Modern fans were invented in the 1800s, but people have been trying to control the temperature for a few thousand years. Air conditioning units as we know them came about a century later in 1902.
Unfortunately, commercial air conditioning isn’t an option for all of us. Whether it’s an issue of cost or we simply don’t want to go through the hassle of setting it up, sometimes the best solution is to make a DIY air conditioner.
It turns out that making an air conditioner on your own isn’t just possible, but it’s not all that complicated. We’ll talk about some of our favorite methods below.
1. Styrofoam Air Conditioner
This is an affordable device you can make using only a styrofoam cooler, some ice, some PVC elbow pipes, a portable fan, and a knife. Some estimate that this project can be done for around $20, but it’s hard to say for sure. Many different factors affect price, so what’s $2 at one store may cost $5 at another.
Once you have gathered the necessary materials, the first step is to take the front covering off the portable fan. It takes up room that you’ll need later, and it’s better if the air isn’t obstructed.
Place the fan, sans front, on top of the cooler lid at one end, and cut around it with the knife. Make the hole just big enough that the fan can rest on it without wasting air or falling in.
Place the elbow pipes at the opposite end of the cooler lid. One of the open ends of the pipe should point down at the cooler, while the other should point away from the fan.
Cut holes on the lid of the cooler around the pipes. This will effectively create a system where the fan pumps air into the cooler, where the ice cools it further. The cold air is then released through the only hole available–the PVC pipes.
2. Fan Conditioner
Another great example of a DIY air conditioner is what we’re calling a fan conditioner. Invented by a college student in Canada and featured on NPR, the fan conditioner is made using a standing fan, ice cubes, a cooler, and copper tubing.
The idea is simple enough. The first step is to get a cooler. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to use a cooler. The original version used a trash can.
The next step is to place one end of the copper tube into the cooler. Metal is known for heating up and cooling down more quickly than other materials. As one end of the copper tubing becomes colder, the energy is spread out across the tube, which causes the rest of it to become colder.
The final step is to take a floor fan and coil the wire around in front or back of the fan. Some specifically advise fastening the tube to the front of the fan, while others claim that attaching the tube behind the fan has the same result.
How you attach the tube is your choice, but you shouldn’t use something that takes up much space. Duct tape, for instance, will block off some of the air coming out of the fan, which may cause it to function less efficiently.
3. Solar Evaporator Cooler
There are many DIY air conditioner ideas out there. The next DIY air conditioner on our list is the solar evaporator cooler. This requires more time and money to build than the other entries on this list, but it’s a sophisticated system that can last for quite a while.
This project is best left to those who are more tech-savvy and have some skill at building or fixing things.
The materials are also a little harder to get than the other items on this list. First, you need an evap air cooler.
You have a few different choices when picking one of these out. You can probably find a few at Walmart or various home improvement stores, but if money is an issue, you may be better of getting a used one online.
You will then need to acquire a pallet and something to hold the unit up. If your evap cooler does not have a twelve-volt pump, you will need to acquire one. Some of the most affordable ones run on very little power, so while it’s efficient, you may need to choose between leaving one panel unused and investing in a more powerful pump.
Next, you’ll need a fan if the cooler doesn’t already have one. The original model had this problem, so a 16″ fan was substituted.
The original creator made an adaptor out of pressboard, also known as Masonite. This was done by cutting a hole in it that the fan fit snugly into. Even if you don’t need to put in a new fan, you’ll likely need pressboard later on.
They then cut a larger hole around the fan that was just large enough to be attached to a duct. One end of the duct was attached to the bottom of the air cooler using duct tape. You could probably use other materials as well, but duct tape is the easiest.
You may also need to carve out another adapter so you can secure the other end to your window.
Then, you’ll need to wire the device so you can turn it on and off. This can be done by using wires from the pump, and some wires from the fan, wiring it into a controller or power box and then attaching the other end of the wires to a solar regulator.
Finally, attach a hose, or another water source, to the float valve. You now have a solar-powered cooler.
How to Build a DIY Air Conditioner
Heating and cooling a home can be expensive these days, but you could build a DIY air conditioner. We’ve talked about a few here, but people have come up with many other ideas. You may want to look into them as well.
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