Saturday, May 24, 2014

DIY Air Conditioner

I saw this on a YouTube video and just had to try it. My sewing room upstairs gets pretty hot in the summer time, unless we keep the AC on "ice" downstairs. You use 1 1/2" ID PVC pipe pieces, a five gallon bucket with lid, either a form styrofoam bucket liner (I couldn't find one), or other insulation, a small desk type fan, and frozen water in a gallon milk jug.

Use a 2 1/4" circular drill bit to cut the holes (easy).
Then I used the rolled foam to put a few layers inside. I think I did three, then another three layers above that. Taped them together to hold them in place with duct tape. I also put 5-6 layers in the bottom. I cut the insulation around the holes and then sealed up around the holes with the duct tape. (easy)
You cut a hole in the lid of the bucket to fit the fan. This was difficult. I used a utility knife but it took some time and was hard to do. Drop in your gallon of frozen water and wallah!
It said "make a $454 air conditioner for $15"....well, not exactly. The air blowing out isn't as cold as an air-conditioner but it is cool. My cost for everything was $34 tax included. It was about $5 for the bucket and lid, $2 for the PVC, $10 for the fan, $9 for the circular bit, and $6 for the foam insulation. My friend thought a styrofoam minnow bucket might work too in place of the styrofoam bucket liner and may be easier to find, especially this time of year. I turned it on last night around 9, and ran it until about 2-3 am. When I turned it on this morning around 8:30, I noticed the air was still cool. The ice had hardly melted, so I think my insulation may have worked better than the styrofoam bucket liner.
So, there you have it! I do plan to use it upstairs or for the hubby in his boat garage in the summer.

Update: I've had it on upstairs for a few hours. It really isn't cooling very much. It might help in a very small room, maybe 10x10 or smaller. I can tell it won't be of much help in the hubby's garage.

Well, I've been thinking about this....I've got a few ideas to improve it. Stay tuned...



Anonymous said...

Hi, I found your article via Pinterest. I just wanted to let you know that it was very helpful especially your opinion on how well it cools. I have a 10x32 three season room and was thinking it may take me about 2-3 buckets of these to cool it down, lol. Either way, your insight was very helpful. Thanks! Nikki from LA

Rachel said...

I am glad it was helpful. I think if I were to make it again I'd drill the holes near the bottom and put some kind of grating to keep the ice above. That way the air would have to pass through the ice to get out. I ended up putting the milk jug of the bottom and then putting various sizes of frozen water bottles on top of it, to raise the ice. It seemed to help quite a bit.

Tommy Hopkins said...

This is a cool project! It will definitely be useful in small rooms or for when your AC is down. And knowing that it is possible to make your own is amazing. Even it’s just for short period of time, it will still be very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

Tommy Hopkins @ AccuTemp

Ambrose said...

You are lucky to be living in Myrtle Beach in the summer. This destination is tops and everyone is paying top dollar to visit. You do need air conditioning in the summer unless you are living close enough to get the ocean breezes. That's a very creative way to cool off!

Melinda Rose said...

I really like this idea -- we need to get something in place to cool our chicken coop (it gets hot!) but even swamp coolers are several hundred dollars. They don't need chilly a/c air, but they do need to avoid overheating. This would cost a lot less and hopefully help keep things cool this summer. Thanks you so much!

Melinda Rose @ Phoenix South HVAC