Air Conditioners – Keeping the costs down
Like most things, the innovative have discovered how to keep themselves cool at a fraction of the cost of an installed split air-conditioner which uses a compressor and refrigerant. Be warned though, depending where you purchase your hardware it can rack up more than a hundred dollars like it did me.
Here is a link to a cooler which uses cold water to cool down your environment. Although it professes to be a spot cooler I did make one and with leaks and all it cooled the temperature down by at least 5 degrees C (31C to 26C) in our living room. Admittedly I use a larger fan, diameter 40cm (16″), more piping around the outer area, piping is 8mm diameter (5/16) and I used glands to seal off the ice box. I could not get the plastic pipe to seat properly against the copper pipe which created one leak which subsequently was fixed by rolling two turns of insulation tape around the circumference of the copper to make a tighter fit for the plastic pipe.
Although one can pick up a 2nd hand A/C unit with warranty for about 200 dollars the biggest problem here is the running costs – electricity isn’t cheap and I would need an 8 000 BTU to 10 000 BTU air conditioner for our living room Mild climates don’t always call for drastic means but anything above 30 degrees C does mean a bit of discomfort. Unfortunately I would have loved to have tested this ‘alternative’ means to cooling down the air in our recent 40 degree C bout of weather but like all mother of creations, we do the deed after the fact.
Was it worth it? I think using the same principle with a proper evaporator would have being much more efficient. This will be my next project. Secondly, whether running copper piping into the ice box would make much difference is debatable – I left that out. Further experimentation on this unit in future – it’s an easy build and fun too. Insulating the plastic piping is very important. Power consumption – water pump is a ViaAqua VA-470A 1800 L/Hr or 800 L/Hr at 1.4m 60W and the fan is driven by a 70W motor. Locally we pay about 16c kW/Hr so we are looking at about 2c per hour or over a month continuous, 15 US Dollars. Of course the freezer had to make ice so this would have cost a few dollars more all in all, a much cheaper alternative to a 3kW air conditioner. As efficient, no.
A Water Evaporator System
I liked this post on the Instructables – maybe a bit more sophisticated than the average project which means more time and money but a solid design and one which will work well. Go here.
and of course, last but not least, using a home made evaporator come water cooler: http://www.instructables.com/id/Free-Air-Conditioning/?ALLSTEPS