in the air. The scale buildup from hard water can clog these tiny holes very quickly. Scale buildup first reduces the function of your misting system and, over time, can permanently damage the nozzles. it can also build up inside and even clog the pipes themselves. This is why most misting systems include a three-chamber filtration system between the tap and the pump. This filter removes calcium, magnesium, and other small particles in the water that might clog or damage your misting system.
Skipping the filter is a bad idea for any system because no tap water is perfect. But it's especially dangerous to your misting system if your taps run hard water.
8) Creating a Slippery Environment
Finally, we come to the slipperiness. This may seem like a trivial concern but you want to be very aware of whether misting can cause your patio to become slippery when lightly damp. Remember the kind of tile or pavement that your patio is made of when planning your misting installation. Misting doesn't put a lot of water on the ground, because many of those tiny droplets evaporate rather than forming puddles over time. But it does get your pavement a little moist and the less porous that pavement is, the more of a slipping hazard misting can create.
Misting can work for any kind of patio from concrete to mosaic paving stones. But you do want to be aware of just how slippery your patio can get. If your patio pavement is prone to high amounts of slipperiness in the rain or after a spill, be very careful about how heavily you mist. The best way to test this is simply to pour a little water on the ground and slide your foot over the pavement. If you've still got traction in a puddle, everything is fine. If your pavement becomes highly slippery, make sure to mist lightly and/or increase the traction of walkways along your patio for guest safety.
Every misting installation is a unique experience shaped by your patio, the misting kit you chose to start with, and how you decide to place your nozzles. Hopefully, knowing about these common mistakes and how to avoid or solve them will help you perfect your own misting installation experience the first time around. For more great insights on misting or to discover the right misting solutions for your patio space, contact us