How to Build Your Own Air Conditioner

Two Methods:Build Your Own Air Conditioner with a Box Fan and a CoolerBuild an Air Conditioner Using a Recycled Radiator

Air conditioning uses up 20 percent of all of the electricity used in the U.S. If you want to skip the expense of air conditioning or help the environment, then you can build your own air conditioner with either a box fan and a cooler or with a box fan and a radiator. Follow this guide to build your own air conditioner.

Method 1
Build Your Own Air Conditioner with a Box Fan and a Cooler

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    Unscrew the front gridded panel of your box fan.
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    Twist 1/4" (6mm) diameter copper tubing in concentric circles starting at the center of the exterior side of your grid.
    • Attach the end of a length of copper tubing to the center of the grid using zip ties.
    • Twist the tubing into a tiny circle. Continue twisting the tubing around the original circle until you have a series of concentric circles. Connect the tube to the grid with zip ties.
    • You want plenty of tubing attached to your fan grid, but not so much that air can't pass through the spaces between the tubing.
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    Screw the front, with the tubing attached to the exterior, back onto the box fan.
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    Attach one end of a 3/8" (9.5 mm) clear pliable tube to your fountain pump and the other end to the top end of your copper tubing. The ideal tubing for this project is the type of tubing used in fish tanks.
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    Connect the other piece of 3/8" (9.5 mm) plastic tubing to the bottom end of the copper tubing. Seal the connection with plumber's putty.
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    Fill the cooler with ice water. Submerge the unconnected end of the second plastic tube beneath the water.
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    Place the fountain pump in the cooler.
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    Put a towel under your fan. The towel will catch the condensation that will form on the outside of the copper pipes.
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    Plug in the fountain pump and turn on the fan.

Method 2
Build an Air Conditioner Using a Recycled Radiator

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    Clean your radiator before you use it. You can soak it in water and mild soap and then let it air dry.
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    Place a high-speed fan behind the radiator. You may have to place some objects under the radiator to line it up with the fan.
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    Attach a garden hose to a spigot on the exterior of your house.
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    Connect the vinyl tubing to the inlet tube on your radiator. You may have to try a couple of sizes to find the right size of tubing that will fit over the copper tubing from your radiator. The tube length should be long enough to connect with the garden hose outside.
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    Feed the tubing through a window and attach the tubing to the spout end of your garden hose with duct tape. You may need to cut a small hole in your window screen to make this work.
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    Coil your garden hose up and wrap it in a towel for insulation. Wrap pipe insulation around the exposed end to keep the water cold.
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    Attach another length of plastic tubing to the outlet tube of your radiator.
    • Thread the tubing upward through your window so that the water is expelled onto your roof or into your gutters.
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    • If you expel water onto your roof, then you'll need to make sure that the overflow hitting the ground doesn't flood your basement. Try placing a large plastic garbage can beneath the stream to catch the water, and recycle the water in your garden.
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    Attach a small hand valve to the plastic inlet tubing that goes into the radiator.
    • Cut the plastic inlet tubing to leave a 6" (15 cm) stub attached to the copper inlet tube of the radiator.
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    • Attach the end that releases water to the stub of inlet tube.
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    • Connect the side that pulls in water to the tube that's connected to your garden hose.
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    Open the hand valve completely. On the outside of your house, open the garden hose spigot to find the right water flow volume.
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    Plug in the fan and turn it on. When you're ready to switch off your homemade air conditioner, close the hand valve and unplug your fan.

Tips

  • Change the ice water in your cooler every 8 hours or so. Make sure to use the wastewater to water plants or to water your lawn.

Warnings

  • If you don't own your own home, then make sure you discuss expelling water onto your roof or into your gutters with your landlord. Be prepared to repair or replace your window screen when you move out.
  • Water and electricity don't mix.

Things You'll Need

  • Box fan
  • 20 feet (6 m) 1/4" (6 mm) copper tubing
  • Zip ties
  • 3/8" (9.5 mm) plastic or nylon tubing
  • Plumber's putty
  • Cooler
  • Towel
  • Radiator
  • Garden hose
  • Exterior spigot
  • Pipe insulation
  • Small hand valve
  • Fountain Pump

Article Info

Categories: Air Conditioning