Monday, June 24, 2013

Build Your Own $30 Beer Bong Air Conditioner

Recently our air conditioning system broke, which is not pleasant in a hot, dry Colorado summer. See, contrary to popular belief, we are not full of snow year round, and we don't all ski to work. It's 100°+ here in summer (38° C for our non-Americans friends) and without AC, it's like living in an oven.

The soonest a repairman can come out is one week. One agonizing week. So like any man with a lack of common sense, I had one of those "hold my beer, I'm going to make magic happen" moments. I set out to build my own air conditioner for under $50. McGuyver style.


It turns out the end result actually worked. So I thought I'd share it with you all today.

What you need:

1. A fan ($15)
2. Copper refrigerator tubing ($10)
3. Rubber or vinyl tubing ($5)
4. Zip ties ($1)
5. Small hose clamps ($2)
6. (Optional) Submersible water pump ($15)
7. (Optional) Your favorite craft beer (no cost - come on, you should already have this)

Step One: Crack open a beer. Not only will you preemptively cool down, but the more you drink your beer, the more you'll think this is a brilliant idea.

Step Two: Zip tie the copper refrigerant tubing in a circle around the front of the fan, and then cut off the ends of the zip ties.



Step Three: Using hose clamps, tie the vinyl or rubber tubing to each end of the copper piping.

Step Four: Get one container and fill it with ice water (B). For that truly "I'm poor" look, I like using a milk jug. Get another container and let it serve as your drain (A).


Now, treating it like a beer bong or like you're siphoning gas out of your asshole neighbor's truck (Or, I guess if you want to get all scientific, Bernoulli's equation), suck on the drain end (A) until cold water starts flowing into the copper tubing. It'll get trapped in there, and since the copper retains the water's coldness, the fan will blow cold air until the water reaches room temperature again (30 minutes or so). Once it warms up, just repeat the siphoning process to flush out the warm water into your drain, and pull more cold water into your copper coiling.


Voila! Ice cold air... So long as you're willing to act like a fully booked prostitute and suck tube hourly.

BUT WAIT. THERE'S MORE (screamed Billy Mays' reanimated corpse). Because like any lazy ass innovative DIYer, I'm a fan of any project that involves someone or something else doing the work for me. So if you have an extra $15 to spend, let's kick this bitch up a notch and add some automation so you can give those poor lips a rest.

Step Five: Take a submersible fountain water pump, and hook one of the vinyl/rubber tubes (I ended up going for a bigger, thicker black tube over that small, less efficient white tube for better liquid flow... feel free to insert your own dick joke here) to the pump, which you'll put at the bottom of a cooler full of ice water. Then take the second tube, and let it drain back into your cooler.

build your own air conditioner

Now when you start the pump, it'll push water in a constant icy stream through the copper tubing, then drain back into the cooler, where the process will repeat. And with the stream remaining constant, the copper piping (and the air pushed out of the fan) will be much colder.

There you go, your own ghetto homemade, fully automated wannabe air conditioner. I'm not kidding - not only does this work, but it works pretty damn well. If you don't believe me, just ask my cat, who absolutely loves it and has not stopped standing in front of it all weekend.


So (hopefully) now you can say something that no one's probably ever uttered before: "Reading A Beer for the Shower has taught me something." And if your AC conks out on you or you're just feeling cheap adventurous, you now can go forth and impress your friends, family, or spouse by building this device... Or add to their suspicion that you're a bizarre recluse with too much time on your hands.

Either way, as my favorite Canadian handyman always used to say, "If the women don't find you handsome, at least they should find you handy."

Cheers and stay classy, folks,
Bryan (and Brandon)

Beer: Sam Adams Summer Ale
Music: The Wombats

71 comments:

  1. That's pretty damn brilliant. My a/c unit is nearly 20 years old, so I may need to implement this. You have taught me something this day.

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  2. I agree - brilliant!
    And of course, the AC only goes out when it's brutally hot.
    I'm too lazy. I would've spent the week in a hotel. Four star, of course. Three star is camping.

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    1. Seriously, it was 70-80 throughout the entire beginning of June, and then suddenly when we reach 95-100, BAM, the AC dies instantly. It's like a cruel joke.

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  3. This is super duper brilliant. Beer brewery,meth lab experience? Seriously this is pretty smart, patent it Bryan. And this poorman's air conditioner, I have heard them being referred as air cooler. You have a little scientist in you.

    BTB, how much do you charge for passing on your wisdom? My son would love to have you as his mentor. Trust me, the trending hash tag in our home now is #invention ;)

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    1. Well, I had to do something to keep my brewed beer cold and my meth lab from blowing up...

      I gladly pass on my "wisdom" for free. The fact that anything I've done is being considered as wise is payment enough for me. Also, you have a trending hash tag in your house? Where do you live, Twitter?

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    2. "wise" as payment?! you receive that after every post of yours.
      when you ask me like that yes, with my grammar skills and the fact that I still type my mails in sms/twitter lingo and have asked my kids to speak in less than 140 characters or less, since I can't step into Narnia wardrobe to listen to their marathon "invention stories" looks like we indeed live in Twitter:)
      Let me change my kids name to tweedledem tweedledum whatever your the missing link twins names are :)

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  4. I am impressed. But I guarantee that would not go so well for me if I try...

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  5. Red Green is proud of you, eh? The final panel with the duct tape brought a tear to his manly eye.

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    1. I watched that show for its entire 15 year run, and I'll be damned if it didn't rub off on me a lot more than it should have.

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  6. While this does seem like a brilliant plan, it also sounds like it takes some effort...while it's hot. As I don't function well in the event of no central air...I want my unhandy, mulletless guy to understand why it is necessary for me to check in over at the nearest hotel until the air conditioner guy gets over to cool our house down.

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  7. As your #1 fan, THIS cat-smelling fan? Is so craptastic I feel like I'm dreaming. Another tip to bring your body temperature down, I mean if you DON'T like sucking something every hour? Fill a large vessel, say a bathtub, with cold water and sit in it. I know, not nearly as clever, but you probably already have beer in there I'm guessing.

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    1. This would be great if it weren't for needing a computer for writing/blogging. Turns out that my laptop isn't very water-proof, and I as a human am not very electric shock-proof.

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  8. haha you could market that and be a rich. Give two for the price of one, except shipping and handling and there you go lol...why they hell do they lick the fan blades? Mine does it as well. Guess that pea brain has a garden of its own.

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  9. Geez, I about spent that on battery operated fans when our power grid went down last summer. I'll have to save this on favorites so that apartment maintenance can build one next time ours goes out.

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  10. Forget the writing gig (not that you aren't brilliant writers). But, post this on You Tube, send it to Ellen and VOILA, instant fame and fortune!!!!

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  11. Inventions? Y'all have really kicked it up a notch.

    Okay, Edison, now if you can show me how to make a road-worthy car, you'll have pretty much saved me enough money that i won't have to work.

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    1. Get me a shopping cart, an old lawn mower, a junkyard steering wheel, some ropes/pulleys, and a case of beer (my payment), and LET'S DO THIS SHIT.

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  12. That is a pretty damn ingenious invention there. I wouldn't think of something like that, but as creative as I am when it comes to stories and things, I'm not much of a handyman.

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  13. Dude, your cat is a genius!

    Yeah, I know who REALLY came up with that brilliant A/C idea and put it together while you were passed out from 12 too many 12-ounce curls of 'Sam Adams Summer Ale'.

    McGUYver was asleep, a mixture of beer and saliva drooling from the corner of his mouth, while McCATver was making the room comfortably numb... er, I mean cool.

    Hang on to THAT cat! He'll have a fully operational brewery in your house before the day is out.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. You caught me. That Summer Ale has 5.3% alcohol by volume and this lightweight just couldn't hang. Also, when not building and testing out fans, McCATver has been hunting down and eating the flies and moths that flew in from when I had to open the windows. She also licked up the water that spilled when I first put this thing together. So what I'm saying is that my cat has proved herself to be more useful around the house than any of my dogs, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

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  14. I guess I never realized that Red Green was Canadian! I thought he was a Mainer! Your homemade a/c is ingenious!

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  15. I love Red Green....and I love your homemade A/C. I need to remember this for our office. Our landlord likes to toast us in the summer and freeze us in the winter.

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  16. OK, I poured beer all over my fan but I'm still warm. Also, I'm not good at following instructions.

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  17. Fantastic idea. If that was me, I'd have just sat around sweating like an amorphous blob, offering people passing by the house money to cool me down.

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  18. Watch out, I think your cat actually wants to knock the drain jug off the table!

    Pretty cool idea, although where I live, temperatures go up to 45 degrees Celsius :O If my AC went off, I would collapse in to a puddle of depression and loathing.

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    1. Actually she just wants to drink from it. She keeps trying to drink from the cooler now that I've got it hooked up to that, too. Better than the toilet, right?

      Also, holy crap. I'm pretty sure that my poor little fan would just melt into a plastic puddle in 45 degree (Celsius) temperatures.

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  19. Damn, that's actually a pretty brilliant idea. Good thing our summers up in Massachusetts only last about 4 days, so I don't have to worry about a broken A/C for too long.

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  20. I prefer the "professional slave" look, so I'm getting a bunch of well-dressed people of color to wave palm fronds above blocks of ice.
    That may have been inspired by that Deen woman.

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  21. When the AC is broke I find the best thing to do is to just have a fan blowing directly under you nutsack while drinking cold beer! No need to be inventive....only free spirited!

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    1. But Dan, the same cooler I use to push out ice cold water I also use to hold a few beers. I'm ice cold, and my beer is ice cold. What could possibly beat that?

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  22. Gentlemen, I was under the assumption you were all looks and nerdy writing and here you are strapping on a utility belt and gettin' all Macgyvery up in here. Color me impressed.

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    1. "Jack of all trades, master of none," some might say. Some being me.

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  23. Not mentioning McGyver and duct tape initially? *gasp*

    I love how I just keep on learning stuff, even if I'll never have any usage of it. But then again, that's basically the story of my whole education - loads of knowledge never put to use. Still, I know who McGyver is... What else is there to know, really.

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    1. That's pretty much how this came about. Old useless knowledge I had retained. And yet, I took years of math class and still never use that. So for those keeping track at home...

      Knowing that copper piping will remain cold with ice water and cool whatever it touches - 1
      Calculus - 0

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  24. Necessity is the mother of invention. I heard that somewhere. You proved it here. Kudos!

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  25. Well, isn't that just brilliant? Love it :) Why wait when you can make it yourself???? And I agree- summers are very, very hot here...supposed to be near 100 all week. (and dry- not good for the fires)

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    1. Yes, it's so hot here that half the state is on fire. Meanwhile, all I ever hear from people outside of Colorado is, "OMG, I bet you just love to ski and snowboard, right?"

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  26. I'm w/ Rebecca GG, that is brilliant. I hate anything mechanical, electrical or requiring something remotely akin to mathematical applications. Inotherwords, I always call the repair guy.

    I would have been screwed in your scenario. So, second best idea, have a super handy friend like your Canadian not-so-handsome-but-definitely-handy advises.

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  27. Love the Red Green comment at the end! Gonna have to suggest this for my dad's ghetto fifth wheel!!!

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  28. Pure genius! You remind me of the professor from Gilligan's Island, only you surely would've devised a plan to get off that island.

    Stay out of harm's way. I keep reading about those fires.

    xoRobyn

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    1. We're far from the fires, but I appreciate the concern. Regardless, if we are ever in harm's way, just get me a coconut and a sharp stick and I'll build us a radio to call for help out of here. Or I guess I could just use my cellphone.

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  29. Holy Crap! It's been forever since I watched The Red Green Show! I actually met him once. He signed my t-shirt! (On the back, over one of my shoulders.)

    This is actually a very clever contraption you came up with. I'm impressed. I hope your wife gave you lots of extra man points for this one! :)

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    1. I'm jealous. And you never washed that shoulder ever again, right?

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    2. No, the shoulder is clean. The shirt is still signed, though I couldn't tell you where it is right now. I was 14 years old when I met him...stuff gets lost over a 17-year span. I'm just sorry that shirt was what got lost. :(

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  30. I fix everything by either hitting it until it starts working, duct tape, or cursing so much that you guys would be impressed (or shocked, I'm not sure which). But I have a broke friend who needs an A/C so I'll pass on the knowledge to her.

    Huh. I'm passing on something I learned from A Beer For The Shower to help my friend? And it doesn't involve how to dispose of bodies or correctly drink beer in the shower? I'm confused now.

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    1. Don't worry, come Thursday it'll be back to beer guzzling and fart jokes, and you'll quickly forgot you ever learned anything or helped someone.

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  31. This is amazing man, some serious genius must have went into making this bad boy, brilliant work! I hate how people assume somewhere that's stereotypically Wintery doesn't have a "typical" Summer. Even Canada is amazing during Summer months

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  32. Let's just hope there isn't a follow up post where the cat knocks the fan into the cooler filled with ice water. ZAP!

    I assume you've taken some precautions, though. I hope.

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  33. That is truly ingenious! If it ever gets hot enough up here in Igloo-land, I'll have to give that a shot (since I don't own an AC to start with...).

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  34. Yes, if I were single and my air conditioner was broken, I would totally shag a guy who could do this!

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  35. Erm..amazing invention. Only rich people have AC here...but when I want one I'll know where to look. Amazeballs..l came for the jokes and got a DIY AC..what next?

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  36. This has fame written all over it

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  37. That is breathtakingly bogun (which is Australian for redneck)!

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    1. Thank you for introducing me to my favorite new word.

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  38. I want nothing more than to try this, right now. Unfortunately, I have to go to work, and then I have to wait until Sweetie is not home, so I can grab the boys and go get this stuff and then hook it all up, and that won't be for hours, if not days, which means that I am likely to misremember the basics and end up inventing a way to shoot ice cubes at the boys using a simply home fan. Which sounds about like my level of handiness. DON'T WORRY, I'M GONNA PUT HELMETS ON THEM BEFORE I SHOOT ICE CUBES AT THEM. That's called parenting.

    Seriously: this is an incredible idea and I do want to try it.

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    1. And if you invent a fan-powered ice cube launcher, then you need to tell me how to build that. Because that was be awesome.

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  39. Seriously... Brilliant idea. Very well done! I've always said the best blog posts come from suffering.

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  40. Impressive! My air conditioning is not great, so this would be a great supplement, although with my skIlls, I would probably end up with a heater. Love the kitty pic!

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  41. Our AC has blown up in June twice in the last 5 years. I would like to add that you should move as little as possible. And when you do have to move do it slowly so you don't work up a sweat. Just pretend it's a long action sequence from The Matrix. The more beer you drink, the more this will make sense.

    That homemade AC is freakin' brilliant though.

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  42. I am truly impressed with your genius. I hate when the A/C dies. I never had it growing up but now that I've had it for a few years I can't live without it. You'd think I was dying a slow death whenever it goes on the fritz. You found something I think I might be able to do. Although I may end up electrocuting myself somehow. Perhaps I should leave this project up to my hubby.

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  43. Now you tell me. this would have been useful while I lived on island, now I'm freezing my kazoo, will something like this work for a heater too.

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  44. My brother was in the room, so when I laughed all loud, he wondered what it was. "Well, at least it works".

    It IS amazing. You should patent it. Call it the freezy fan or something. Yeah!

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  45. My son in law will love this one. lol

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  46. I have to show this to my husband. He's an HVAC tech.
    And quit your bitching! What I wouldn't give for DRY heat.

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  47. I really really want to try this but it is not hot enough here...but i guess I could just use a heating wire...wait that would probably melt everything...hmm I try it any way.

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  48. Impressive! Also - kudos for choosing the Wombats. They're awesome

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  49. Holy freaking crap that's brilliant. And kind of scary that it works. Love the shot of the cat. Mine likes to lay in front of the air conditioning vents for hours and blocks them from blowing out air!

    Hate to admit this, but the mullet is actually working for you there Bryan.

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  50. if you are looking for another option that does not require any hole in the wall or window space, this is the best bet for you. They come in various attractive designs and are quite portable designed to take as little space as possible.contractor

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