How to Make a Homemade Air Conditioner

Homemade Air Conditioner
Photo by Liz West.

One of the best ways to save money and keep cool at the same time is by building your own homemade air conditioner! Believe it or not, they are not that hard to make. With just a few materials, you can be up an running in less than 30 minutes. Below, we’ve put together a compilation of some of the best YouTube “how to” videos that will how you how to build your own homemade AC.

1. This method uses a cooler, a fan, a dryer vent elbow,and some ice. You will need a cutting tool to make the opening for the fan and ventilator.

2. This version is a variation of the first, but uses a styrofoam cooler. It also shows you how to can make it be powered by sunlight.

3. For this one, you use a 5 gallon bucket instead of a cooler and PVC pipe.

How much does it cost?

These air conditioners can cost as low at $8. Depending on what you already have in the house, it may even be cheaper. Here’s a list of the materials you’ll need, some of which you can buy online. We’ve created links for your convenience for some of these items.

  • Portable fan

  • Ice/Frozen Water Bottle

  • Knife or saw (depending on the material of the cooler)

  • Drier vent or elbow PVC

  • Marker (for marking where you will cut the top of the cooler)

With these materials and the instructions on the videos above, you can be on your way to creating your very own air conditioner in no time! If you prefer to read instructions, you can visit this article by our friends from The Air Conditioner Home Guide. Enjoy!


What is an Outdoor Air Conditioner?

Outdoor Portable Air Conditioner

Wouldn’t it be great to have a way to cool off during the hot summer while you’re outside? Well, with portable outdoor air conditioners, you can do just that. These units provide the relief that many of us are looking for. Below, we talk about how these units work, show some examples of current models, and some tips about about outdoor ACs.

Why an Outdoor AC?

You may be wondering why spend the money on an outdoor air conditioner in the first place. Well, for those of us to like to be outside this is a great option to keep cool. These ACs come in handy during sporting events, outdoor gatherings, mechanic bays and other types of events where people spend a long time outdoors and want to be kept cool.

How They Work

Outdoor ACs use an “evaporative” method of cooling the air. While traditional air conditioners use refrigerant, these units use water and a special filter to extract heat from the surrounding air and blow out cold air. Because of this, they are also called evaporative coolers. For more information on Outdoor Air Conditioners, and to see the top models on the market, please see this article.

Outdoor air conditioners come in different sizes and capacities. Some are the size of indoor portable air conditioners  and can be used inside or outside, while others are larger and are built just for the outside.

Outdoor Air Conditioner Models

Here are some examples of outdoor units:

  • Honeywell CO25AE 52 Pt. Indoor/Outdoor Portable Evaporative Air Cooler

Honeywell Indoor-Outdoor Portable AC

This Honeywell unit can be used in a bedroom, living room or in the garage or back porch. For more information or to purchase, please visit this page.

  • Port-A-Cool Unit with 700 sq foot capacity Outdoor Portable Air Conditioner with 700 sq ft capacity

This evaporative AC will cool a pretty good-sized area. For more information or to purchase, please visit this page.

  • Port-A-Cool unit with 900 sq. foot capacityOutdoor Air Conditioner 900 sq. ft.

This unit will lower the temperature 15-25 degrees. For more information or to purchase, visit this page.

  • Islander Outdoor Portable Air Conditioner

Portable Outdoor Air Conditioner Islander

This outdoor air conditioner is built for patios and other home settings. This video gives more details:

You can get more information from the manufacturer here and to purchase, please visit this page.

Other Things to Consider

These units will cost less to operate than traditional air conditioners. Some people have even replaced their central AC and replaced it with an evaporative system. These systems work best in dry climate conditions, though. They are more expensive to purchase and install, but will save money in the long run.

Since outdoor ACs use water, they will need to be refilled daily. The larger units allow for a traditional garden hose to be attached to them, while the smaller units will need to be refilled manually.

When used indoors, the evaporative coolers will tend to create humidity. If you live in a dry climate, this will not be an issue. For those who live in a more humid climate, opening a window will definitely help.

Whether you are working on your car in the garage, hosting an outdoor party or working on that remodeling project, portable air conditioners provide a viable solution for those of us who like to keep cool while outside.

For more information on DIY air conditioning, you can check out our friends at The Air Conditioner Home Guide.

Get Your Air Conditioner Ready for Summer

Air Conditioner Service
Photo by Ron Cogswell.

As summer approaches, many of us start thinking about what needs to be done to be ready for the heat. One of these items on our “to-do” list is checking the air conditioner. In this post, we will discuss 3 things to be sure and check before cranking up the AC.

Are the Filters Clean?

The first thing to look at is whether the filters are clean. Window units have filters in the front, so you can clean them fairly easily. Portable ACs and other types of air conditioners vary in their filter placement, so you may need to look at your owner’s manual or look it up online.

If you have a central system, the filters will either be in the furnace (assuming the unit also heats) or around the house in intake vents. These filters either need to be replaced or cleaned, depending on the type of filter.

If the filters are not replaced or cleaned, the unit will not cool properly. After a while, it could even damage the motor. Not replacing the filters will also affect air quality, so you really want to make sure to take care of it.

For a great selection of filters and other AC maintenance products, please visit this page.

Is There Enough Refrigerant in the AC?

Besides the filter, you also want to make sure that there is enough refrigerant so that the air conditioner can cool as it’s supposed to. This gas is what enables the air conditioner to “cool” the air. If the refrigerant is low, the unit will not cool right. At times, the AC may also freeze and you will actually see ice form in the coils.

If you’re dealing with a central unit, you will need to get a licensed professional to take a look at it. If you’re dealing with a window unit or a portable AC,  depending on the manufacturer, they may have instructions on how to refill the refrigerant or can refer you to someone that can. Most of the time, portable ACs and window ACs don’t have issues with refrigerants, but you never know.

Are There Any Debris Covering the Air Conditioner?

One quick thing to look at is whether there is any debris around or on the unit that may interfere with it’s operation. Grass, trash, leaves and other outdoor debris can clutter around the AC and prevent it from working properly.

Another area to check is the inside of the unit. Sometimes, debris can gather in the fan area or in the coils. If it’s a window unit, debris can gather inside the outer housing and sometimes birds build nests in there.

Below are two videos showing how to clean a window unit and an outdoor central unit condenser. These videos are shown for your reference only. You can try this at your own risk:

How to clean a window air conditioner:

How to clean a central air conditioner condenser:

Getting your air conditioner ready for the hot summer months is not hard to do. If you follow these three steps, you would have taken care of most air conditioner problems. If there are more extensive issues, though, you may need to call a profession to service the unit. Hopefully, you won’t have to and can enjoy a great-working AC for another year.

5 Reasons to Buy a Portable Air Conditioner

Portable Air Conditioner
Photo by Emillian Robert Vicol.

Do you have a room that needs cooling but don’t want to mess with a window air conditioner? If so, a portable air conditioner could be your answer! These type of units are extremely easy to set up and in just a few minutes you can have the comfort you’ve been looking for. Also, many of these type of air conditioners also can heat, so they can be used year-round. Below are 5 reasons you should buy a portable air conditioner.

Easy Setup

Portable air conditioners can be installed in 20-35 minutes. All that you need is a nearby power outlet and a window. Although these ACs don’t hang out of the window like window ac’s do, they require ventilation of hot air. They do this through a kit that is installed at the window, where the hot air is expelled outside through a ventilator hose similar to a dryer hose. For more information on how to install a portable air conditioner, you can see the article, Portable Room Air Conditioner Installation from our friends at The Air Conditioner Home Guide.

Reasonable Price

A typical price range for ACs ranges from $220-$550. Factors that determine their price include BTUs, brand, etc. Because of their ease of installation and the fact that they can be moved to other rooms as needed, it’s may be worth spending a little more on a portable air conditioner as opposed to a window unit.

Portable Air Conditioner

As an example, this model is priced modestly and performs well. It is currently $379.00 at Amazon with free shipping. For more information, visit this page.

Portable Air Conditioners Can be Used in Rooms Without Windows

Portable air conditioners are perfect for rooms without windows, like an attic or a computer server room. The ventilation hose can be installed in other ways besides a window. This video shows how a portable AC was installed in an attic apartment using the dryer vent opening.

If the air conditioner is for an inside room without any openings, there is a way to install the ventilation hose through a wall. You would need to create an opening and attach the hose to it.

Portable ACs Don’t Affect the Outside Look of Your Home.

If your home’s look is important to you, or your neighborhood has restrictions on window units, a portable AC would work well because it doesn’t hang from a window. Most portable ACs will include a window kit that will allow you to attach the vet hose without any damage to the window.  For example, this window kit can be installed vertically or horizontally.

Portable Air Conditioner Window Kit Edited
Portable Air Conditioner Vent

The hose fits into the opening of the adapter and the window rests on it providing an air-tight fit.

Quiet Operation

Portable Air Conditioners tend to operate at a quieter volume than window units. If noise level is important to you, then a portable AC would be the way to go.

Other Thoughts

A portable air conditioner is also a good option when the shape of the window is irregular and would not work with a window air conditioner. Older homes and apartment often have odd shaped windows so a portable unit would the be way to go.

No matter which type of AC you decide on, a portable air conditioner could be an option that you may not have considered. They are reasonably priced, easy to install and provide comfortable climate control without breaking the bank.

3 Benefits of Window Air Conditioners

Window Air Conditioner
Photo by Todd Morris.

As spring comes to an end, many of us start thinking about the summer and what needs to get done to be ready. One if these projects may be to install a window air conditioner to a spare bedroom, garage or another space that could use more ventilation. Below are some benefits of installing a window air conditioner. It’s easier than what you may think!

You Don’t Need a Professional to Install It

As opposed to central units, window air conditions can be installed by the average home owner. In fact, there are many instructional videos and articles like this one that show you how to do it. All you need is a friend or family member willing to help you.

With an outlet nearby and the right sized air conditioner for the window that you want to use, you can have the unit installed in a couple of hours. This is provided that there are no major adjustments to be made to the window or any unforeseen issues. Other factors to consider is whether the unit will be used in second story room and if will will need additional support to hold it’s weight. If the window is a casement window, then the best option is to buy a casement window air conditioner. These types of units are specifically made to fit casement windows.

Window Air Conditioners Can Help Lower Your Energy Bill

Because window units only focus on one room, the rest of the home can be set to another temperature. This means that you don’t have to cool the entire home just to cool off one area. Many of the modern air conditioners are energy efficient as well and can significantly help reduce energy costs.

Air conditioners are rated by the SEER number. SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. The higher the SEER rating, the more BTUs of cooling power the air conditioner creates for every watt of power. The SEER rating is calculated by dividing the unit’s BTU’s (British thermal unit) by the watts used per hour.

For example, a 5,000 BTU unit with a SEER 10 rating and a cost of $0.25 per kilowatt hour, would cost 12.5 cents per hour to run. If the unit is run for 8 hours a day for 125 days (average length of summer), the cost of running the unit would be about $125 a year.

Window Air Conditioner

For example, this unit has very high ratings from consumers and can cool an average bedroom. You can find out more about and buy it here.

Window Units Can Also Heat as Well as Cool

Even though they are primarily though of as cooling units, many window air conditioners are also heaters. This is a great feature to have if you live in an area that gets cold in the winter and hot in the summer. Again, this can help reduce energy costs as the entire home would not need to be heated.

Other Benefits

Here are some additional benefits of window air conditioners:

  • Great option for older homes without central units
  • Modern units are relatively quiet
  • Cost between $100 to $600 dollars depending on the BTU and SEER rating
  • Some units come with a remote control
  • Can be turned on and off and used only when needed

Window air conditioners can provide a fast and economical way to cool a single room or make an unusable room like a garage or attic into an additional usable space in your home. All it takes is a few hours, and you’ll be ready to cool off during those hot days of summer!