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How to Build a Dorm Room Air Conditioner

You can't study if you're sweltering. Stay cool with this handy, dorm-legal AC.


  • : Always use extreme caution when using an electrical appliance near water.
  • Step 1: Detach the fan covering Unplug the fan. Then, detach its face by lifting the latches, removing the hook, or using a screwdriver if necessary.
  • Step 2: Attach copper tubing Coil the copper tubing from the outside edge to the center of the fan's face, attaching it every 6 inches with zip ties. Leave enough extra pipe at the center to bend down so it hangs past the outside edge. Trim the pipe with the hacksaw so it runs an inch or two past the edge of the face. Then, sand the rough edges of the copper tubing.
  • TIP: Use more copper tubing on the fan's face for a more efficient heat exchange.
  • Step 3: Attach rubber tubing Cut the vinyl tubing into 4-foot sections using scissors. Then, attach them to either end of the copper tubing with hose clamps. Tighten the clamps with a flathead screwdriver. Reattach the fan face to the fan.
  • Step 4: Set up buckets Fill one 5-gallon bucket with cold water and set it on a raised surface by the fan. Place one end of a vinyl tube at the bottom of the bucket and tape into place. Put the other bucket on the ground and take hold of the other end of the tube.
  • TIP: Use ice water for an even chillier AC.
  • Step 5: Siphon and enjoy Gently suck on the tube like you would if it were a drinking through a straw. When water starts to flow, put the tube in the empty bucket, and tape it near the top. Plug the fan in and turn it on.
  • Step 6: Keep it going When the raised bucket is empty, dump the lukewarm water from the bucket on the ground, add more cold water to the raised bucket, and repeat the process to keep your dorm nice and cool.
  • FACT: Willis Carrier invited the air conditioner in the first decade of the 20th century.

You Will Need

  • 3' to 4' floor standing fan
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • 10' of 1/4" copper tubing
  • Zip ties
  • Hacksaw
  • Sandpaper
  • 8' of 1/4" inside diameter vinyl tubing
  • Tubing
  • Scissors
  • 2 hose clamps
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • 2 5-gal. buckets
  • Tape
  • Ice water (optional)

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