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FOG MACHINE FAQ
INTRODUCTION
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FOG MACHINE FAQ
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Buying tips and product reviews for a variety of fog machines.

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Fog Machines

MY FOG CHILLER COOLS THE FOG, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS I'D LIKE.
fog machine - dry iceThe problem is that even going through the chiller, the temperature of the fog may still be higher, or close to the temperature of the area the fog is being used in. This means it may still raise, although much slower. You can use dry ice instead of regular ice in your chiller to cool the fog down even more, but dry ice is more expensive and requires careful handling. Or, you can raise the room temperature (hard to do outdoors).

CAN I USE A FOG MACHINE INDOORS - SUCH AS FOR A PARTY?
While we can't speak for every fog machine on the market, we have never seen one that could not be used indoors. But, there are a few things to remember. If you use a lot of fog you will get a very thin film of fog fluid residue on everything in the room, including people. My wife says it moisturizes her skin. Most fog fluids are made of glycol (kind of like mineral oil) and water, so it shouldn't do any damage, but feels sticky. If you have expensive furniture, etc., you make want to remove it or use the fog machine in a different room.

HOW MUCH NOISE DO FOG MACHINES MAKE?
Fog machines do make some noise while they are generating fog. Actually, there are two sounds. The sound of the pump as it moves fog fluid from the reservoir to the heat exchanger, and the sound of the fog coming out of the nozzle. Like everything else, the more expensive ones are generally quieter, and the less expensive ones louder. That's not to say that inexpensive ones sound like a freight-train, but you can hear them. If you want your fog machine to be quieter you can build a wooden shroud to help absorb the sound (we'll be publishing a how-to article fall 2002). If you are going to use a fog machine in a situation that requires extremely quite operation, such as in a theater, you may need to go with a professional model or use a true dry ice fogger.

WILL THE FOG SET OFF SMOKE DETECTORS OR SPRINKLER SYSTEMS?
fog machine
Yes, no, maybe! It is possible that the small water-based particles could set some types of smoke detectors off. Usually, this is only a problem with optical type detectors, because they sense these particles as smoke. We always run a test with the fog machine(s) when used indoors to see if this is a problem. We don't recommend disabling smoke detector(s), but if you consider this, you should contact your local fire marshal and insurance company for advise. Sprinkler systems on the other hand are usually triggered by heat, so the fog in the air won't active heat-activated sprinkler systems.

DO I CLEAN THE FOG MACHINE AFTER USE?
This depends on the particular fog machine. For instance, with Visual Effects brand of fog machines you should empty the fog fluid tank (this is were the removable tank really comes in handy), but NOT run the machine to remove the fluid from the system. The fluid left in the machines system acts as a lubricate for the moving parts. Then store the machine in a cool, dry place.

All fog machines are prone to clogging due to the thick consistency of the fog fluid they use and the high temperature at which it is vaporized. Manufacturers of other machines sometimes recommend that after using their fog machine, you need to clean it out thoroughly by running distilled water through it for a couple of minutes to flush out the fog fluid, then store in a cool, dry place. Only use the manufacturers cleaning instructions, or you'll probably void your warranty and could even damage the machine. But, a properly maintained fog machine, using the manufacturers fluid should provide years of reliable use.

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