How to Make a Cheap Air Conditioner

What You'll Need
Two 5-gallon buckets
1 box fan
2 yards of burlap
2 pedestals strong enough to hold water-filled buckets, which reach approximately 50 percent of the height of the fan

Air conditioners can be expensive, so if you are on a tight budget, you may want to learn how to make your own cheap air conditioner. Below are instructions on how to take (mostly) common household parts, and turn them into a device—albeit, not the best looking machine— that is sure to cool you off on hot summer days.

Step 1: Set up the Buckets

First, you’ll need to set up your buckets on your pedestals, flanking one or the other side of the fan; adjacent to the fan, yet not touching it. For your stands, you might consider using decorative bricks. If you don’t have decorative bricks, however, anything you have around the house that can hold the water’s weight, will do.

Step 2: Fill your Buckets

Next, you’ll want to put water in your buckets until they are about 3/4. After that, put burlap edges into each bucket and pull the material across the fan’s front. Let it stay like that for a few minutes, and then switch the fan on, with it facing into the room. However, never put burlap over the back of the fan because it may force the fan to work too hard taking in air. It can also lead to the fan burning out.

Step 3: Watch It Work

After assembled, this swamp cooler functions as follows: The burlap takes in the water, and quickly gets water-soaked. When the air from the fan filters through the burlap’s loose fabric, the cool air and water are pushed into the room and drive out the heat. To keep it working, you’ll need to keep an eye on the water levels in the buckets as water will evaporate in the process.

Step 4: Words of Advice

If you put a couple drops of scented oil (e.g., lavender) into the water, a fresh fragrance will circulate through your home. Also, if you throw in some ice, the unit will work even better.

Step 5: A few Words of Warning

Don't operate or hold this machine it in any manner if your hands are wet. If you do so, you may get shocked severely. Additionally, make certain the burlap is only over the fan’s front, not above it or on its back, for the same reason—to avoid electrical shock.

Granted, this homemade instrument might not look pretty. But if you cannot afford a store-bought air conditioner, this simple device can cool of your house during even the hottest summer days. Not only is it functional, but it will only cost about $30 to construct and will uses cost electricity than your kitchen microwave.