Summer's heat is upon you and you don't have the money to buy or power an air conditioner. What are you to do? Luckily there is an answer that doesn't cost hundreds of dollars to make, and more hundreds to operate: A home crafted swamp cooler.
They are easy to make and the principle is simple. In fact, it is the same idea used in store bought swamp coolers.
To make one, you will need:
2 five gallon buckets
2 yards of burlap
1 box fan
2 pedestals capable of holding buckets full of water, about half the height of the fan
Set the buckets on the pedestals, on either side of the fan, close to the fan but not touching it. Decorative bricks work well as the stands for the buckets of water, however you can use whatever is handy and usable for supporting the weight of the water.
Fill both buckets three quarters full of cold water. Place the burlap ends in each bucket and stretch the fabric over the front of the fan. Allow it to sit for several minutes, and then turn on the fan, facing toward the room. Note: Do not cover the back of the fan because that can cause it to work too hard to draw air, and can result in the burnout of the fan.
How it works: The burlap material soaks up the water. Soon it will be entirely damp. As the wind from the fan blows through the loose fabric of the burlap, the moisture and cool air is sent into the room, cooling it. You will need to maintain the level of water in the buckets since the water levels can drop quickly from evaporation, but this is the same principle that is used by store bought swamp coolers.
Adding a few drops of scented oil, such as lavender, to the water will also make the house smell good and fresh.
Adding ice to the water can boost the efficiency of this home cooling system since it cools the water even more.
It should be noted that you should never turn on an appliance or handle it in any way if you have wet hands at the time. Doing so can result in severe shock. Likewise, make sure the burlap is over the front of the fan, not above the fan or in back, for the same reason. Even discomfort is preferable to death or a hospital stay.
This home-made contraption may not look all that appealing, but if you are lacking the funds to purchase and run an air conditioner, this system can cool your house against the worst that summer has to throw at you. The best of all, it costs less than $30 to make, and costs much less than a microwave oven to run.
Each year, thousands of people suffer temperatures above a hundred degrees for days or weeks at a time. Many of those people have and use fans, which does at least move the air. However, with the simple addition of the buckets, water, and burlap, it is possible to cool the house far more than a fan alone can do. They don't need to suffer the ravages of extreme heat and can get a little relief from the high temperatures.
Do yourself a big favor. Spend this summer in relative comfort without spending your hard earned money on cooling costs.