Building an Air Conditioner Out of a Cooler

If you have the ability or desire to create homemade appliances, you can make an air conditioner out of a cooler and a few household items. Before you decide to start this do-it-yourself project, you must make sure you have the tools and the space needed to complete it. If you have the space and the tools, then this project will only take you a few minutes.

Get your Ingredients

The best coolers to use for a homemade air conditioner are a 5 or a 10-gallon cooler with a lot of insulation. Make sure that the cooler is working properly and will fit in the area that your homemade air conditioner will be stored, or easily portable if you want to move it around your home frequently.

You will also need a fan that will be able to move along with the cooler. If your cooler is going to sit on table, you could use a fan that stands on the ground behind the cooler. If your cooler is on the ground, you should get a shorter fan to sit on the ground as well.

Purchase some ice. You may want to use a block of ice, as blocks will melt slower, allowing you to use your cooler a little longer before having to add ice. If you do not have blocks of ice and want to use bags of ice, note that you should fill the cooler with 2 to 3 bags at a time (if they will fit). If you are experiencing a heat spell, you may want to store extra ice in an outdoor freezer as well.

As for tools, all you need is a drill with a ½-inch drill bit.


Once you have your cooler set up in your workplace, drill 6 holes about 5 inches apart directly in the top of the cooler, letting the drill bit drill all the way through to allow the cold air slowly leave the cooler from the top of the freezer.

Fill the Cooler with Ice

Make sure to fit as much ice as you can into your freezer to keep your cooler working as long as possible throughout the day. If you are only wanting to use the air conditioning for a while, you could add less ice, but the air flowing out of it will not be as cool as it would be otherwise.

Set Up the Unit

Place the cooler where you would like it to work from. It is advisable to put some plastic or metal underneath the cooler just in case the water from the ice will leak out of the machine. The plastic will help protect your floors and carpets from becoming water damaged. 

Set the fan behind the cooler where the airflow from the fan will coincide with the air from the top of the freezer, cooling the air in the room.

Though a homemade cooler air conditioner will work for a while, they are not practical for long-term use, as it would have a lot of maintenance, but in the event you would need another option, a cooler air conditioner is a good way to go.