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!

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

I love it! It's been super hot here lately (Big Island, Hawaii, because of the hurricanes creeping up on us - but they never really "hit" because of the two 13K+ ft volcanoes behind us....but we still get super high humidity and warmth) and I was looking for a "regular" air conditioner but didn't want to mess with my windows. Would a slightly larger fan be too much (cheapo at the hardware store), or is the small computer fan good for a bedroom. I'm not an engineer but I suppose there has to be an accommodating intake/output, plus I'd like to use a large solid block of ice or two (thinking longer time for a single use). Or maybe big ice with your arrangement?

kevinpinto (author)  Suzie Benoit3 days ago

Thanks for your comment, practically speaking this design cannot really be used to cool a room as such, it's more like cool breeze. Although you could try putting a bigger fan, you would have to replace the ice much faster (the ice with the current setting lasts for a maximum of 2 hours) or better still you could increase the box size so you can add more ice.

AllenCSC1 month 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.

kevinpinto (author)  AllenCSC1 month ago

That's a nice idea, will have to try that out.

Tasha782 months ago
Gr8 idea
denverhpinto11 months ago

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

robinyadav200911 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! :)