Homemade Air Conditioner

Edmonton is currently in the midst of its 2 weeks of actual summer weather.  That means that temperatures are hovering in the high-20s most days.  Today the mercury hit 30 degrees for the first time this year.  I needed to find a way to stay cool through this heatwave.

Rather than dropping the cash on central air conditioning or a portable air conditioning unit, I decided to make an air conditioner based on designs seen here and here and here.  The basic idea is that you have a cooler of icy cold water.  You use a pump to circulate the cold water through copper pipe that runs in front of and behind your fan, thus cooling the air circulated by your fan.

I picked up all the supplies I needed with one stop at Canadian Tire:

  • One desktop fan (I used a 16″ fan)
  • A cooler with capacity of approximately 25L (I went with a real cooler instead of styrofoam)
  • 20 feet of 1/4″ copper tubing
  • 10 feet of 3/8″ clear vinyl tubing (1/4″ interior diameter)
  • A small fountain pump
  • Zip ties
  • Small hose clamps
  • Various hand tools already on hand – screwdriver, hacksaw or copper pipe cutter, scissors, utility knife, etc.

I spent just over $100 on supplies.  You could definitely do this with less expense if you used a fan on hand and a cheaper cooler option.  I went with something a little more durable, as we’ll be moving this around the house and we’re hoping to use it for more than one summer.

swamp cooler  013

This project is still in progress, but I’ll share a photo of my work so far.  I’ve got the copper tubing attached to the fan and I’ve connected the pump and vinyl tubing to the ends of the copper.  Once the project is complete, I’ll provide an update and more photos.

Rather than giving a detailed step by step, I recommend checking out my inspiration sites above.  Others have already spent a great deal of time explaining how these contraptions work.

I can’t wait to get this finished and up and running!  I’m anticipating a cool bedroom and easier sleeping tonight.

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5 thoughts on “Homemade Air Conditioner

  1. Hey did it work ok? My only main concern is hope did the pump do with the icy water? I have a very large pond an the ice messed up pump last year.

    1. Had no problems with the cooler water. We used ice packs so there were no ice chunks in the water flowing through the pump. Worked very well overall and makes the 1-2 heatwaves per year much more bearable.

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