How to Turn a Styrofoam Cooler into an Air Conditioner for $8

If you’re currently living in a home or working in an office that resembles a hot box, then our hearts are with you—it’s not easy to function when you’re constantly on the verge of overheating.

And while there certainly are a plethora of A/C options on the market for purchase, it’s no secret that these machines end up costing a pretty penny, especially when it comes to that dreaded energy bill.

Because we want you to be able to spend that hard-earned money on water parks and trips to the beach this summer, we have a hack for you today that will literally save you hundreds on cooling expenses—and the best part is that it only costs 8 bucks to make!

To get started on building your own air conditioner, first gather together these essential materials:

  • Styrofoam cooler
  • 2 dryer vents
  • Tabletop fan
  • Marker
  • Precision knife
  • About 3 1-liter bottles of frozen water
  • Several ice packs (optional)
  1. Once you have everything set to go, draw two lines onto the top of the lid, so that it is now sectioned off into thirds. From there, place your dryer vents on the opposing ends, facing out, then grab your fan and lay it on its front-side. Now that everything is in place, carefully trace along the bases of the three items.
  2. Remove the vents and fan and begin cutting along the lines that you just made. For this step, it’s best that you follow the dryer vent trace marks to a “T”, but give your fan some buffer space. Your goal here is to have the fan “sit” on top of the cooler, so adding an extra inch of space on the inner border should make for a much more stable foundation.
  3. Afterwards, you will probably be left with quite a bit of white pilling in and around the cooler. It’s important that you vacuum up the stuff right away as the excess may get stuck in your cooling contraption once turned on.
  4. Head to your freezer, grab your bottles of frozen water, and place them in the cooler. Once inside, fasten the lid on top of the foam cooler and drop your fan and vents into the holes.
  5. Now that everything is secure, you are ready to turn on your new super-powered cooling machine. Pretty easy, huh?

Believe it or not, this cheap, little contraption can actually cool a room down to an impressive 50 degrees. On top of producing chilly air, it also uses much less energy than a traditional air conditioner. This, of course, can translate into a teeny tiny electrical bill that may end up being over 100 bucks cheaper than if you were running a traditional air conditioner.

To get some more helpful tips on building this incredibly economical, DIY A/C, be sure to watch Household Hacker’s video below. What a great way to stay cool (and save some cash!) this summer!

What do you think of this homemade air conditioner? Have you built one of these yourself before? Do you know of any other ways to create a DIY A/C?