Those summer scorchers are no joke. If you’re looking for creative ways to beat the heat, why not try this DIY air conditioner you can make in under an hour?
Materials You’ll Need
- Box fan
- Two 20 foot 1/4″ refrigeration type copper pipe coils
- Two 3-4 foot sections of plastic tubing (3/8″ outer diameter, 1/4″ inner diameter)
- Submersible pump
- Zip ties
- Small hose clamp
- 1/4″ coupler
Tools You’ll Need
- Cutting Pliers
What To Do
Step 1: Place your box fan face up on the floor. Unravel both of the copper coil tubes into a single large spiral on the fan.
Step 2: Use zip ties to fasten the first copper coil to the fan.
Step 3: Connect the two copper coil tubes with the compression fitting. Ensure it’s screwed on tightly so water won’t escape when the “air conditioner” is on.
Step 4: Use zip ties to fasten the second copper coil to the fan, then cut off the excess ties with a pair of cutting pliers.
Step 5: Slip the copper coil about one inch into the plastic tubing and secure with a small hose clamp. Repeat with the second plastic tube on the other end of the copper coil.
Step 6: Attach the end of one plastic tube to a small submersible pump (200gph works perfectly). The other plastic tube will empty into the bucket.
Step 7: Fill the bucket with ice and turn on both the pump and the fan. You should start to notice the room cool down within a few minutes. Replace the ice as necessary.
Watch: DIY Air Conditioning with Copper Coil
Is a DIY Air Conditioner Cheaper?
If you have someone handy in your household who already owns a few of these materials, this project is not only easy to make, but cheap!
However, buying everything from scratch can run up a bill around the same price as an off-brand portable air conditioner.
- Box Fan – $30
- Copper coils – $50
- Plastic tube – $5
- Submersible pump – $35
- Zip ties – $5
- Small hose clamp – $5
- 1/4″ coupler – $15
- Bucket – $3
- Ice – $3
All of these materials make a total of about $150. Of course, this will beat the price of a central air unit by a long shot, however, you might be able to find an air conditioner with a warranty at around the same price, if you look hard enough. Most decent portable air conditioners range between $200 – $400. In-window air conditioners are less versatile but can be found for even cheaper. Portable evaporative cooling fans are the most affordable option, however, they work in a different way and only in very small spaces. They help to cool the air using water, but unlike air conditioners, they add moisture to the air instead of removing it.
That being said, there are other reasons to choose a simple DIY air conditioner over a conventional store-bought one.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy showed that while air conditioning coolants have been contributing to the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer, natural alternatives could be a viable solution.
As Science Daily summarizes, “The 1987 Montreal Protocol and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol called for countries around the world to phase out substances like CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), and HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) that deplete the ozone layer and cause global warming. Many heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems still use these synthetic refrigerants that violate those international agreements and inflict environmental damage.“
The researchers proposed geothermal heat pumps that run on natural materials like ammonia and n-butane as eco-friendly alternatives that can also help families cut energy costs.
In the summer, geothermal heat pumps transfer heat from your house into the ground, and in winter, extract heat from the ground and transfer it to your home. (You might imagine how people who live in apartment or condo buildings not equipped with a geothermal system can benefit from DIY options in the meantime).