How to make a low-cost fog chiller

Halloween is approaching fast so I thought I’d repost an article from two years ago on how to build an effective, low-cost fog chiller.

Coming up to Halloween 2007 I finally tackled the task of creating a homemade fog chiller that I had been wanting to do for at least 10 years. There are plenty of sites that offer how-to’s on this topic, and I used a combination of them to reach my final design, which came down to these key points:

  1. It had to be easy to make without any special tools.
  2. It had to be inexpensive.
  3. It had to be quick (because I waited until Halloween day to make it).

After some research, I designed a chiller that met all of my criteria.

  1. Tools: Screwdriver, utility knife
  2. Cost: Approximately $14
  3. Time: About 30 minutes (not counting the return trip to the store for paint, but more on that later)
  • 8 Gallon Plastic bin from Walmart
  • 1 Can of Krylon black matte paint
  • 8 foot long dryer vent kit
  • Cable Ties
  • Duct Tape


First, I had to figure out where to put the holes in each side of the bin. I placed my fogger next to the bin to see where they lined up and marked it. I then took the tubing and placed an end surrounding the mark and drew a circle around the tubing. Using a utility knife, I cut the circle. It wasn’t perfect and didn’t need to be, but it does need to be tight enough to hold the tube.
I used the cutout as a template to make a hole on the other side for the fog to exit. This also didn’t have to be perfect because it was going to have the vent cover placed over it.
Once the holes were cut, I painted the bin and the external dryer vent cover and let those dry for about 15 minutes. Krylon is the best paint to use. I first tried some cheap spray paint, but it just wiped off the plastic. The Krylon bonded well and was the choice I should have made instead of trying to save 30 cents. I had to repaint with the Krylon after the chiller was built because I didn’t have the paint and wanted to build this thing before running back to the store in case I needed additional supplies. (All of the pictures show the cheap paint. You can see how it didn’t adhere properly and barely looks black.)
Next, I threaded the tube into the entry hole (where the fogger would be). I brought the tube about 8-10 inches out from the bin. The end of the fogger gets very hot, so make sure nothing touches when aligning the pieces.

I then screwed the vent cover over the other hole and attached the other end of the tube using the enclosed aluminum connector which I duct taped together and used the cable ties to hold the tube in place as shown in the picture. I’d recommend switching out the enclosed screws with machine screws so that there are no sharp points on the inside.

One thing I learned from reading other posts on this task is that the longer the fog is in contact with cold, the better it performs, so be sure to expand the tubing out the full eight feet. If I were to redo this, I would attach additional tubing to make the trip longer.
The bin holds two big bags of ice and will last an entire night (a Texas Halloween can get pretty hot, too).
Finally, I put the lid back on and hid the bin and the fogger in the bushes by the house and waited until night to come. (You can see the back of the fogger in the picture.)
Below is a picture of the test before nightfall and a video I put together from some random bits I recorded.

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