How to Make an Inexpensive Homemade Air Conditioner

A homemade air conditioner can be a great alternative when you’re looking for an inexpensive way to cool an area and you are not looking to install either an air conditioner window unit or want to purchase a portable air conditioner. The steps below will show you how to make a homemade portable air conditioner.


You will need the following items to build a homemade air conditioner:

  • Cooler (either styrofoam or a regular cooler)

  • Portable fan

  • Ice/Frozen Water Bottle

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

  • Drier vent

  • Marker

As far as the size of the cooler, it needs to be large enough for the top of the unit to fit one or two dryer vents and the portable fan. A foam cooler will be cheaper, but if you plan to use the air conditioner often or for a longer period of time, you may wan to consider a regular cooler. Both of these coolers are great for making a homemade air conditioner that uses ice. To purchase either of these coolers, just click on the picture.

homemade air conditioner

Plastic Cooler

homemade air conditioner

Foam Cooler

How to Make a Homemade Air Conditioner

Here’s how to make a homemade air conditioner:

  1. Using a marker, outline a hole the size of the dryer vent to one side of the cooler top. You can also use smaller dryer vents and use two of them. If this is the case, make the outlines closer to the edge of the top and leave the center for the placement of the fan.

  2. Cut out a hole where you made the outlines with a knife. If you are using a plastic cooler, cut the holes with a saw. (To purchase this fan, click here.)

    homemade air conditioner

    Portable Fan

  3. Mark the outline for the fan. It’s best to make the cut smaller than the actual fan so it can rest on top of it.
  4. Clean the cooler and top with a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any debris caused by the cutting of the holes.

  5. Test the ventilation by attaching the dryer vent(s) and the fan and running the fan.

  6. If it is all working correctly, fill the cooler with ice or bottles of frozen water or any other frozen container.

  7. Place the top of the cooler back on and then place the dryer vent(s) and fan on the specific holes.

  8. Turn on the fan. Now you have a homemade air conditioner!

A variation of this method is to use a 5 gallon bucket instead of a cooler, where you would cut holes on the side side if the bucket for the vents. Instead of using dryer vents, you could use PVC pipes. You can drill the holes with a standard 2 inch bi-metal hole saw. The pipes can fit into the holes and would need to be 1.5 feet long.

You would then cut out a hole on the lid for the fan to rest on. To help with preventing the ice from melting too quickly, you can add a bucket liner or ice box that fits into the bucket. You would also need to cut holes into the liner as well.

These two methods will provide a quick alternative for cooling any area of a home.