Water Pump for Misting Fan?
September 29, 2010 5:11 PM   Subscribe

I want to build a misting fan, but I don't have easy access to a garden hose tap, so I want to use a pump to generate pressure. Where can I find such a pump?

So in a few months I'm going to be moving into an apartment with a balcony, and I'd really like to build a misting fan to put out there on hot days. Easy enough, I just need to get some misting nozzles and put them directly in front or behind a box fan.

The problem is that since I'm in an apartment, I can't exactly screw in a garden hose and use that for a water supply. Instead, I'm thinking I could fill a 5-gallon bucket with water and stick a tube in it, and then use a pump to generate the necessary pressure to run the misting system. So 2 questions:

a) Where can I find such a pump?
b) Is this feasible? Will my misting system blow through a 5 gallon bucket in no time, or will it last me at least an hour or two?

Bonus points if the pump is fairly quiet. I'd rather it not be any louder than the fan, for example.
posted by DMan to Shopping (6 answers total)
The problem is that since I'm in an apartment, I can't exactly screw in a garden hose and use that for a water supply

You can, if you're willing to add an adaptor to your kitchen sink. The adaptor simply replaces the faucet tip that's on there now, it's a non-destructive and easily reversible change. Downside is there will be a garden hose running through your kitchen to the patio.

Can't help you with the pump idea, though, sorry.
posted by jamaro at 5:23 PM on September 29, 2010

Use a Shurflo RV pump. They'll siphon and self prime. They're pretty quiet, and come
on in pulses (although there is some more advanced plumbing you can do, using a
2 gallon precharged expansion tank, that is nicer to the pump).

If you were crazed, you could feed it from a toilet tank (not the bowl: the tank),
so your reservoir would automatically top itself off when it got low.

So, you'd have a hose from the tank, to the shurflo, and from the output of the
shurflo to your misting heads. Plug the shurflo in, and you're misting.

Make sure you get a pump that has more than enough capacity in gallons per minute
to feed your misting heads (I have seen heads that worked at 2 gallons a minute).

Alternately, put a tee in to one of your stop valves under a sink, and use that as
the supply of pressurized water.
posted by the Real Dan at 5:24 PM on September 29, 2010

Usually the go-to place for stuff like this is McMaster-Carr, where you will find pumps and misting nozzles. However, you are buying industrial - not consumer-grade - equipment from McMaster. the Real Dan suggests a pump that is much less expensive than those from McMaster.

Searching for "misting fan" I found a bunch of items including a USD 50 portable fan that uses screw-top water bottles for the water source, and 12 VDC for power. No idea whether this is worth anything at all, but it might in this case be less hassle to just buy stuff.
posted by jet_silver at 8:14 PM on September 29, 2010

Even a small pump will generate sufficient volume for a mister. Though they only require a small volume, they need to have a very high pressure rating; misting heads are measured in gallons per HOUR, not minute, unless they are very large but require at least 40psi to work properly. Many pumps are measured in 'ft head'; 1 foot of head = 0.434psi. You would save quite a lot of money (nearly $100 for a decent RV pump) if you can tap into your home water supply, which usually runs about 90psi.
posted by wzcx at 3:06 PM on September 30, 2010

Would there be a possibility of me attaching that faucet hose adapter to a bathroom sink, or does it pretty much have to be the kitchen one?

Also, I imagine my apartment complex wouldn't look too fondly on me attaching a tee to the under-sink plumbing. I know you guys can't speak to my specific place, but is that generally something a landlord would allow if I paid for a plumber to come do it?
posted by DMan at 8:36 PM on September 30, 2010

It depends on the design of your faucet but it's easy enough to check: if your faucet has an aerator that you can unscrew then an adaptor should fit on there. Most share a common size (unless you have some fancy-ass European fixtures or something) but it doesn't hurt to take the aerator into the hardware store to double check the fitting against the selection of adaptors. Adaptors come in chromed finishes, so you can just leave it on there in place of your original aerator and no one will notice the difference when the garden hose isn't attached but get a metal adaptor, the plastic ones just don't hold up. If you don't mind the brass look, there's really neat quick-connect fittings that you can add that allow you to push/pull the hose onto the faucet instead of screwing it on/off every time you use it.

Bathroom faucets often have a short run of threading, which might cause some spurting of water at the connection. A few rounds of Teflon tape will cure this.
posted by jamaro at 11:42 PM on September 30, 2010

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