Industrial wall fan misting on covered porch - not UL507 rated plugged into GFI

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by OveMarkstrom, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. OveMarkstrom

    OveMarkstrom New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Arizona
    Hi,
    I'm located in Phoenix, AZ.
    I bought an industrial fan to which I'm attaching a misting ring on the front grill, so the fan will blow mist over the covered porch area.
    The fan will be plugged into a GFI outlet outside on the covered porch. After the fact I realized that the fan is not rated for outdoors (UL507).

    Is this risky, or will plugging into a GFI be OK?

    Thanks,
    Ove
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011
  2. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Any electrical equipment installed outdoors needs to be rated for the environment or it will not last long.

    Having spent time in Flagstaff which is a lot cooler than where you live I can understand what you are attempting to undertake but without some serious consideration it is a waste of time and energy.

    The size of the water droplets of the mist and the amount of water pressure that is pushing them is vital to the effectiveness of the cooling process. To be very effective the water droplets would need to be very small and cover the entire area with a high amount of pressure.

    It would be a lot more economical to install patio ceiling fans to blow air down than what you are proposing to do with the water vapor and a lot more cost effective.
    To even circulate the water across the roof from an underground storage tank would be more effective than the misting with the use of a fan. The amount of electrical energy being used for the circulating pump could even be less than the fan would draw.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I won't speak to the electrical safety aspect. From a general durability aspect, using a device in a moist environment that it was not designed for could impact its longevity.

    Misting systems are sometimes deployed without fans as well. Misting systems can deposit a mineral "dust" from hard water and are best supplied with RO water. There exist also, "swamp coolers" that wick and evaporate water rather than mist but I'm sure you already know about them.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    OUTDOORS in Phoenix, is NOT like outdoors in Seattle. And since it is also inside a porch the chances of it being rained on is very close to ZERO. I use the same setup inside my daughter's chicken coop. The fans fail because of feathers NOT moisture. Misting fans "cool" the air using evaporation, ceiling fans do NOT cool anything, they just move the air around.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2011
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I wish you would convince my wife of that. She leaves fans running when there is nobody home and insists that it is cooling the house. The fans actually generate more heat. The only time they cool is when they evaporate moisture from your skin or other source.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; I wish you would convince my wife of that

    Good luck convincing a woman of anything that she does not already believe. put a thermometer in the room and turn the fans off. Then after an hour or so turn them one and show her that there is no difference. If there is a difference it would only be because they are moving cooler air from somewhere else into the room, in which case close the door and repeat the test.
  7. OveMarkstrom

    OveMarkstrom New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Arizona
    Thanks all for replying.

    HJ -that's exactly right.
    My neighbor has this exact set-up on his porch and it's amazing how much it cools it down. It makes sitting outside in 110 degrees totally doable.

    My concern is related to level of safety of the fan being plugged into a GFCI outlet.
    For instance if I accidentally spray the fan with the garden hose or something klutzy like that, will it even matter if the fan is rated for outdoors or not...the GFCI would trip regardless is my assumption.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2011
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    If you did that, even if the GFCI did not trip the circuit breaker probably would. IF you spray the fan with water, EVERYTHING in front of it, including your wife, will be soaked with water. In that case a tripped GFCI or breaker may be the least of your problems.
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,059
    Location:
    New England
    Water itself isn't that great of a conductor...depends on the minerals and chemicals in it.
  10. OveMarkstrom

    OveMarkstrom New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Arizona
    Ha ha - true, I'll be sure to install a WGFCI (Wife-CFCI) :)
  11. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I have reread the original post and still read it as saying the mist was to be sprayed over the roof area. If this was a mistake on my part please forgive my ignorance.
  12. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,217
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    Ove, When you say "risky" , and you are talking about safety, or the GFI tripping,
    Then that would depend on the type of Motor that your industrial fan has.

    Most induction motors have a fair amount of insulation, And should not be a problem.

    It will work fine if you don't use a motor that has armature brush's.


    Good Luck on your project.


    DonL
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It is a misting FAN. The mist is introduced into the air stream as it leaves the fan. It is for a localized area, and has NOTHING to do with a roof top cooling or evaporation system. When he said "OVER the enclosed porch area" he meant INTO, INSIDE, or through, (take your pick), the area.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  14. OveMarkstrom

    OveMarkstrom New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Arizona
    DonL,
    Is there a way to know if the motor has armature brushes? (Is there a giveway in the description of the fan)
    Thanks,
    Ove
  15. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,217
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Ove,

    The Permanent-split capacitor motor does not have brushes and should work just fine.

    From the description it sounds like a nice fan, and would be safe around water on a GFI.


    Enjoy your day.


    DonL
  16. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I see and understand this now but when I first read the post I took the “over” to mean “above” or on top of the roof.

    Even using the set up as was later defined the water droplets of the mist are very important in the effect being sought.
    We wouldn’t want the fan spraying water everywhere.

    As long as the water mist is in front of the blades there would be no problem. Any receptacle installed outside, and a covered porch is outside, would need to be GFCI protected. This protection would not have any effect on the fan motor.
  17. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    You can put a mister in FRONT of any air mover [outlet] and not have an issue.

    Now pardon me boys, but lets have a look at a SWAMP COOLER. The electric motor sits in the middle of a rainshower onto cardboard, and is in fact INSIDE the water stream. These are open, cheap, split phase motors.

    And I never saw one on a GFCI! Never saw anyone die with one either.

    And they have a cheap plastic chinese submersible pump sitting in a little pool too!
  18. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Ballvalve

    The motors used in “Swamp Coolers” are designed for the environment in which they are being used.

    Although you have never seen anyone hurt or killed by one of these set ups let me assure you that people have been hurt by them especially when they try to replace the motor with one not approved for the environment.

    The piece of equipment does not mandate the use of GFCI but any receptacle installed outside a dwelling unit including one for a “swamp cooler” will require GFCI protection under today’s codes.
  19. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    These cheapest of cheap motors are open frame and water mists thru them all day long. The only differences is more corrosion protection and better plated switch gear or varnish on the wires. -So they say.

    For a family machine with all its electrics bathed in water all year long, often accessible to be touched, it seems amazing GFCI's are not required.
  20. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; The electric motor sits in the middle of a rainshower onto cardboard, and is in fact INSIDE the water stream.

    Have you EVER even seen a swamp cooler? The motor does NOT sit in the middle of a rainshower, the water is being delivered to troughs around the perimeter and the water drains from those troughs through holes onto the evaporative pads, with air being pulled through them by the blower wheel. The motor NEVER gets wet when everything is working properly.
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