How to Make a DIY Swamp Cooler

Staying cool doesn’t always have to be expensive. If you’re on a tight budget and need relief from the heat, a DIY swamp cooler can do the trick. A swamp cooler uses evaporative cooling to bring down the temperature. Basically, all you need is water, dry warm or hot air, and a means to generate airflow.

A traditional swamp cooler system consists of a motorized blower, evaporative pads that pull in warm air, and a water supply valve. A pump delivers water to the evaporative pads, while a float rises and turns off the valve when water reaches a certain level. Once the pads are in contact with water, the blower motor engages and warm air is pulled in; the moisture cools warm air that passes through the pads.

Cooled air is then blown through a vent and into the room.

Building Your Own DIY Swamp Cooler

Since the concept behind how a swamp cooler works is relatively simple, it’s possible to build one on your own. Follow these steps to build the most basic DIY swamp cooler from scratch:

1. Gather Supplies and Tools

Start by collecting the necessary supplies. These include a plastic or foam bucket or container (five gallons), a small fan, and water. You’ll also need a drill for harder materials; a razor or knife will work for foam. Ice and a small towel-sized, breathable cloth are needed as well.

2. Prepare the Body of the Cooler

Remove the container lid and make holes in the bottom. This can be accomplished with a drill, knife, or screwdriver depending on the material. How many holes to make is up to you. Some people prefer larger holes toward the center or a concentration of smaller holes.

3. Connect the Fan

Measure the front face of the fan and cut a corresponding sized hole in the lid. The hole should be just the right size. Otherwise, the fan may fall into the cooler. Then, it won’t only be ineffective, but could also short out if water contact occurs. Place the fan face against the hole and apply an adhesive tape, glue, or caulking around the edges. Allow the adhesive to dry.

4. Make Sure the Unit Is Properly Assembled

Check for gaps around the edge of the lid or if any parts are loose. Secure all parts and make sure the swamp cooler is sealed. Next, plug the unit in and verify that the fan is working and air flow is sufficient.

5. Add Water and Ice

Fill up the inside of your DIY swamp cooler with water and ice. The holes you made should be covered with a cloth; make sure it’s properly sized and trimmed so it fits over the holes and interior of the container. Turn the unit on and start to enjoy a fresh cool breeze.

Tips for Making Your Swamp Cooler Even Colder

To get even colder air, you can try the following methods:

  • Fill the container with the coldest water possible; chill it in the freezer if necessary or add crushed ice.
  • Frequently replenish the ice; this is simple as you can keep adding ice cubes from time to time (one to two dozen of them gets the best results).
  • Place the cooler away from direct light, which can heat the water and melt the ice, making the cooler less effective.
  • If there’s room, drain the liquid and add dry ice, which can make a big difference if you’re looking to really chill things down.
  • Get a dehumidifier as swamp cooling works better with dry air; the cooler will therefore be more effective since dry air doesn’t feel as hot.

Black Hills Inc. Home Services Can Help with Efficient AC/Heating Systems

If your AC or heater isn’t providing the comfort you expect it to, contact Black Hills Inc. Home Services. We’re highly trusted in the Olympia area for HVAC repairs, installation, and maintenance. Available 24/7, we provide emergency service, and guarantee flat-rate pricing. To learn more or request prompt AC repair in Olympia, other services, or more DIY swamp cooler advice, call 888-978-2917 today.