Estimating the Costs of a Misting System


misting system cooling down a patio in the evening

Initial Costs



The initial cost of your misting system will vary tremendously. Naturally, the larger, more powerful and higher quality systems with more features will cost more, with large custom systems costing the most. However, Low pressure units and kits that work with ordinary household water pressures are available off the shelf for under $100.00.

Please note that all estimates noted here are in U.S. dollars.

The pump will likely be the most expensive feature of any Medium or High pressure system. Price is a reflection of the pump's resulting water pressure, flow rate, pump features and quality of construction. As a general guideline, you can figure on $1 - $2 per psi / $16 -$32 per bar of resulting water pressure for a residential or commercial pump. Industrial pumps can go up to $3 per psi / $40 per bar. Custom-built pumps can certainly fit within these price ranges, or go even higher depending on how they are configured.


Prices for the lines will depend on the length and materials of the line. Flexible nylon lines are available for under $1 per foot, and prices range up to $3.50 per foot for stainless steel.

Nozzle prices will depend mostly on their materials and construction, with some variation based on the orifice size. I've seen them priced from under $2 each to over $4 each.

There are hundreds of options that you might find necessary, helpful, or simply nice to include in your system. I've touched on a few of them throughout our pages on misting systems. You'll find them mostly in the 3-part series that includes misting pumps, lines, and nozzles. Of course using any of these will add to the cost of your system. Whether to include these options can certainly make your head spin (and your budget, too)!

One way to deal with some of this cost uncertainty is to purchase a kit. These have pre-assembled components that are all designed to work together. These kits list right up front what their total cost is. Many of these kits can be customized. Just keep in mind such customization will affect the cost.

Costs of Installation

Whether you purchase misting system components separately or in a kit, you'll also need to consider the cost of installation. If your system is a portable unit, though, you can skip this part because it is a self-contained unit that only needs to be filled with water and plugged in.

If you install your misting system yourself the cost of installation might be the time involved, the price of some tools such as a ladder and a power drill, or the price of a nice meal for anyone who helps. The cost to have it professionally installed will depend on labor costs in your area. It will likely cost more to hire an installer who is a certfied electrician, plumber, or who is familiar with misting systems and who can advise you with installation, than it would cost to hire someone who is not.

BUYER BEWARE

I saw some "high pressure" kits available for under $400, but upon further investigation I learned these "high pressure" systems came with 100 psi pumps -- not even powerful enough to qualify for a Medium pressure system according to this site's definitions at 250 psi. They talk about a 50 - 80 micron mist as "floating on air". But that size droplet will likely get everything wet. Personally, I would need to do a lot more research into this company and their products before I give them my money.

Another misting system was advertised as using a "high pressure pump" (nowhere in their specifications could I find out what the water pressure would be) and emitting "tiny" droplets of ".01mm" that "can float on air". (equivalent to 100 microns -- the size that could be expected from a Low pressure system)

These advertisers are not necessarily being deceptive. It could be argued that they are simplifying or taking "creative license" with their descriptions. You really need to know the facts about misting systems in general and advertised systems in particular so that you are armed against this kind of "creativity." You'll find lots of information throughout our misting system pages.

When it comes to a misting system, it is so important to know what you're buying and who you're buying from. To understand what I mean by this, you might want to take another look at our page on Finding a Great Misting System.

Estimating Operating Costs

The cost to operate your system is something else you might want to get a handle on. You can get this estimate by figuring the system's electricity and water use.

Electricity use is determined by the amount of electricity your pump uses -- its wattage. The pump is the only component that uses electricity. If you use a low pressure system that doesn't use a pump, you don't have to worry about electricity use at all -- one advantage of a low pressure system.

When you buy electricity you are charged by the kilowatt-hour (kWh). Using 1,000 watts for 1 hour equals a kilowatt-hour.

You can use this formula to estimate a pump's energy use:
Wattage × Hours Used Per Day ÷ 1000 = Daily Kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption

  • Here's an example:
  • One pump I saw uses 750 watts of electricity. If I wanted to use it for four hours a day I would be using 3000 watts (750 x 4 = 3000), which is the same as 3 Kilowatt-hours (3,000 Watts divided by 1,000 = 3 kilowatts).
  • I then need to learn how much my local electric company charges me for each kilowatt-hour. My electric company charges me $.10 US per kilowatt-hour.
  • 3 kilowatt-hours multiplied by $.10 tells me this pump will cost me $.30 in electricity each 4-hour day I use it.

To recap, you would need to use the wattage for the pump you are considering, estimate how many hours a day you will use it and multiply those numbers together. Divide by 1,000 to get the number of kilowatt-hours. Then multiply the number you get by how much your electric company charges per kilowatt-hour.

Estimating Water Costs

Water use is measured by the flow rate per hour of a misting nozzle on your system multiplied by the total number of nozzles your system uses. Once you know how much water your system uses you can estimate the water costs. See the page on Estimating Water Use and Nozzles to learn how to estimate how much water your misting system will use.

Now you need to know how much water costs in your area. Check your local water supplier for your water costs.

You can use this formula to estimate a misting system's water use:
Flow rate (GPH / LPH) × Number of Nozzles × Cost per gallon / Cost per liter
charged by your local water company = Estimated Water Cost for 1 hour of use

  • Here's an example:
  • Once I know the water pressure I want to use I can pick out a nozzle.
  • I look up my nozzle on a flow rate chart. I'll use the general numbers from the flow rate chart above, keeping in mind that numbers for any particular nozzle will vary from this.
  • My water rate multiplied by a nozzle that uses, let's say 13.5 GPH / 51.1 LPH is $.81 US.
  • If this system has 10 nozzles it will use 130.5 GPH / 510 LPH.

This misting system would cost me about $8.10 for water for each hour I want to use it. Your water cost for this same system would depend on water costs in your area.


Interested in learning even more?

  • To learn more about other outdoor cooling solutions that use evaporation, see our page on evaporative coolers.
  • To compare misting systems with other outdoor cooling solutions, visit our comparison page.

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