Mistbox Uses Decidedly Old-School Technology To Boost AC Efficiency 30%

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By pre-cooling the intake air on AC units with a mist of filtered water, powered by a tiny wind turbine, Mistbox claims its product can save users anywhere from 20-38% on their cooling costs.

Originally built as a solar-powered evaporative cooler for air conditioning units, Mistbox is now back with another version of the device, but this time it’s designed to use the exhaust air from the AC unit to spin a small wind generator. The original underlying principle of evaporative cooling is the same, regardless of its power source, and the forthcoming new Mistbox will use a set of nozzles that spray a fine mist of water, which then evaporates to pre-cool the incoming air for more effective cooling.

The Mistbox isn’t just a swamp cooler for your AC unit, though, as it integrates a smart, connected control unit that uses sensors and software to monitor both the AC unit and the current weather conditions in order to optimize the misting times.

In addition, the system includes a proprietary water filtering and treatment system in order to avoid damaging the AC unit, as well as to kill all of the bacteria in the water, and on the surfaces of the AC unit:

“Mistbox has developed a custom water treatment system to ensure the fine misting can not damage the AC unit. The patent pending method kills bacteria on contact and treats metal surfaces to make algae or mold growth an impossibility. The method also neutralizes dissolved solids (hardness) in the water so they cannot tightly adhere to the condenser fins. The Mistbox filters have been designed to work with municipal water anywhere in the continental US.” 

According to Mistbox, the units can be installed “in minutes” and users can see savings of up to 38% on their cooling costs. Because the units work through evaporative cooling, which is effective in arid regions but much less so in humid regions, the question of whether or not the Mistbox works in high humidity climates comes up, and in the company’s FAQs is answered this way:

“While humidity does have an effect, Mistbox users can expect to save between 20-38% on their AC related power costs. The lower end of that range occurs in mild, humid climates while those in hot, dry climates could expect to save more. Many customers in humid climates like the deep south and Florida run their AC for most of the year. So while their percentage might be lower, they still save a lot because they use AC so much. The more AC you use, the more you’ll save.”

Users can access their AC usage and other data from a mobile app, which is intended to illustrate the customer’s savings (and probably to notify them when it’s time to order a new water filter). According to the company’s Kickstarter campaign, Mistbox is being rolled out as a subscription plan (“Savings as a Service”) in order to make the product available to more people, regardless of their budget, with plans starting at $10 per month or $99 per year. A single payment of $399 will buy a unit and filter and service for a year, with the option to continue the service with the purchase of a new filter.

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Derek Markham

Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee.

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