I have always wanted to have Air Conditioning in my shed, I mainly use it for storage, but I am always in there looking for something! I was also looking to have something I could take with me, wherever I go, like to a friends house if we just hang out in the garage of on the deck. I really don't like warm weather, so here is my keep it cool answer! This project draws a lot upon other 'ibles, like CameronSS's idea, but I needed it bigger! This all runs off 120V, so I don't have to worry about batteries, just bring the cooler and a long extension cord. I bought as few materials as possible, and I only have about $20 into this project (aside from what I dumpster dove for or otherwise had laying around), I probably could have gotten away with about $10, but I wanted a few options that I was willing to pay for.
Step 1: Gather Stuff
Here is what you will need:
- Cooler (found mike kicking around my shed)
- Couple of larger AC fans, I got mine from a K&N Air Filter display that my local Auto Parts Stores was throwing out when they were going out of business
- Coil setup from a Fridge that is being discarded. Keep an eye out in the neighborhood on garbage day.
- Old Air Purifier fan, or any 6ish inch fan that you can find
- Toilet Drain Flange, Hardware Store (Orange, Blue or Green)
- Shower Drain, again found at a Hardware Store (Orange had this one)
- Fountain Pump, Harbor Freight.
- 7" Duct Elbow, Hardware Store
Step 2: Prep the Fans
I started by breaking apart the K&N display, and I left the surrounding plastic parts on there. It helped with the mounting! I then took apart the Air purifier, and removed the motor. Sorry, I don't have more pics of this step. But in order to easily mount the motor, I used my angle grinder and ground away the plastic except for the actual 'mount' holder. It fits nicely into the Shower Drain. You will see this in upcoming steps.
Step 3: Hack the Cooler
Now that the fans are out of the large case, I took a piece of cardboard and outlined a hole slightly bigger than the fans, but still smaller than the surrounding plastic. I also cut a hole for the toilet flange to fit into. I also, when I was done, fully removed the underside ribbed portion of the cooler, it just makes everything easier to work with.
Step 4: Load Up the Fins, Fans, and Flange
Amazingly, the fridge fins fit almost PERFECTLY under the hood!
I snared some 11/32 PCV hose, from the same parts store that was closing, and hooked it to the trimmed ends of my fins. One for the uptake, and one for out. I didn't want to be distracted all day with the sound of the water dripping out, so another hose should allow the output to flow under the water line.
The pump just sits in the bottom of the cooler using suction cups, and I cut a hole in the top of the cooler to allow the power cord to come out.
I decided to hold up the radiator fins in the lid by using some 6MM threaded rod (had it in stock).
I simply cut it to length across the lid and 'threaded' them to hold the unit up.
I mounted my fans and my flange.
The fans will blow down into the cooler.
I cut a hole for the power cord from the fountain pump.
note, I found some Peel-N-Seal caulking on clearance at my local hardware store, so I picked it up. This way, I can caulk everything and if I see I did something wrong, or want to re-do something I can just peel up the caulk. As you can probably tell from the pictures, the caulk was pretty old, and about half set in the tube. I had to cut the tube open from the side and just work it like play-doh
Step 5: Hook Up the Pump
Here Is how I hooked up the pump. I just cut off the ends of my fins and hooked up my PCV hose. I then connected the end of one of the hoses to the pump, which just mounts on the bottom of the cooler with suction cups, to the pump outlet, and secured with a hose clamp. It seemed a little loose.
Step 6: Add the Drain and Exhaust Fan
I just took apart the air purifier, and used my angle grinder to trim away any excess plastic. I trimmed it to fit almost perfectly across the drain opening, and let enough of a "tab" to reuse one of the drain screws, easier to mount!
I then mounted the fan, and gorilla glued the speed control knob to the other side. I got out my liquid electrical tape and gave all the connectors a good coat around the edges, 'cause that's how I roll.
Step 7: Add Duct and Get Ready to Roll!
I added my 7" adjustable elbow, I had to cut the bottom portion open, I just drilled out the rivets, so it could fit nicely inside. I caulked the rim of the flange with more of the Seal and Peel Caulk, mounted the fan and drain assembly, then added ductwork.
Since I drilled out the bottom section, I got it to be a nice tight fit, then just used two sheet metal screws to hold it together. I didn't go too tight, this was it is still adjustable.
Step 8: Chill
Now fill the cooler with cold water and Ice, and Chill!
So far so good! Nice and cold, but it's only been mid 80's outside, so about 90 in the shed. I guess the real test will be when it's over 100!
My only concern so far is that the 158GPH pump may not be enough. They make a 260ish one at Harbor freight, so I may have to upgrade to that in the future!
It's been a while but I have some rough figures....
The ambient temperature in my shed lat summer was 112F
I could not do a cool down estimate as the door was open because I used this to cool my equipment for an outdoor move theater.
using 2 - 15# bags of ice I was able to produce a "cool factor", cold air blowing at 42F out of the cooler for a duration of at least 8 hours, we finished the movie and went to bed after that, so it may have been longer...
this is a nice option for equipment cooling!