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Heat Wave Creates Redneck AC
updated: Aug 29, 2015, 2:00 PM

By Billy Goodnick

Here’s what’s been keeping me cool in my stuffy 2-car-garage windowless office conversion. It’s been called a Redneck AC and I found instructions on YouTube. 



  • Small, cheap styrofoam ice chest
  • Sharpee marker
  • Small desk fan, 6” to 8” diameter
  • 2” diameter PVC elbow fitting (optional)
  • X-ACTO razor cutting tool, or other sharp device
  • 3 to 4 frozen jugs of water (loosen the lid and leave a few inches empty for expansion or you’ll crack the jug)


  • Use the Sharpee to trace the outline of the fan onto the lid of the cooler. Make it just a bit smaller than the fan to assure a tight fit. You can trim more later.
  • Do the same on the side of the ice chest for the PVC elbow
  • Fit the fan into the hole in the lid so it just pokes into the chest with a tight fit. The lid might vibrate and resonate, so I put a small pillow on the clear area of the lid and the sound goes away.
  • Fit the elbow into the side for a tight fit so you can adjust it to point where you want it.
  • Place the frozen jugs in the chest and plug in the fan.


While it’s not enough to cool an entire room, if you place the Redneck AC unit close to where you’re working, you will soon feel a bubble of cooler air surrounding you. I’ve moved a thermometer around in my office and have had at least a 8 to 10 degree cooler work space. It’s highly portable, so you can move or aim it where you work —  just keep it nearby and don’t trip on it. Water will condense on the bottles and drip in the bottom, so be certain to keep the fan far from moisture. The bottles last throughout the work day for me, then they go back in the freezer and I start eating Trader Joe’s Soy Cherry Chocolate Sorbet. 

Extra Bonus Beat the Heat Device

Personal cooling neck wrap: I have a neck wrap bandana that is filled with polymers that absorb water like tiny sponges. I soak it in a bowl in the morning for about 20 minutes to get it “charged.” Once it’s “plumped up” I loosely tie it around my neck and the coolness of the water makes contact with the arteries in my neck for instant relief. When the surface against my neck becomes warm, I just roll it to make contact with the opposite side. I use it when I’m working outdoors on landscape jobs, or even on very hot days working indoors. Discovered it one muggy, sweltering September day in Dallas. Haven’t been without one since. Search terms: personal cooling system; cooling neck wrap; evaporative cooling neck band. Shop on line or check out a local travel supply store. 

Stay coolio, boys and girls.


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