Beat the heat on a budget: How to build your own makeshift air conditioner

Posted at 12:22 PM, Jul 24, 2018
and last updated 2020-08-16 19:03:16-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The weather around San Diego is heating up, but if you’re without an air conditioner, there is a way for you to beat the heat while on a budget.

Using a few items you can find at a hardware store, you can create your own makeshift A/C for less than $20.

You’ll need:

-- a 5-gallon bucket with a lid that fits tight over it or Styrofoam cooler container with lid (for a larger version)
-- curved PVC pipe (for a larger version)
-- a drill
-- cutting tool such as an X-ACTO knife
-- sturdy tape
-- desktop electric fan with protective guard
-- up to 4 pounds of ice

Using a bucket:

1. With the lid tightly fit on the empty bucket, cut a hole on the lid big enough to firmly hold the fan’s protective guard (which contains the fan blades). Tape the fan to the bucket, if necessary.

2. Using a drill, create at least one hole (two maximum) in the bucket that is about one-third of the way from the top of the bucket's lid. The hole should be positioned high enough on the bucket that it is above the ice level.

3. Remove the lid and fill your bucket with 4 pounds of ice. Ideally, the bucket of ice will last up to two hours.

4. Place the lid with the fan back onto the bucket and close tight.

5. Turn on the electric fan and position your hand over the hole(s) to make sure cool air is coming through.

Using a Styrofoam cooler container:

1. With the lid tightly on the empty container, cut a hole on the lid big enough to firmly hold your electric fan’s protective guard.

2. On the other end of the lid, cut a hole big enough to firmly fit a large curved PVC pipe section.

3. After filling the container with 5 pounds of ice, put the lid back on tightly. With the container size, the ice will ideally last up to five hours.

4. Turn on the electric fan and position the fan over the PVC pipe to make sure cool air is coming through.