Last Updated on August 14, 2021
In the heat of summer, standard oscillating fans simply can’t cool you down, and electric fans just blow the hot air around. Buying excellent outdoor misting fans that adds water vapor into the air to cool it through flash evaporation is a better alternative. The mist evaporates while still in the air, taking away some of the heat.
Even when humidity feels unbearable, misting fans cool down your immediate surroundings much better than their non-misting counterparts and are perfect for the on the go. A portable misting fan is a useful hiking or hunting accessory that can help you beat the summer heat.
Best of all, you can make your own DIY misting fan with just a few items you likely already have at home.
1. Misting Fan With an Air Pump
With just an air pump, thin tubing, a spray tip, and plastic water bottles, you can easily make a misting fan. A fish air pump is ideal for this DIY project.
Step 1: Cut two pieces of tubing
The first piece will go from the water bottle to the air pump and the second from the bottle to the fan. Measure how far apart the water bottle, air pump, and fan will sit, and cut the tubing accordingly.
Step 2: Drill
Drill two holes in the water caps, just slightly smaller than the tubing, so that the tubes fit snuggly. Insert the two tubes into their respective holes. The tube running to the fan should reach the bottom of the water bottle, and the one from the air pump should be inserted 1” through the cap.
Step 3: Make sure that the air stays sealed
Apply silicone or sealant to the tubing on the inside and outside so that air does not leak. Duct tape is a suitable alternative.
Step 4: Attach the spray tip
Fit the spray tip into the tube coming from the water bottle. Use a sealant or tape so that the water pressure does not push the tip out.
Step 5: Putting it all together
Clip the spray tip to the fan. You might need to take off the fan’s cover for this step, depending on the model.
The water bottle’s air pressure can keep the water spraying even after you turn off the air pump. Turn the pump off before turning off the fan or pull the tube off the air pump to release the built-up air pressure.
Then, simply switch on the air pump, and you have a misting fan!
Bonus: Variation with a valve
If you have a valve, you only need one piece of tubing. Make a hole in the cap and the bottom of the bottle. The hole in the cap should fit the tubing and the one in the bottom of the valve. Ideally, use a one-way valve so water can only go in and not out. Connect the air pump to the bottle at the valve, and the bottle will fill up with pressure, pushing the water through the tube to the fan.
2. Misting Fan With Ice
Step 1: Freeze the ice
Freeze water the night before in a shallow bucket or tray. Aim for the highest surface area to volume ratio because the misting effect works the most efficiently with a larger surface area. It takes about 3-4 hours for the water to freeze solid.
Step 2: Set the ice before the fan
Take the ice out of the freezer and take a 2” wedge, or fold a thick sheet of cardboard several times and put it under the bucket so that the ice is tilted towards the fan. Make sure that the fan blows over the ice, but it does not blow into the bucket. It usually takes some trial and error to find the right height and tilt for the best effect.
Step 3: Strain off the water
Once a third of the ice has melted, dump the water or save it to freeze for the next batch. Too much water accumulated in the bucket diminishes the misting effect. A gallon of frozen water usually lasts two hours on a hot summer day.
3. Handheld Misting Fan
If you only have a handheld fan, you can still make it into a misting fan. You only need a spray bottle, rubber bands, scissors, and Velcro.
Step 1: Attach the Velcro
Unscrew the head of the spray bottle and wrap Velcro around it. If your Velcro is too wide, use scissors and cut it into the correct width and length. Make sure there is enough to go around the bottle once.
Repeat with the handheld fan. Make sure you wrap the Velcro as close to the base as possible. Don’t do it so close to the base that it falls off, but you want the maximum possible distance between the fan blades and the spray nozzle.
Step 2: Attach fan to spray head
Using the Velcro strips, stick the fan to the spray head. Place the fan so that the blades are in front of the spray nozzle. It might be slightly unstable, but that’s what the rubber bands are for!
Step 3: Use rubber bands to stabilize it
Place one rubber band around the fan base and behind the spray handle. Put the second one around the fan and the nozzle. Your gadget should be stable at this point. If not, add more rubber bands or swap Velcro for tape.
Step 4: Fill the bottle with water
Fill up the spray bottle with water. Screw the spray head and the bottle together, and turn the fan on. For the misting effect, pull the trigger as the fan runs.
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