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How to Make a DIY Dorm Air Conditioner (with Pictures)

The bad news is you’re heading off to college and you just found out your dorm doesn’t have air conditioning, or worse, you’re already there laying in a puddle of sweat. The good news is we’re going to show how to make a dorm legal, rules compliant DIY dorm air conditioner with stuff you either already have laying around or else can find for cheap on Amazon. Credit to reddit user for the build log and pictures!

What You’ll Need:

Finished DIY Dorm Legal Air Conditioner

Here is the finished product. It only took about 2 hours to build.

Here are all the supplies you will need to build a dorm legal DIY dorm air conditioner.

I started by unraveling the copper tubing on top of the fan.

I started to secure it with the zip ties as I unraveled more.

This is how far the first 20 ft of tubing got me. I was worried it wouldn’t be enough, but the circles I had to make got much smaller and 40 ft ended up being perfect.

I attached the two sections of tubing together and kept unraveling.

Here it is with all 40 ft of tubing securely attached.

I then cut the excess plastic off the zip ties with scissors to clean it up.

The next step was to connect the vinyl tubing to the copper tubing. I did this with hose clamps.

This is the pump I installed to pump the water through the dorm air conditioner. The first model I made used two buckets and atmospheric pressure to pump the water. I kept having to switch the buckets around, it wasn’t pretty. This little 15$ pump saved me.

I secured the pump to the bottom of the cooler and attached the “in” tube.

Then I attached the “out” tube and filled the cooler with water. The water flows through all of the tubing and then back into the cooler.

I bought a bunch of these reusable freeze packs so I could keep the water cold. I have half in the cooler and half in the freezer. I switch them out periodically.

Here’s a few ice packs in cooler keeping the water cold to pump to the DIY dorm air conditioner.

I’m not allowed to have an AC unit in my dorm next year, so hopefully this guy will suffice. When it was turned on it felt noticeably colder in the area. With more and colder ice packs it should work great.

Adding isopropyl alchohol (rubbing alcohol) to the water mixture will cool down the water even further, increasing the cooling effect of the DIY dorm air conditioner. This DIY dorm air conditioner will work best if placed in a window.

If you really want to cool down the room you could consider adding dry ice, but be very careful when handling it. Also be very careful not to touch the copper pipe, as it will be so cold your skin will freeze and stick to it. You should check with your RA before you go bringing dry ice into your dorm room as it can be a dangerous substance when not handled correctly. Additionally, dry ice can let off dangerous amounts of CO2 into your room that could cause health problems without proper ventilation.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this DIY corm air conditioner guide to be useful! If you enjoyed this post then check out our other DIY projects!

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