Summer's officially here, and unless you're lucky enough to live above the 55th parallel, you'll probably see some scorching hot days between now and Labor Day. If you're like me, there are few things as miserable as being stuck inside without an air conditioner during the hot humid Summer months, but I realize that not everyone is fortunate enough to have access to a nice cool oasis of a/c. However, with a little ingenuity, and some spare cash, you could be chilling out to your very own DIY personal air conditioner in a matter of hours.
has a great tutorial on how to roll your own a/c unit. Granted, it's not a very compact, or even efficient system, but when it comes to cooling down in the dog days of Summer, you should take what you can get. The original tutorial goes into a lot more detail, so I'll just lay out the basics.
- An electric fan
- A big container (the bigger it is, the longer your air conditioner will run)
- Lots of salt
- Zip ties
- 20-25 feet of both copper and vinyl tubing
If you don't already have most of these items, you should be able to purchase all of them for around $30. Once you've got all the necessary pieces, the rest is fairly easy.
- Fill your big container with lots of ice and water. Mixing a little salt into the water will help lower the freezing point of the ice, which will in turn keep the water cooler for longer.
- Attach the copper tubing around the back, or the front, of your electric fan with zip ties. Try to use as much as you can, while leaving space for the warm air to move through and over the tubing.
- Chop your vinyl tubing into two pieces. One will be used for water intake, and the other will be used for water waste.
- Connect one end of the intake tube to the copper tubing on the fan, and submerge the other end in the bottom of your big container, which should be filled with salty water and ice.
- Connect one end of the waste tube to the open end of the copper tubing, and run the other end somewhere that is significantly lower than the bottom of your big container. Since this is where the water will exit the system, it would be best if the tube ran outside, or at the very least, into a drain.
- Kick start the system by siphoning water through the open end of the waste tub. Keep sucking until you taste water.
- Turn on your fan and enjoy the cool breeze from your very own DIY air conditioner.
Over time, the author of the original tutorial has developed improvements to his design, but the most interesting modification
was made by another guy who hooked up an aquarium pump to the waste tube, thus creating a closed loop system. If someone could modify an aquarium pump and fan to run off a solar-charged battery, this would be a great way to turn your beverage cooler into an outdoor air conditioner during your next summer campout. BRILLIANT!