5 DIY Air Conditioner Ideas to Keep You Cool this Summer

We might be still in the dead of winter but that shouldn’t stop you from preparing for the summer’s heat. Your current air conditioner might not work properly or you’re just trying to go greener for your heat remedies. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of DIY air conditioner ideas you could try and apply to your own climate.

Making an AC unit at home sounds more complicated than it really is. Indeed, you could put your handy skills to some good use if you’re trying to create something more complicated, but don’t worry. There are different levels of difficulty and you can choose which one suits your needs.

The five options we want to present to you today all work quite well. Not only will any of these keep you cool, but they also cost a few cents per day to run. Most of our options will set you back $15 or less in terms of construction materials. According to reviews, some of the options below will save you $200 a month, if you use them instead of your mechanical AC.

However, keep in mind that these DIY air conditioner ideas are meant to be space or room, or coolers. Most of them will not work as well as your traditional AC, but they can keep your car cooler for road trips. They can also keep your pets cool if they ride with you. If you connect them to a solar panel (see below), you will save even more!

Choosing the Best DIY Air Conditioner

As we already mentioned, the internet is full of DIY air conditioner ideas – more than you would ever need. However, there’s one to fit anyone’s needs, so we came up with top five that we believe will help you keep cool with minimum costs. Our selections are based on the following criteria:

  • Works the best in its category
  • Reduced costs to make
  • How easy it is to make
  • Positive feedback from users

You can find the list below (the items are in descending order); attached to each AC unit review is a video showing you how to make it. Hopefully, you can use these ideas to keep cool the upcoming summer while you reduce your air conditioning bill. Talk to us in the comment section below about your favorite.

#5 The $8 Air Conditioner

We’re all skeptical when it comes to believing marketing that says a product “works flawlessly,” but this is precisely true for this $8 DIY air conditioner. We really liked it because it’s inexpensive to make, it does its job well, and did not require advanced building skills. The PVC pipe can be substituted for dryer vents – it will reduce the costs even more. While the step-by-step video says it works flawlessly, we rated this one at #5 because cutting the Styrofoam gets kind of messy and the result is a little flimsy.

#4 DIY Air Conditioner

Ranked in 4th place, this homemade AC unit gives satisfying results in exchange for about $40 in terms of manufacturing costs. It didn’t score higher because you need some handy skills in order to follow the step-by-step video. While it is portable enough to move from room to room, the unit cannot be placed inside a car or somewhere in the outdoors. It has a sturdy construction and the demo shows the air it produces is pretty cold – even as low as 58F.

#3 Solar Powered AC Air Cooler

We’re already starting to see some improvements in terms of how well DIY units perform.  Although it’s quite similar to #5, this unit uses PVC elbow joints instead of dryer vents. Not the sturdiest AC on the list, but it’s very easy to make. All you need are a few simple tools you probably already have lying around the house. In addition to the very cold air it produces (40F in a 84F room), it can also be connected to a small solar panel. Therefore, you’re not just keeping yourself cool during the hot summer days, but you’re also saving money on the energy that you would otherwise need for your mechanical AC unit.

#2 The 5-Gallon Bucket Air Cooler

Most of you might be familiar with this option, given that the 5-gallon bucket air cooler is the granddad of all the DIY air conditioners. People have been using it for a long time as a replacement for the much more expensive mechanical AC units. Not only does it work great (blows a chilly 45F air in a house temp of 84F), but it is also easy to follow the step-by-step guide. However, you will need some tools and a little bit of handy skill. If you’re not handy yourself, ask someone who is to help you. You will need a Styrofoam bucket liner; Home Depot type stores normally carry them. If they are out of Styrofoam bucket liners, you can order them from the website. This great DIY air conditioner can’t let you down.

#1 Most Advantageous Air Cooler

This brings us to #1, which has all the advantages of #2 – and more! Not only does this AC unit feature the durability of #2, but it also brings in the extra cooling power of the Styrofoam ice chest type coolers. Demos showed the unit spews out very cool air (42F) in an 80F room with 4 percent humidity. A big block of ice can make your DIY air conditioner last up to 5-8 hours. Pour some salt on the ice block to get even more time. It was ranked No. 1 because it’s easy to transport and you don’t need even the Styrofoam liner (which can be difficult to find).

You will need a couple of tools, but the overall building process is fairly easy. Here are the specs for the fan – and solar panel, should you choose to use one:

  • Fan 12 VDC 10W 0.8.
  • Solar panel (optional) 15W 1 amp

The reviews for this DIY air conditioner are glowing. However, whichever AC unit you choose, they will help you stay cool this summer. And don’t think summer is far off because we’re just in February! It’ll be knocking on our doors with its high temperatures in no time!

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William E. Eubanks

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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