DIY Bucket A/C

3 Materials
1 Hour

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Like us, you've probably had this project pinned for some time. Anyone who has ever worked in a hot garage, in summer, in Florida knows that even a tiny hint of cold air is welcome relief! I wanted to try the project but didn't want to go to the expense and effort of ordering the needed styrofoam bucket liner that the project required. I was on the lookout for something that would eliminate the need for the liner. As luck would have it, I found this insulated vertical drink cooler that would be perfect for only $2 at a yard sale. I already had the needed plastic tubing, fan, and hole saw cutter so the expense for this project was minimal!


- Insulated bucket (this was picked up from a yard sale for $2)

- Plastic or PVC tubing

- Tape to seal tubing (optional)

- Fan to fit top of bucket

- Jugs of ice

Watch the video!


Using a hole saw bit, drill three holes to match the diameter of the plastic tubing you are using near the bottom of the bucket. Mine was 2 1/8". In hindsight I should have drilled mine closer to the bottom. (I will plug the existing holes and re-drill them.) The theory for holes closer to the bottom is that cold air settles to the bottom. That way the fan is blowing out the coldest air possible. Science-go figure!

Cut three sections of plastic tubing or PVC pipe about 6" long. Place tubes into bucket. I did not secure mine, but they can be sealed into place with any number of products including wrap and seal tape.

To use:

Place frozen jugs of water into the bucket, place fan on top, turn on and enjoy the tiniest amount of cold air ever!

This really doesn't produce any discernible cooling of the surrounding area but if you are right in front of the tube vents, there is a noticeable cooling. I wouldn't say this is a fail as any sort of cooling in Florida is blessed relief but I wouldn't count on a DIY bucket A/C to keep you cool.

This was a fun project/experiment of a pinned project.

For more details and a how-to video visit our website!

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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 23 questions
  • Victoria Hiers Victoria Hiers on May 30, 2021

    I live in Coastal SC and boy does it get hot! I think you did a great job! I love it! This will help cool my hobby room. I'll still use my usual fans to circulate the air. Anything helps. Plastic jugs of frozen water lasts longer than ice! And it's portable unit!

  • Jim Cox Jim Cox on May 31, 2021

    Did anyone else mention this would require plugging into a GFCI circuit? Otherwise you would have to add a GFCI plug to the fan cord.

  • Gwen Gwen on Jun 03, 2021

    What kind of a fan is that? Where’d u get it???

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2 of 175 comments
  • Sheros Sheros on May 03, 2023

    This is similar to the personal chillwells you can buy now..It's just enough to give you a bit of relief...I think its cool...pun intended..:)

  • Doreen Kennedy Doreen Kennedy on May 29, 2023

    Basically a block of ice with a fan like my grandparents used.