Monday, July 26, 2010

hillbilly air conditioner

Although we live in Georgia,we have no central air conditioner or even a room air conditioner. Most of the time our single fan keeps us cool enough to be comfortable but  over the last few weeks we have been having quite a heat wave. Temperatures have been in the mid nineties with high humidity so the heat index has been  at 100 or more  for several days now and is something we are not all that accustomed to.  If we were employed perhaps we would just go out and buy an air conditioner but were aren't so we have to make do with what we have on hand in order to try and cool ourselves down a bit. In our internet travels over the last couple years we have run across the hillbilly or redneck air conditioners that folks have made so we decided to give it a whirl and see how they work.

This is not green or exactly eco friendly, but it is using what we had on hand, recycling it  and making the appliances that we have already sucking juice work a bit more  to earn their keep. This is also not anything like an air conditioner and will not cool your home down like an air conditioner, but it will bring the temps down to a more tolerable level.

Rather than make a whole new tutorial on this, I will refer you to the tutorial that we used for our project. We  mostly followed this, but we used an old water cooler instead of a foam one and we used an  inline diaphragm  pump from the old trailer we scrapped instead of the one like they use in the tutorial. We  made the copper tubing able to be untied from the fan so that we can move the fan  and use it as  needed. Lastly, we hooked the pump up to a battery rather than electricity because we could.

This cost us zero dollars to make and took about an hour of time when it was all said and done.  The other day after setting it all up we managed to cool the room by five degrees in about a half hour. The one down side that we have seen to it is that the ice melts rather quickly  and because of the style of pump we used we can only run it for short periods at a time. No matter,  it has served its purpose and it has been fun to experiment with.

We made ours with a box fan complete with dust, but we have seen them  on all types of grated fans.
We then took a coil of copper, already coiled even and attached it to the front of the fan. Most people use zip ties to do this but we wanted to be able to use the fan as a fan so we used yarn to attach it. Most tutorials we have seen use copper for the coil. It keeps the cold better than other tubing would although we think that most any tubing could work in a pinch.
We drilled holes through the top of our water cooler so that we could  set the pump on top and run the tubing through for the water intake and out put. Most folks use a submersible pump  that  actually goes in the  cooler itself.
Because of the the pump that  we used, we put  an old piece of carpet on top of the cooler  so that when running it would cut the noise level and so the pump wouldn't rattle itself off the top of the cooler. Next simply put water and ice in  and put a towel or something under the fan  for any condensation and  chill out.


  1. very cool! (LOL)
    In the old days, they would hang sheets soaked in cool water in the windows and door ways and let the breeze flow thru the moist cool cloth.
    I would try a cool damp cloth hanging on the back of the fan and see how that works...
    hope the heat breaks for you soon!

  2. Excellent!
    Something along the same idea that i grew up with ....
    In the bush you would often have a "room" that had hessian on three sides that you hosed down to make the "room" cool - using the basic idea of the Coolgardie safe.

  3. Very creative. It's been quite hot up here too. I don't think I could make it in the south!

  4. Glenni was looking into some type of homemade geothermal ac thing. He says he thinks he can do it. IDK? I'll have to show him your idea. It's been awful hot here. This trailer feels like a sardine can left out in the sun when it's this and we are the sardines, boiling! lol I've even considered putting a screened in porch, with hammocks so we could sleep better! I cringe to think it will be like when we come off grid :( What to do!)

  5. I love the ingenuity here, but I think it would take up too much of my time to create something like this. I'd rather just buy new AC units.

  6. Nice spam job there Mikesac.. if you would like to supply us with a/c for free we would take it however we are poor folk and can't afford it at this time..

  7. friday ... mathing wants one of those cooler contraptions lol... they remind me of a style of dehydrator here in the states (i think its from here in the states but may not be lol)

  8. M the geothermal is a good idea, would probably work better... we thought of a geothermal solution but diggin for the tube would be some tough diggin here..

  9. Frugality and ingenuity at its best. I love it. I wish I had thought of it before this past this heat I finally broke down and got an A/C for the yurt last Saturday. I'm finally reasonably comfortable but I dread the coming electric bills...


  10. Bob, Because of the humidity here it actually did not do enough cooling to justify making all the ice and keeping up with it.It would go through 10 pounds or so of ice in just a few minutes and if you didnt immediately put new ice and drain some of the water out it would warm right back up. In a drier environment, i think it would work very well. We have run the fan more this summer than we have in as long as i have been here. One fan running 24/7 has increased our bill by 8 bucks a month or so..couldnt imagine what an a/c would boost it up

  11. "How can you be assured in the reputation of the company of the air condition repair you phone? How do you know that this company is reliable and good? So better stay at home and try that one. It must be cool enough than just spending big amounts of buck for a Split System Air Conditioner."
    This is what came up to my mind when I didn't buy an aircon yet.

  12. People really have innovative ideas nowadays! I mean, they do things that can solve their problems, even for a short time. You did a good job recycling, though. You helped the environment and survived the heat as well. :D

  13. Your blog is providing very good information about Ac repair greenacres

    Thanks for sharing great post...

  14. Really nice and impressive blog for sure I learn more from here.

    Air Conditioning Contractor Toronto

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.