Turn Your Old Cooler Into A Portable Air Conditioner

A few years ago I was fixing up an older Jeep Cherokee XJ and when she was finally up and running a problem was realized.  It was June in South Louisiana and the Jeep’s a/c system was leaking Freon.  With no room in the budget for a/c repair or replacement I took to the internet to see what could be done for me to drive my baby without sweating bullets.

My first stab at staying cool was by purchasing the RoadPro 12V Tornado Fan.  Though it was pretty loud, the fan was quite strong and very impressive.  The conditions inside the Jeep were definitely improved, but I knew that I could do better.

Back to the internet I went, more specifically to YouTube, and this is where I found my second, and final temporary solution to my Jeep a/c issue.  I discovered that you can make a portable air conditioner using only a fan, a cooler, ice, and some PVC pipe.  I happened to have all three laying around so I was good to go.  Below are the tools I used to make my portable a/c and the steps involved in the build.

TOOLS

Jigsaw or Oscillating Multitool

Hole Saw

Electric Drill

Silicone Adhesive

THE BUILD

At the end of this article I have posted a link to the video that inspired my portable a/c build.  I put my own spin on the project by using different components than the one seen in the video due to the fact that it was what I already had on hand.

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Trace the outline of your fan onto the top of the cooler.
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Using a jigsaw or multi-tool cut out the hole for the fan.
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Using a hole saw or multi-tool cut out a place for your PVC pipe.

This is where the cool air will exit the cooler.  If this particular cooler had enough area on the lid to put a PVC 90 degree elbow on top I would have place it there, but I put the pipe on the side due to the smaller size of this cooler’s lid.  If you put your exhaust pipe on the side of your cooler do not put it too low, as the water from the melted ice could leak out through the exhaust pipe if it is too low.

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I used a rubber gasket and silicone to seal the exhaust pipe then added two screws for good measure.
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The silicone is really all that is needed to seal and hold the pipe in place.

Your new portable a/c is practically done.  Just place some ice in the cooler and the fan in its hole, plug it in, and enjoy the constant cool breeze.

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Your portable air conditioner is complete!

I will be the first to admit that this is not the sexiest contraption in the world,(it was not always this dirty) but it is literally a very cool project that is a lot of fun to complete.  I was skeptical at first but this thing rode in my passenger seat and worked great.  Believe it or not I actually had temperature readings in Fahrenheit ranging from the upper 40s to the lower 60s exiting the pipe.  The large variance in temperature was due to the amount of ice and type of ice used (packs vs. cubes).

Chances are you have everything you need to make your own portable a/c already laying around your house as I did, but if you do not but would still like to undertake this fun little project I have linked to some affordable components below.

48 Qt. Ice Chest

110V Fan

12V Vehicle Fan

Oscillating Multi-tool

Or you could just splurge for a store bought portable a/c unit like the Black and Decker 8000 BTU Portable A/C.

Here is the link to the YouTube video that inspired my own portable cooler a/c build.  Portable A/C Video

Thank you for reading.  Be sure to like, comment, follow tool-school.com and share this post on social media!  Have a great week!

Jake with tool-school.com

DIY Home Air Conditioner Maintenance

If you are anything like me you find yourself getting sucked into a riveting infomercial from time to time.  No matter how useless the product may be to you, or how cheesy the pitch, you just cannot change the channel.  One of the classics that wasted my time on more than one occasion was the ad for the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ Oven.  According to the product’s super enthusiastic pitch man, this rotisserie oven practically cooked supper for your family, your only role in the process was to “Set it, and forget it!”   The idea of setting it and forgetting it did not intrigue me in those days as a bachelor as it does now a father of three, soon to be four, youngsters, but would I really trust a heat-generating electrical appliance to behave unattended anyway?

Unfortunately many of us treat our homes as the infomercial pitch man encouraged us to treat his rotisserie oven, just “set it, and forget it”, when we should be tending to it as if we were deep frying a Thanksgiving turkey.  With so many components and systems in modern homes there are so many things that can malfunction and affect other systems in the home negatively.  As homeowners we tend to assume the best for our new appliances, hvac (heating, ventilation, and cooling) systems, structures, and additions, so much so that we leave many of these things unattended and uninspected until there is a noticeable reason to pay them any mind.  This article will discuss a few proactive approaches to home hvac system maintenance that can save you a ton of time and money in the future on reactive solutions.

Below are a few proactive measures that you can take to ensure that you get the most from your home cooling system for years to come.

  1. Outside Components

outside ac

Outside Compressor Unit

  • Routinely check for and remove debris from in and around the outside components of your hvac system
  • Rinse the fins of your outside unit with a garden hose at least twice per year.  Never pressure wash the unit as the strong water pressure could cause damage to the delicate aluminum fins.
  • Straighten bent fins using an a/c fin comb tool.
  • Check unit with an I beam level to ensure that it is level
  • Have unit inspected and serviced by a professional before the hot season when it will be in use

Inside Components

DSCF6566

Inside Coil, Blower, and Return

  • Change your air return filter at least once per month
  • Insulate drain lines to avoid water damage from drain line condensation
  • Install a drain line clean out port like the one pictured below and ensure that the line is not clogged at least once per hot weather season.  I have seen these lines get clogged to the point that water will overflow from the drain pan and flood the flooring of a home.  It is not pretty when it happens.  These lines can be cleaned out by using a wet/dry vac to suction out the obstruction.

dscf6567.jpg

Believe it or not, these few simple maintenance practices can save you a bunch of time and headache in the future.  I actually had to replace a portion of my house’s subfloor due to water damage from condensation dripping onto it from the a/c condensation drain line.  Had the previous owners of my house taken the time to perform the routine maintenance discussed in this article I would be a few thousand dollars richer today.

Regardless of the age of your home’s hvac system I urge you to forgo the “set it and forget it” mentality.  Your home’s a/c system should be tended to like a pan of hot grease and not a slow cooker.  Remain attentive and proactive in the care of your hvac system and you will get the most from it with as little headache as possible in return.

Below are a few additional resources for the maintenance and care of your hvac system that are very helpful and informative.

Essential Maintenance for an A/C Unit

DIY A/C Maintenance and Repair

A/C and Refrigeration Repair Made Easy

Thank you very much for reading, please be sure to like, comment, share, and follow tool-school.com.  Have a great day!

Jake

 

 

Your House is a Deep Fryer, Not a Ronco Showtime Rotisserie

If you are anything like me you find yourself getting sucked into a riveting infomercial from time to time.  No matter how useless the product may be to you, or how cheesy the pitch, you just cannot change the channel.  One of the classics that wasted my time on more than one occasion was the ad for the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ Oven.  According to the product’s super enthusiastic pitch man, this rotisserie oven practically cooked supper for your family, your only role in the process was to “Set it, and forget it!”   The idea of setting it and forgetting it did not intrigue me in those days as a bachelor as it does now a father of three, soon to be four, youngsters, but would I really trust a heat-generating electrical appliance to behave unattended anyway?

Unfortunately many of us treat our homes as the infomercial pitch man encouraged us to treat his rotisserie oven, just “set it, and forget it”, when we should be tending to it as if we were deep frying a Thanksgiving turkey.  With so many components and systems in modern homes there are so many things that can malfunction and affect other systems in the home negatively.  As homeowners we tend to assume the best for our new appliances, hvac (heating, ventilation, and cooling) systems, structures, and additions, so much so that we leave many of these things unattended and uninspected until there is a noticeable reason to pay them any mind.  This article will discuss a few proactive approaches to home hvac system maintenance that can save you a ton of time and money in the future on reactive solutions.

Below are a few proactive measures that you can take to ensure that you get the most from your home cooling system for years to come.

  1. Outside Components

outside ac

Outside Compressor Unit

  • Routinely check for and remove debris from in and around the outside components of your hvac system
  • Rinse the fins of your outside unit with a garden hose at least twice per year.  Never pressure wash the unit as the strong water pressure could cause damage to the delicate aluminum fins.
  • Straighten bent fins using an a/c fin comb tool.
  • Check unit with an I beam level to ensure that it is level
  • Have unit inspected and serviced by a professional before the hot season when it will be in use

Inside Components

DSCF6566

Inside Coil, Blower, and Return

  • Change your air return filter at least once per month
  • Insulate drain lines to avoid water damage from drain line condensation
  • Install a drain line clean out port like the one pictured below and ensure that the line is not clogged at least once per hot weather season.  I have seen these lines get clogged to the point that water will overflow from the drain pan and flood the flooring of a home.  It is not pretty when it happens.  These lines can be cleaned out by using a wet/dry vac to suction out the obstruction.

dscf6567.jpg

Believe it or not, these few simple maintenance practices can save you a bunch of time and headache in the future.  I actually had to replace a portion of my house’s subfloor due to water damage from condensation dripping onto it from the a/c condensation drain line.  Had the previous owners of my house taken the time to perform the routine maintenance discussed in this article I would be a few thousand dollars richer today.

Regardless of the age of your home’s hvac system I urge you to forgo the “set it and forget it” mentality.  Your home’s a/c system should be tended to like a pan of hot grease and not a slow cooker.  Remain attentive and proactive in the care of your hvac system and you will get the most from it with as little headache as possible in return.

Below are a few additional resources for the maintenance and care of your hvac system that are very helpful and informative.

Essential Maintenance for an A/C Unit

DIY A/C Maintenance and Repair

A/C and Refrigeration Repair Made Easy

Thank you very much for reading, please be sure to like, comment, share, and follow tool-school.com.  Have a great day!

Jake