Air conditioning is expensive. In fact, it’s the second-largest energy expense for most households in the United States after heating costs, and that number continues to grow each year.
The good news is that you can save money on your air conditioner without sacrificing comfort by using a smart AC control unit like Mistbox.
In this review, we’ll take you through the features of this device, give you an idea about what it can do for your home comfort, and any potential problems and concerns to consider.
Mistbox: Features & Specifications
What Is Mistbox And How Does It Work?
The Mistbox is a device that attaches to your AC system to create an extra layer of moisture in the air. This helps you stay cooler during the hot summer months and designed to help reduce your monthly electric bill.
It’s a small version of a chilling tool that’s been used in commercial settings for years. The Mistbox straps around your air conditioning unit and works using solar power.
Fundamentally, Mistbox is an air conditioner for your air conditioner.
Via evaporative cooling, it chills the air around your air conditioner to reduce the load on the unit and improve the function of your air conditioner.
Installation And Setup
The Mistbox unit affixes to the front of your air conditioning unit with screws and can be installed by hand in just a few minutes.
Once it’s in place and working, you can connect it to your smartphone and review how often it comes on and how much it’s saving you each month.
The Mistbox app (Android / iPhone) lets you check on the unit and gives you information on water usage and possible energy savings.
The Mistbox is solar-powered and has rechargeable batteries in the unit, so you don’t need a full day of sun.
If your air conditioner doesn’t receive enough direct sunlight, you may need an alternate solar panel or an alternate power source.
The Mistbox Air Conditioner Cooler consists of four misting bars linked on a thin, durable tube that delivers water to the misters.
These misting bars are adjustable, so they slide up and down the tube; you can customize the length of the tube to wrap around your air conditioning unit.
The sprayer arms come with clips that attach to the venting panels of your air conditioning unit.
Plugin the water intake connector into a nearby spigot or hose and turn on the water. This will pressurize the hose and prime the misters to fire when triggered by the Mistbox controller.
The misting process starts automatically. Manufacturers promise “smart” technology and that the misting process will turn on as it learns your system.
Does Mistbox Work?
Yes, Mistbox works when the misters are spraying correctly, it can lower the ambient temperature around your air conditioning unit.
Many air conditioning units are not designed to be constantly damp. So, corrosion, mold, and bacterial build-up from stagnant water are always a risk.
In our sections below, we cover how Mistbox has addressed these issues.
Does Mistbox reduce the load on your air conditioning unit?
Yes, but that doesn’t mean you’ll stay cooler indoors. Chilling the air around the condenser changes how much cool air the air conditioner thinks it needs to put out.
You may find your air conditioning unit running more often if you have to adjust the thermostat because it feels like your unit is not keeping up.
If your compressor reads cooler air, it may back off in cooling intensity.
Some HVAC professionals note that you may need to add Freon or other chemicals to your air conditioning unit to reduce air temperature inside your home if the condenser functions at a lower intensity.
Not So Great For High Humidity Climates
Cooling with moisture is less effective under high humidity conditions, and Mistbox sensors don’t include a review of the relative humidity in the area. If you reside in a humid area, this gadget may only be of limited effectiveness, and expect users to understand that in advance.
Damage To Your Air Conditioner Or AC System?
Mistbox has been working been researching and updating its product over the years. According to their updated website, Mistbox will not damage your air conditioning unit using their custom water treatment system (water treatment filter).
Since our first review was posted, we had a reader message us and was very concerned about the first generation Mistbox system and said,
“This device will destroy your AC unit. What happens to a coffee pot when you heat water in it? It gets scale and deposits. When this scale deposits on your heat coils, it hardens just like on a coffee pot causing it to insulate the coil. This is the exact opposite of what you want to happen, and it will burn up your AC unit. Other companies tried this same thing back in the ’70s and ended up causing the exact problem I outlined above.”
We know that your municipal water supply may contain minerals that can build up and create scale inside your air conditioning unit. While calcium water filters available for your home water system, other minerals, including lime and iron, may cause problems.
In fairness, you’d have to have large amounts of the build-up to impede the actual functioning of your air conditioning unit.
Removing these mineral deposits requires acid-based corrosive chemicals, many of which would damage the aluminum in your air conditioning unit and also hard on seals and gaskets inside your air conditioning unit.
Overall, anything that puts your compressor at risk can be very costly, and it appears that they have addressed the issue with their latest product.
We think the improvements made in the 2nd generation Mistbox make it worth considering if you just don’t have the budget for a larger cooling solution.
We’re no longer as concerned about potential long-term damage with mineral scale build-up. However, corrosion is worth noting for older AC systems that may already have some unseen issues.
If you’re hoping to save money on your electricity bill but not quite sold on a Mistbox, you might also consider other home-cooling investments such as an attic fan, blackout drapes, or high-volume fans.