DIY Air Conditioner





Introduction: DIY Air Conditioner

About: Making is my passion!

The story: We have a so hot summer here. We live in a rental house so i can't install a factory AC (and it's expensive too) I started to search for something which can help cooling our rooms and i finally found this "cooling box".

All of the parts for this project cost me 30$ and hopefully this is really working!!!

It can't beat a standard wall mounted AC but it can help to decrease the temperature from hot to tolerable!

Step 1: Watch the Video First!

The hole making process was 15 minutes! Really!!!

Step 2: #1

A bought a styrofoam box which is made for deliver meals.

The box's size depends on you every following parts can be adaptable for the size of the box.

Step 3: #2

I got a regular fan. This is 30 cm/12" nearly. I suggest to get as bigger as your box can accept!

Step 4: #3

Set apart the fan we will use the first cover cage in the next step.

Step 5: #4

Put the cage to the top of the box and draw around with a sharpie.

Step 6: #5

Next come the 3 pipe heads. Draw them around as well.

Step 7: #6

This is the expected result!

Step 8: #7

Take a knife i used a Swiss Army Knife but you can use anything what you familiar to.

Cut a little bit smaller the hole to get a flat surface for the cage cover.

Step 9: #8

Do the same with the 3 pipe holes but now you can cut exactly on the marks!

Step 10: #9

Again this is the expected result!

Step 11: #10

Take the fan and the pipes then put everything in its place!

Step 12: #11

Here it is :)

This will be the final now the only left thing is to try it and see is it really works?

Step 13: Test

I took the hole box to my son's room it's 15 m2/160ft2.

The starting temperature was 28.2 C/ 82.8 F.

Loaded the box with some soda bottle filled with ice then put back the fan and started it.

Step 14: Result

After circa 40 minutes the temperature decreased 1 celsius.

It's amazing :)

I think it can't frozen the room but make it more liveable on a hot summer day.

Step 15: The End

So this was so inspiring for me and i think if i load the box with more iced soda bottle and let it runs for more time i get even better results!

More is better than less :))

I suggest everybody to give it a try!!!

Thanks for your attention and see you next time with another interesting instructable ;)

That's the ShiftyWay :)

Step 16: Don't Forget to Check Out the Video!

Your support really helps for me! Thank you!

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We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.




This could be worthwhile if you directed the cool air and didn't expect it to cool the entire room. If it blew on you while sitting at a desk, or watching tv or even sleeping, it might make quite a difference even though the overall effect in the room might be minimal.

Do you actually need the pipes or is it optional? Just wondering...

All of you have valid points. However in my case the electric is included in the rent so it's covered. I would use something like this in my mother's room which stays on the warm side at night. It would be a cost effective way of cooler the room off. (10' by 12') Six 2 liter bottles frozen and put inside should last eight hours I would think. Good build. Simple and low cost.

This is quite neat, but I can't help thinking that by the time you've used it a few times and either bought, or paid for the electricity to freeze all that ice, you might as well have just bought a basic second-hand portable AC unit. It's something I've been trying to convince myself not to do for a couple years now...
(If I *do* go for it, it needs to be in *winter* when the price won't be jacked up to astronomic levels to take advantage of desperate sweaty people who have just moved into somewhere with terrible ventilation... like where I am...)

They don't need any special installation, landlord / freeholder's permission, building modifications, dedicated hardwired power supplies, etc. And are cheaper than even the most cost effective window-box or permanent-install option. Just put it in the most appropriate room, run the warm/wet air outlet pipe through the nearest window (with or without the simple plastic-wedge attachment that prevents it getting squashed or the hot air being blown back in), plug it into a wall socket, and make sure you're able to get the condensation catch tank out of it and to a suitable drain without any huge drama.

The cooling capacity is still limited, sure, but it's way higher than this kind of solution unless you either have an industrial-spec freezer or plan on buying large amounts of readymade ice from the supermarket. It can be about equivalent to what a wall-socket fan-heater can produce (ie about 2-3kw of heat extraction, rather than production), which may produce a very welcome 5 to 10 celcius of cooling (...heating) after an hour or two (which can also be spread across multiple rooms if you keep it running continually and leave the connecting doors open), or rather more straight away if you stand in front of it. Sort of like a car AC system, in fact.

When you make ice in the freezer you do it by transferring heat from the water through the condenser in back of the fridge to the ambient air. You are paying the electricity to freeze the water, then paying the electricity to melt the ice by removing the heat from the air that you paid the electricity to put in the air in the first place. Absolutely zero delta heat in the home. At least a window air conditioner sends the heat outdoors and you actually get net cooling in the home.

15 replies

This is true if you are using the cooler in the same room as your freezer.

Maybe your freezer is in the garage?

It's kinda obvious that this AC is for a single room, maybe a bedroom or tent. Of course it's not the most efficient but it is a much lower cost and more portable than a commercial AC.

...did you just say "air-conditioned tent"?!

You, sir/madam, are an unsung genius.

One of these + 2-man tent set up in the lounge (just enough space if you move the coffee table out) = much smaller airspace to cool and the cooled air can be trapped with reasonable effectiveness whilst still allowing some fresh-air ventilation. Especially if the cooler is put in the doorway and the zips closed down around it, as it's essentially blowing in cool fresh air.

It's a bit eccentric, but if it means the difference between a night spent turning into a raisin lying on a wet bed, or getting a decent sleep, sign me up.

True but you forget the cooling effect of the evaporation that also would be occuring

Cooling "effect." There is a reason why these devices, more commonly called "swamp coolers" or evaporative coolers are only used in warm DRY climates. Evaporative coolers, even professionally built commercial models should only be used in dry climates. EC is a simple process and the same as sweating where a fluid transfers heat by evaporation. If possible, wearing a wet TShirt and standing in front of a fan would be more effective and cool more actual body surface are and would not depend on the twice cooling needed by cooling air, moving it and then trying to cool the skin. Obviously sanitation is also important because you will be inhaling the "mist" and whatever algae may be in your water of fan. Use of real EC devices require a high degree of maintenance and sanitation if you plan on using it regularly. While this plan or any device that will blow almost any liquid across your skin will work, just remember the possible health effects.

Couldn't the health issues be effectively eliminated by rensing with bleach between use?

Or just putting bleach in the ice...

Totally agreed. This will not be a viable source of cool in the humid environment.

In some commercial swamp coolers, the cool, humid air never enters the living space. Instead, there is a metal heat exchanger, where the cool, humid are is used to cool the air on the room without any direct contact. This causes the humid air to warm up, and it is exhausted outside the house. Homemade swamp coolers can indeed be homes to various molds and other microbes, and care should be taken not to let them be a health hazard.

That is interesting. Why aren't they more popular in places I'm from, like Kansas? That place is super humid.

No, the outside air needs to be dry for an EC to work. It enters the EC hot and dry, cools by evaporation of water, then exits cool and humid. The simplest EC's just dump that cool, humid air into the room. But you can also run that long one side of, say, a thin metal plate, and run the room air across the other side. That way, you can cool the room air without bringing in extra water. Of course, it makes the cooler more complicated and expensive, and you lose a little bit on the cooling. Some parts of Kansas might be dry enough, but I've seen them mostly in the Rockies and the Southwestern States.

Doesn't look like an EC to me. The water is FROZEN -- it is the melting and subsequent warming of the water to room temperature that provides the cooling, not the evaporation of any water.

It takes 184 BTU's to melt a pound of ice and warm the water to 70 degrees. It takes 970 BTU's to evaporate a pound of water. It takes 10,000 BTU's to cool a 10x10 room and 5000 BTU's to keep that room cool considering normal insulation levels and air leakage. Filling the cooler with water or water and ice would be far more effective if the humidity level is low enough for evap cooling to work.

No question -- evaporation has much greater potential for cooling than melting. Evaporation does mean that the water used is lost forever, so even if the climate is dry, one might want to think carefully about consuming water in this fashion. With ice, the same water can be used again and again, albeit at the cost of even more energy than it would take to run an efficient air conditioning unit to produce the same amount of cooling.

There is no evaporative cooling effect when the ice is in sealed plastic bottles. It would take 50 pounds of ice to make any substantial temperature difference in a 10x10 room. Sit in front of the exhaust air and you will feel a small difference but no real difference in the rest of the room. As rdeclue said, you are just moving some heat from the minimally cooled area to the kitchen, plus paying for the electricity to do it. A fan moving all of the room air will do more.

How can comments be positive and constructive when the claims are not supported by the science ?

The ice in the soda bottles melts. It does not evaporate. There is no evaporation. The discussion regarding "swamp coolers" is irrelevant.