These homemade air-conditioner designs take the mystery out of cold-air production. Some are complicated, some are cheap and simple, some run on alternative energy, and the last one is so out there that you'll just have to try it. Check out the links below to our favorite DIY air conditioners from our friends at Instructables, and good luck keeping cool.
The California Cooler is a revival of an old technology driven by an insight that's overlooked in these days of engineered indoor environments: Cool air keeps things cool. In the days before refrigerators, pantries in Northern California homes had outside vents that preserved perishables throughout cool nights. With this project, you can bring them back.
Afraid your baby's seat is getting too hot? A cooler, a bilge pump, freezer packs and tubing will keep you and your baby cool.
Consider these two facts: Evaporation cools things, and bottles can't sweat like people. If they could, they would be able to keep their own contents cool. Here's a way to give your drinks their own perspiration system.
This is a $10 air-conditioner built around an ice chest. The coolant is, you guessed it, ice. It's practical and cheap, but even if you don't plan to make one, click through to read the back story of how it was conceived. The main character is an electric truck circa 1979, with cameos by store-bought $500 portable A/Cs and a Tesla Roadster.
Air conditioners can dump hundreds of gallons of water each year. With a pump and some creative pipe work, you can channel that otherwise wasted water into your garden.
The mastermind behind these instructions built an air conditioner to circumvent a rule in the office. Apparently, they can't use A/C, but fans are just fine. So, this DIYer rigged an A/C by pumping cold water in an ice chest through copper tubing positioned in front of a fan blade.
Ugly and effective, this air conditioner costs as much as you'd pay to run a fan and water the lawn at the same time. If the water coming into your home is cold in the summer, you can divert it through a maze of copper pipes with aluminum fins, place the contraption in front of a fan, and voila: The water cools the house on its way to the lawn.
Salvage a computer fan, power it with a solar cell, and surround it with wet cloth. That's the gist of this mini solar A/C. At $5, it's cheap too. You could place a half dozen of these around the house. Just make sure they match the curtains.
On smoldering hot days, Rob Patto derives smug satisfaction knowing that the same sun that keeps him huddled indoors is also cooling his home. Here, he describes how he gutted an evaporative cooler and cobbled his A/C together from salvaged and new parts. Be sure to read Patto's separate instructions on setting up solar panels to power the unit:
Using only a tin can, a CD, a computer fan and ice, this is a brilliant design for a tiny air conditioner. The best thing about these instructions are that their maker doesn't speak English as a first language, so they're concise and rely heavily on photos.
This must-do DIY project turns a stack of two soft-drink cans, a balloon and some intricately folded wire into a goofy and brilliant rotating area fan.