Picture of Simple Cheap Ice Box Air Conditioner
In this instructable I will be showing you how to build a cheap air conditioner from a Styrofoam ice box. This is an extremely easy build and shouldn't take you more than an hour to complete.
I live away from home and cannot afford another air conditioner here so I thought of building a cheap air conditioner with things lying around the house. Summer nights are really uncomfortable and also pretty humid here(which is why I stayed away from the swamp cooler).
I hope you enjoy this instructable!
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Step 1: Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Step 1: Materials and Tools
You will need the following:

- Any sort of cooling fan, I had an extra exhaust fan lying around the house so decided to use it.
- PVC Pipes with elbow.
- Styrofoam Ice Box

- Cutter Blade
- Hot glue gun
- Hacksaw
- Measuring instrument

Step 2: Step 2: Cutting out the holes for the pipes and the fan

Picture of Step 2: Cutting out the holes for the pipes and the fan
The hole for the fan can be cut out using a cutter blade. However if you're using a thick box like mine, you will have problems cutting out the holes for a pipes with the blade, so I decided to the cut the holes using the pipe itself by slightly sharpening one of its edges. This does the job easily.

Step 3: Step 3: Attaching the pipes and the fan

Picture of Step 3: Attaching the pipes and the fan
I attached all the parts using hot glue, it does a fantastic job.

Step 4: Step 4: Add the Ice packs

Picture of Step 4: Add the Ice packs
You can use any sort of ice, but if your box is big like mine, I would suggest freezing water in plastic packets and then putting them into the box. This way you won't have water collecting in the box.

Step 5: Step 5: You're ready to go

Picture of Step 5: You're ready to go
With the ice packets in the box and fan plugged in, sit back and enjoy your new Simple Cheap Styrofoam Air Conditioner.
Hope you enjoyed this instructable!
AllenCSC2 days ago


You could experiment with salt in the water for freezing to lower the temperature. Most freezers are well below 32 degrees F and this would make for colder air out and perhaps a longer thaw time.

Tasha781 month ago
Gr8 idea
denverhpinto9 months ago

hi everyone please hit a like button for my brother and even see my instructble

robinyadav200910 months ago
Thnx for the awesome design n idea......but for how much time does the cooling last and can it cool a room??
Aditya M1 year ago

very very very very thanks to you for your awesome idea. i was searching To make a Cheap homemade AC From single CPU fan and your instructable fulfilled my need.


kevinpinto (author)  Aditya M1 year ago

You're most welcome Aditya.

zsheikh1 year ago

What is the use of 5 pvc pipes that inserted in box? will air will come from that pipes?

kevinpinto (author)  zsheikh1 year ago

You don't have to use 5 pipes, you can simply use a single bigger pipe. I used 5 of the smaller ones because I had them lying around and as for the air, it all depends on the capacity of your fan.

eric squat1 year ago
Great "Favorite" for future reference.
alienvibes1 year ago

Also... how about using hosepipe for the pipes? Cut it in 2 - 3 foot lengths and lay it inbetween layers of ice packs. Should dramatically increase the temperature drop.

kevinpinto (author)  alienvibes1 year ago

Sure, that's a nice idea and it should definitely increase its efficiency. But I think copper pipes would conduct better than hosepipes, will try that out later. Thank you so much for you feedback.

alienvibes1 year ago

For the ice packs use balloons. Fill with water... not too much.. and tie tge end. Freeze them and refreeze when melted. Nice instructable... simple and hacky! :)