How to Make a DIY Air Conditioner

Summer is coming, and air conditioning is a necessity in these upcoming months.

Obviously you’d want a real residential cooling unit to truly stay comfortable, but these DIY options are portable and can effectively make you feel cooler when out on the go. When on the go and away from a power outlet, electricity can be generated with portable USB battery banks and solar setups (which we’ll talk a bit more about in upcoming articles).

Here are a few air conditioning solutions you can make yourself with just a few household items that are even cheap to purchase in the store. Try one out sometime to take a vacation from the hot summer air.


What You Need:
1 Large Cooler Pad
1 Window Screen
1 Five-Gallon Bucket
1 Aquarium Pump
1 Eight- or Nine-Inch Desktop Fan
1 Clamp

An entry-level evaporative cooler, Buckethead can effectively cool a room in your home up to 20 degrees. Here’s a how-to video from YouTube:

What you do is fill the bucket halfway with water, drill one and a half and two-inch holes around it, and fill with the cooling pad and screen. You then cut a hole in the lid for the fan and hook up the aquarium pump (which also needs to be poked with holes) to soak the cooler pad with the water.

Turning on the fan draws air in through the holes. It cools as it passes through the wet cooling pad, then is shot up through the fan. These DIY fans are sturdy, use parts that are easy to find, and can easily cool a room.

At the end of the video, you’ll see he also has a solar setup. Sustainable energy is growing here, and it’s amazing to see all the upcoming solar projects. I’m a big fan of solar and recommend picking up as many panels as you can afford.

Swamped Cooler

What You Need:
1 Beverage Cooler
1 Eight- or Nine-Inch Desktop Fan
1 PVC Pipe Corner

If you want to take a step up (or don’t have a five-gallon bucket), the Swamped Cooler uses your cooler to bring the concept to another level. Here’s a video how-to.

After cutting holes in the lid of your cooler, attach the PVC pipe corner and fan (blowing in this time, instead of out like on Buckethead). Then fill the cooler with ice and turn the fan on to force the hot air into the cooler with the ice. It’s vented through the PVC pipe and blows a nice, cool air that similar to an actual A/C unit.
However, you’ll need to keep replacing the ice once or twice a day, whereas an actual A/C condenser is made with metal and coolants that last much longer (up to a decade, even in this humid climate).
So if you’re looking for a project to work on this weekend, try one of these DIY cooling options. Even if you already have an air conditioner, at least you’ll have an emergency backup should it ever break.


Dr. Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. You can find his work in Cracked, High Times, HuffPost, Lifewire, Forbes, Fast Company, and dozens of other places, although much of it is no longer under his name. Dr. Penny loves annoying fake media.

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