Do It Yourself » MYO Air Conditioner

MYO Air Conditioner

Most of us look forward to summer in anticipation of beautiful warm, sunny weather. However, once it arrives it can quickly become a little TOO warm! Here’s a simple, dirt cheap way to MYO air conditioner and drop the temperatures to a comfortable level.


This simple homemade air conditioner cost us less than $12 to throw together. The cooler was $2.50 at the Dollar Tree, the fan was $8, I found a piece of PVC pipe in the garage.

MYO Air Conditioner aka Swamp Cooler

You’ll Need:
1 cheap styrofoam cooler
a small piece of PVC pipe (or you could cut off both ends of a plastic water bottle)
a small 4″ to 8″ fan


First, remove the top of the styrofoam cooler, flip it upside down (the side that faces the INSIDE of the cooler). Place the fan on it and draw an outline with a pencil or pen.


Carefully cut out the shape of the fan. I used a filet knife from the kitchen, (don’t tell my husband).


Next, flip the cover back over and gently seat the fan into the cover. Now, cut out the vent pipe hole the same way.


Trace the PVC pipe onto the side of the cooler.


If you don’t have a piece of PVC lying around, you can cut the ends off a water bottle. Basically, you just want to be able to vent the Cool air and direct it out.


Fill the cooler with ice, as full as you can. Since this is a cheap project we just fill four one-gallon jugs with water and freeze them. Place two of them into the cooler at the same time.


While two are being used, the other two are freezing (see where I am going with this??) then, when the other two that are in the cooler have thawed completely, place them back in the freezer, switching them out.

b101-air-conditioner-swamp-cooler-step-5aThis way you always have 2 ready to use and you’re not wasting water or filling the house with too much moisture. Place the top back on the swamp cooler, turn on the fan and enjoy the instant ice-cold air that streams out!


We built this “swamp cooler” in order to cool down our greenhouse. With temperatures outside reaching 95F already this year, the inside of the greenhouse was frequently reaching 135F- effectively cooking the tender plants inside.


Timeline of Cooling Effects

I’ll bet you’re wondering, “How long does the ice last?”

Well, that is entirely dependent on how the room is that you place it in, how large the room is, what the moisture levels are for the location of the “air conditioner” etc. This will cool a small room, about 10′-16′ for about 5 hours in 85F weather. Give or take an hour.

Some people have reported that this adds too much moisture to their homes, but for our particular area of relatively low humidity, we haven’t experienced this issue. Also, as I mentioned, this swamp cooler was built to cool our excessively hot greenhouse, so added moisture and humidity is a plus!

Member AnneBeth Shared this Idea in the Comments Below:

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13 thoughts on “MYO Air Conditioner”

  1. how much did it cool it down? we own a produce stand that has two enclosed walls and two screened in walls and it is already getting so hot in there. the fans are not working and the heat is baking our produce.

    • swamp coolers are great! but they produce a lot of moisture….so if you had a window to open, you could cool down a small room…..

      How much did it cool it down? We own a produce stand that has two enclosed walls and two screened in walls and it is already getting so hot in there. The fans are not working and the heat is baking our produce.

  2. i saw on youtube where a fellow took the swamp cooler idea and adapted it to an oscillating fan. he used copper or clear pvc type tubing and mounted it to the front of the fan in a coil. he had to use a small 1 gal per hr pump to circulate the water.

    If you do not want the humidity but the cool that is as possibility.

  3. i made one of these and i put it in my bed room and it works great i change the ice jugs out before i go to bed and i also made some of the rice socks and that helps to keep you cool too but all in all my room is about 5 to 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house and i like cold weather and this helps me sleep good

  4. Just to be clear, this is NOT a swamp cooler. A swamp cooler uses evaporation of water to cool the air, and is most effective in dry conditions.

    What this does is move heat from the room where it is used into the kitchen (or wherever your freezer is). It will not lead to net cooling of the house unless you get your ice from somewhere else. This *may* save energy over a window A/C unit, but it will not help if you have central air unless you let the rest of the house get warmer.

  5. Another Option you can try if you don’t have much cash is to freeze some water bottles overnight and then place them in front of a fan. It helps to put a tupperware cover underneath them to catch the condensation on the outside of the bottle. This will also drop the temperature in the room by quite a bit

  6. Another easy trick is to freeze a few water bottles overnight and then place them on top of a shallow dish (to catch the condensation) in front of a fan. This works really well to cool down hot rooms

  7. I tried this except with a ?plastic? Ice chest. It did not cool down, and someone told me the ice could not be in bottles. I used old gallon water bottles.


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