Last night I ran a few tests with the Fog Chiller. For the most part, it worked very well, but there are a couple of problems with it.
I started off with a mild dose of 8 ice cubes. This paltry number of ice cubes had a noticeable, but quite pathetic effect on the fog. Once it rolled out the end of the Chiller and down the first two stairs, it began to rise again. I figured I would see a huge improvement when I added two full trays of ice cubes. With 32 ice cubes, the fog rolled down all 5 stairs. When it hit the landing in the dog-leg in our staircase, it began to rise again. Suz convinced me that the Chiller would hold hundreds, if not millions, of ice cubes, so I started cramming them in. This is where RainyPete's idea of using an old cooler would have come in handy. I wish I had heard of this more efficient design earlier. Step 1: Slit open bag of variety-store-quality ice. Step 2: Dump into the cooler and enjoy.
But I was stuck with my inefficient, good-looking design. After 5 minutes of stuffing ice cubes into the Chiller, my fingers were numb. It was worth it. 105 ice cubes filled the Chiller about half-way. 105 ice cubes also cooled the fog enough to roll down the stairs, around the dog-leg, and down the rest of the stairs. But this is where I encountered the first problem. The breeze created from walking upstairs blew the fog around too much, and it filled the front hall with a grey haze, which, although radically spooky, was not the effect I wanted this year.
So I tried my second idea and brought the fog machine into the basement. The fog rolled out of the Chiller like white soup, spilling onto the pink 60s tiles like an ever-expanding puddle of blood. It looked totally sweet! A few short blasts covered about half the basement floor. But this is where I discovered another problem. Allowing the fog machine to perform a full power blast did not give the fog enough time to cool down inside the ice-chamber. This means I probably won't be able to leave the machine on with the adjustable timer. I will likely have to manage the fog dispersal manually.
I was also able to test the mobility of this basement-fog when the bloody dehumidifier came on right in the middle of my photoshoot. By the time I ran to the other side of the room and unplugged the infernal device, it was too late. The fog had blown everywhere, filling the basement in the standard, unchilled way. Although this upset me at the time, I realized it was a good real-life test, simulating someone running through the creepy mist. A few more short blasts of fog, and the floor was out of sight again.
So, the Chiller works! Its effect won't be as creepy once the drunks start falling all over the floor, but I can look foward to using it on October 31st, and I can look forward to possibly building a larger, more efficient Chiller next year.