|Always follow the
First and foremost, always
follow the manufacturers safety and operational instructions. All fog machines should come
with an operators manual. While a fog machine will add to the ambiance of your haunt, if
used incorrectly they can create the added dangers of fire, electrocution and other nasty
and potentially disastrous accidents. It is very important that you look for and eliminate
potential dangers that could lead to fires and injuries.
Is Fake Fog Safe To Breath?
Most consumer fog machines use fog fluid made of
a combination of water and a chemical called glycol, which has been found to be safe in a
number of studies and is not considered to be hazardous to humans, and generally used
without problems. But, some people do complain of respiratory problems and throat
irritation when exposed to theatrical fog.
Rosco International of Stamford, Connecticut,
a manufacturer of Glycol based fog machines maintains the fog produced is
safe when used properly, meaning not "overfogging" and when using only fluid
recommended by the manufacturer.
"We have been advised over the years
that this is an extremely safe material to be around," says Eric Tishman, senior
"When somebody sees a smoke or fog like
this, it's a psychological problem," says Jim Kehrer, head of pharmacology and
toxicology at the University of Texas. "If you see some sort of fog or smoke rolling
at you, and you already have a breathing problem, it's going to get worse."
A study, conducted by the National Institute
for Occupational Safety and Health in 1994, found no evidence that the fog causes asthma
as long as it is used correctly. But because the fog can be irritating or drying, the
institute said, exposure to the fog should be minimized, the fluids should be heated to
the lowest temperature necessary and the proper fluids should be used.
If the fog machine is used indoors you should
make sure the room has adequate ventilation. Some people with breathing problems may have
problems breathing while in the fog. It is a good idea not to breath the fog for extended
periods of time. Consult the manufacturers recommendations.
Plugging it in:
Make sure that
the circuit breaker for the outlet you plug your fog machine into can handle the wattage
that the fog machine will draw. Most household circuit breakers are rated at either ten or
fifteen amps (you can tell by looking at the breakers themselves), and household current
is generally 110 volts. Amps times volts equal the amount of watts that a breaker can
handle without tripping. With caution, learn what breakers protect
each section of your home and label them. Don't overload your circuit breakers or fuses.
Don't overload extension cords or allow them to run through water or snow on the ground.
Make sure that the cord is placed in such a way as not be become a hazard to guests. Do
not leave a fog machine or any electrical device unattended.
Fog machines get hot!
Fog machines create fog by passing
the fog fluid through a heat-exchanger to heat it to a high degree very quickly and then
out of a nozzle at the front of the fogger. This coil and the nozzle can become very
hot. Don't touch the nozzle during or even shortly after operation. Make sure you place
the fog machine in a place that has no combustible materials near it, i.e. curtains,
leaves, paper, etc. Do not operate a fog machine on or near any material that could catch
on fire. Be careful picking up fog machine that is turned on or was running recently, it
will probably be hot. Do not operate a fog machine where it or it's cord could come into
contact with water or other liquid.
I've found cheaper fog fluid, can I
substitute it for the manufacturers?
We highly recommend against substituting or
trying to make your own fog fluid. If the fog fluid is very different from what your fog
machine was specifically designed to use it could actually produce toxic fumes. Also, you
will probably void the warranty on the fog machine and second you could damage some of the
components of the fog machine, such as the heat exchanger and/or pump.
Check Your Fog Fluid!
You should be sure to check
the level of remaining fog fluid in your fog machine periodically, particularly if using a
remote-timer control. Your best bet is to fill the fog machines tank up and then check it
every half an hour or so, re-filling it as needed. One of the main causes of burned out
pump-motors is running the fog machine dry (without fog fluid). While it's primary
function is to produce the fog, the fog fluid also acts as a coolant/lubricant for the
pump and motor.