How to Make an Easy to Build Homemade Air Conditioner to Stay Cool

If society ever shuts down for good, or for an extended period of time, it’s more than likely the electrical grid will go offline. We will all be left to fend for ourselves in order to survive. All of the luxuries we’re used to that require electricity will be gone.

No phones, no television, no lighting in our homes, and in times of extreme heat, NO AIR CONDITIONING. Not everyone in the world has air conditioning, but those of us that do will suffer the most. How will we get around this? 

We’ll build a homemade air conditioner, that’s how! 

How is this Possible?

You can search the internet for DIY air conditioners and you’ll find some very creative ideas. A good majority of them need some source of direct power to get them to work though. 

Here are some of the great ideas we’ve seen:

  • Frozen water bottles attached to a fan.
  • Copper coils zip-tied to a box fan, with tubing running to and from a foam cooler with ice and water in it, using a fish tank pump.
  • A milk carton with a desktop fan attached
  • A thermoelectric cooler fan
  • And more…

Those require a lot of extra work and a lot of electricity. As Preppers, we need something simple, easy to make, and a unit that can work using solar power.

DIY Effective and Simple Air Conditioning Unit

Here’s the unit we’re going to teach you how to make today. This creative way to cool you down can run off of a battery or solar power, but it will need some ice, so if you don’t already know how to make solar-powered ice, there are plenty of videos to learn how to here. We will post an article in the future about how we approached this.

Homemade Air Conditioner

A List of Materials Needed (all easy to find)

  1. A hard-shelled cooler (or foam cooler, but those leak easily)
  2. Small fan (about $10-$12 dollars at places like Walmart) – 12V DC with 10W, 0.8A
  3. One 90-degree angled piece of PVC pipe – about 4” wide will do (Home Depot or Lowes carries these for under $10)
  4. A modest solar panel (but you can run this off of batteries as well) – Producing 15 watts or 1 AMP.
  5. Ice or frozen water bottles

As you can see, this is very affordable, so it’s a good idea to keep these things on hand as part of your preps.


  1. Take the front cover off of the fan, place it on the top of the cooler, and draw an outline of the perimeter of the fan.


Measure Holes for Your Homemade Air Conditioner

2. Now place one end of the 90-degree PVC pipe elbow on the other side of the cooler top and draw an outline of that too. 

3. Carefully, take a small hand saw or drill (battery-powered of course) or if you prep ahead of time, use a jigsaw, and cut out the holes you outlined from the fan and the PVC pipe.

homemade air conditioner

*Tip: Try to cut these holes just slightly smaller than the actual outline of each piece so that the fan and PVC pipe have something to fit in tighter.

*You can secure the outside of both by using caulking or duct tape (in extreme situations) to prevent air from escaping from the side, which will reduce the amount of cool air that will come out of the top end of the PVC pipe.

4. Attach the small fan (without its cover) and the PVC pipe in their respective holes.

Secure the top of your homemade air conditioner

5. Now, using the solar-powered ice that you made, fill the cooler about half full if you have enough ice. You can experiment with filling the cooler to varying levels of ice until you notice a sufficient amount of cool air coming out of the end of the PVC pipe.

You want the fan to have some room in the cooler to circulate and gather up the cool air that radiates from the ice. If you don’t have any ice, find the coldest water that you can, because anything is better than nothing. Warm water will just create humidity.

use ice to help cool

6. Make sure the cooler top is secured tightly to the cooler body. If you notice any air leaking from the sides, use caulking or some duct tape (every prepper’s greatest tool) to make a seal.

7. Attach your solar-power source (or battery source) to the fan. This person used a 12-volt battery.

Powered by 12 volt battery

8. Now turn on your fan!

Depending on the size of the room you’re trying to cool down, you should start noticing a cooler environment very soon. 

This preppers homemade air conditioner isn’t as effective as an actual air conditioner, but if you’re in a bad spot, anything helps

Are There Other DIY Prepper Air Conditioner Units?

If this unit doesn’t satisfy your need for cool air, then stay tuned for our follow-up article coming to you soon, “Your Guide to a Homemade Prepper Air Conditioner Unit – PART TWO”.


This next unit uses a box fan, two small radiator coolers, and a few other simple items. It just takes a little more work to complete. Stay tuned and stay prepared friends!

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