Martha and the Vandellas were on the right track — heatwaves can definitely tear you apart. The current temperature in NYC has our “heads in a haze“, and being as energy conscious as we are, we’re torn between being unbearably hot or turning on the electricity-eating AC. Well, we just might have a wonderful compromise — a DIY AC that you can make out of inexpensive and readily available materials — we must add, for our peace of mind, that you should switch out the Styrofoam (GASP!) cooler above for a reusable one.
According to the US Department of Energy a typical window air conditioner will use about 10 times as much electricity as a fan — sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the size of your AC and fan. Generally speaking, a fan is much more energy efficient. Although we’re not sure that this homemade AC will cool you down as much as an AC unit would, it’s definitely better than a simple breeze. It works on the idea that if you pump cold water through tubing in front of the fan it will immediately cool the air blowing on your steaming face.
You’ll need a fan, some tubing for the water to run through, a water pump, some twist ties (or zip ties), a cooler, water and some ice. The assembly is simple — the first step is to remove the front grate on the fan and affix the tubing with the twist ties. Then you attach the tubing to the water pump, fill the cooler up with water and ice, stick the pump in and press go. Voila! Some cold respite from the heat without the electricity bill — and green guilt — that you’d have with an AC unit. For more detailed instructions and some trouble shooting ideas head over to Instructables, where they’ve got all the directions posted, along with some helpful photos. And stay cool out there!