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!


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.