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16 thoughts on “DIY Air conditioners”
d000d, build yourself a carpet-scrubber next!
A friend who is a certified Wet Blanket scoffs at these because he’s convinced the energy input doesn’t merit the limited cooling effect. Any physicists out there want to summarize the merits of these projects, (or point me to a source where this has already been exhaustively discussed)?
thermodynamically, it’s probably better to just go buy an air conditioner. As it currently stands, you’re using electricity to make ice to cool air. Better just to use electricity to cool air.
These “icewater” A/C designs have been discussed at length in a number of places. In most cases, you end up either heating one part of the house more or you spend more money on electricity making the ice (or buying the ice) than you would running an A/C unit.
However, these shouldn’t be scoffed at, as those who make them may be living in an apartment or shared house arrangement where utilities are part of the rent, so electricity usage is already paid for but there’s no lump of cash to buy an A/C unit. Or, they have the bits to make something like this, or enough to buy the bits to make something like this, but can’t scrape together enough to buy an A/C unit. Then there’s the “I made it myself!” factor, which can count for a lot. Especially when you generally won’t need such a system for many days out of the year.
I run my A/C more than I need to because I’d rather pay the electricity bill than get up at the right times to open/close windows and direct fans to pull in cooler night air and shut out hotter day air, which would be even cheaper than one of these setups. However, one of these setups might be just enough to cover those few weeks when the “timed windows” system doesn’t keep the house cool enough even in tank top and shorts.
BTW, a “Wet Blanket” would work quite well as a limited air cooler in a sub 50% RH climate, just blow a fan at it/through it and it will cool the air via evaporation…
Ditto on the carpet cleaner. LOL.
Any ideas for cooling a car in the summer?
Ice based coolers definately can work but it’s hell working out the kinks. My college dorm was built in the 50’s so we didnt have air (or much heat for that matter). My cooler used ice, salt and acetone in a vacuum and fiberglass insulated beer keg. Once loaded with ice from the dorm ice machine, a small pump circulated the chilled water to a used motorcycle radiator where pancake fans moved the air. I would load the system with ice in the afternoon and by the evening the room was 15 degrees cooler but more importantly had lost 20-30% of its humidity so I could sleep. All I had to to was drain and reload the keg the next day. At first the radiator got cold enough to freeze up before I worked out the optimum airflow. Also, it needed a large sump to collect the condensate.
There are too huge benefits of using ice as a “capacitor” for cooling not to be overlooked.
1. A/Cs require venting. If you use ice, you can vent at the ice location instead of the air conditioning site.
2. Electricity on demand is more expensive than electricity during off-hours. The savings from buying cheap electricity to make the ice might offset the energy loss.
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