Homemade Air Conditioner

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Introduction: Homemade Air Conditioner

Before I get started, I have to give props to Geoff Milburn, at http://www.gmilburn.ca/ac/ whose plan it was I copied. I'm not smart enough to think up something like this on my own. That being said, one of the places I work has no AC, but I'm allowed to have fans, so this seemed like a good project for me. It's not perfect yet, but it does cool the air better than just a fan.

Step 1: Attach Copper Tubing to the Fan

I took the grate off of my fan, so I could put the heat exchanger on the inside, hopefully making it look better. I'm using copper tubing as the heat exchanger, although you could use something else, as copper is not cheap, and not easy to work with. As you can see in the second photo, it's very easy to kink the tubing, in which case, you stop the flow of water. I grabbed a hole saw to use as a die to wrap the tubing around, and the teeth held nicely against the grate of the fan. As I was going along, I used zip ties to hold the tubing to the grate. Of course, because this will be inside the fan, make sure to clip off the loose ends. Also, make sure that you have both ends of the copper tubing sticking out of the fan, so you can hook up the tubes to the pump.

Step 2: Attaching the Tubing to the Pump

Now, the cheapie pump I bought would only fit 1/2" ID tubing, and they didn't have anything that would downsize it to 1/4" for me, so I just rigged it up. As you can see in the first and second photos, 1/4" tubing fits quite nicely around the copper tubing. In the third photo, you can see how I just inserted the 1/4" into 3/8", into 1/2" tubing, which would then fit onto the pump. This of course leaked, which necessitated the use of hose clamps, photo 4. I feel that this greatly reduces the effeciency of my pump, but now I have a reason to buy a bigger, stronger, more manly pump! Either that, or buy bigger copper tubing, which is not as exciting.

Step 3: Submerging the Pump and Testing It Out

I bought a foam cooler to hold my coolant(ice water), as I have easy (free) access to both water and ice. Once I had it all hooked up, with one tube going from the pump into the heat exchanger, and another from the heat exchanger back to the cooler, I submerged the pump and plugged it in. At this point you'll be able to tell whether or not you have leaks real quick. If you do, just shut it off and tighten things up. If you've got a hole in your copper tubing from over-zealous bending, you might have a tricky problem to solve. I didn't have that problem, so I couldn't begin to tell you how to solve it. (I am partial to JB Weld for all things broken though) I've noticed that towards the end of the copper tubing, I'm not getting any condensation, which means by the end, the water has lost it's cooling effect. When I get a bigger pump, the water will flow much faster, and hopefully won't warm up as much. Well, that's about it, any suggestions would be welcome!

2 People Made This Project!

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297 Comments

You can't just throw tubing in there like that and call it a day. It's not efficient, and does about as much cold air as a seltzer bottle. You have to wind it in a coil for the coolant to actually have any effect, whatsoever.

a nifty modification qould be to use 2 coolers one inside the other with water in the smaller one surrounded by dry ice in the larger one it would super cool the water with less waste and if you wanted to get fancy wrap some of the copper tubeing around the smaller cooling to have direct contact with the dry ice causeing a greater surface area for cooling. also add alil salt to lower the waters cooling temp

What a cool article ha get it? Cool! Seriously am gonna make this! Not looking forward the the $$ copper tubing but the rest is great!

Could someone provide any efficiency specs(what temperature can this cooler maintain)?

I have the solution to all of the rust and saltwater problems. Just get a pump that does not need to be submerged. Get one that has an intake and output nipple on it for hooking up to tubing then run from your output to a plastic tube that goes to the coil of copper then from the copper output put a plastic tube that goes in to the cooler and forms another coil. then back in to your pump. Fill the system with antifreeze. Now your copper tubing is isolated from the salt water and you actually get some rust prevention from the anti freeze. Oh and BTW fill the cooler with ice, rock salt, and salt water this will super cool it. It will probably form Ice on the coil rather then condensation.

Great idea, plus removing the submersible pump will help prevent the water from warming up from the pump running. The pump generates heat too and will cause the water to warm up faster!

I just finished making this and it's working like a charm. I don't have ice water in it yet, just cold water, and it's already blowing nice cool air. I love the instructions, but the list of parts is a bit slim, so I'll add what I used:

20 inch box fan.
A 1/6 horse power submersible utility pump.

20ft 3/4" copper tubing.

A 40 quart styrofoam ice cooler.

A washing machine connector hose.

2 hose clamps.

a whole lot of zap straps.

Tools required were:
A glue gun (probably not necessary, but I glued the ends of the washing machine hose to the ends of the copper tube before applying the hose clamps).

Clippers to cut the ends off the zap straps.

A knife for cutting holes into the ice cooler (I cut holes on the top to feed the hoses into, so I can keep the water colder for longer).

Screwdriver.

Rotating pipe cutter (to cut the copper tube to size; I used about 190 feet).

Total money spent: $175, but the fan and pump are very useful on their own.

Total time spent: About 90 minutes for construction.

Isn't it better to use an old car radiator instead with the in built fan rotating towards you?

For the people wanting to cool their cars.

Make sure you have a white car, they don't get half as hot! A paint job is probably worthwhile if you are a PI and don't want to trade your car. Instead of colling your car, freeze some ice cushions to sit on, A few layers of fleece or a folded towel and it can be adjusted for the cooling you need.

I made a homemade AC using 20 W motor,ice box,copper windings and all other but the effect is not coming as i expected ,i.e,the cooling effect is not MUCH as we expected from so much hard work...

PLEASE help me out of this (to increase the cooling effect) .

I covered the ice box with aluminium foil.