Most people invest in a misting system to cool off in hot weather. A misting system will decrease the temperature by up to 30 degrees through a fine water mist that cools as it sprays over you. Misting systems are popular at theme parks, community parks and other social events where people will be outdoors in the heat and need to cool down. Misting systems are reasonably priced for the individual home/land owner also. A pressurized system can be more costly and perhaps better suited for commercial users.. A home misting system takes water from a garden hose with normal domestic pressure and forces water through ⅜” tubing and then out through the misting heads which further reduces the water to a mist where it disperses in the air. Misting systems can run as low as forty dollars or for the more sophisticated pressure systems several hundred dollars.
A few years ago we had a wildfire audit by a professional wildfire expert who noticed in other parts of the country he had encountered homes that survived wildfires by using a misting system to keep wooden exposed parts of homes damp. They are not a fail safe or quick fix system nor do they replace the conventional means of protecting structures like removing any combustible material a safe perimeter from the structure. They are a device that will dampen combustible exposed wood if conditions are right. Most wildfires are amplified by wind and wind will also blow mist way from its intended purpose so if a mist system is used the possibility of wind should be considered. The nozzles in the system we have are adjustable and allow for a fine mist or heavier mist.
When the misting system was described to me I immediately saw the practicality of such a system but recognized it was just one tool in what needs to be a full arsenal in wildfire protection. Due to circumstances or application it may or may not work but I concluded that it was a reasonably priced tool that should be available if needed. I am told that a wildfire can send hot embers up to a mile ahead of the main fire. A misting system that is adjustable in volume and direction may help in such an event as long distance embers. The system we selected can direct mist up or down and also the volume of water or mist emitted.
A misting system once installed only needs minimal maintenance. The actual misting heads are easily removed so when the temperatures turn cold they can be removed and stored inside. Also a misting system does not drain a well of its content because it uses less water to operate. I have heard others say they will use their garden hose or a water sprinkler to fight a wildfire. While that may work it will exhaust the domestic well content much faster than a mist system. A mist system will run for days turning very little water into a mist, therefore using less water and providing longer protection. If left in place the mist heads need to be soaked in a lime dissolver like white vinegar if your well has any minerals in it before it is used each year. If using the water hose system the lines should also be flushed out before use each year to eliminate debris in the lines or insects that may have made the lines their home. Since water - even mist - is heavier than air we installed our line 7’ from deck level to wet the house front and also the deck.
I have concluded that any tool respective of how effective is worth having if you live in a heavily wooded area remotely. We have a backup system wherein we keep two 55 gallon drums full of water with a hand pump on each if needed. I would not recommend a mist system as a primary deterrent to a wildfire but consider having one installed as an excellent supplement to assist in keeping embers from sparking new fires. It also can be used on very hot days to cool off in the refreshing mist. The photos included in this blog are photos taken by myself of our system.
For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray and their lifestyle in their small cabin in a remote area where they live with their three German Shepherd Dogs go to:www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com
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