RV swamp cooler on the cheap

Burning Man fallout: DIY portable camping PVC pipe evap air conditioner by graywolf.

What he built is a tube framed by PVC pipe with a Fantastic Endless Breeze fan at the top, a tub at the bottom, wrapped in cooler pad material, and a small 12v water pump to circulate water. The fan runs about $70 and the pump under $15. Tub, pipe, and pad are common hardware store items and should run well under $50 with the pads the most expensive item (e.g. Dial Mfg. 3072 Dura-Cool Pads at ~$16 ea).

If you are looking at the RV Motorhome Solar Battery 12-Volt Evaporative Swamp Air Conditioning Cooler that runs nearly $600 and want to see what evaporative cooling will do in your RV and what it takes, the DIY project makes for an inexpensive experimental apparatus. The most expensive part of the DIY swamp cooler is the Fan-Tastic Vent 01100WH Endless Breeze 12V Fan and that is a nice item to have even as just an RV table fan.  The KEEDOX® DC30A-1230 12V DC 2 Phase CPU Cooling Car Brushless Water Pump Waterproof Submersible isn’t that expensive and appears to be a general purpose submersible 12v low volume water pump. (note: Amazon affiliate links – check ’em out and support this site!).

You might start the experimenting using the bathtub as a water reservoir. If you want automatic water filling, add a standard cooler float valve connected to the RV water supply. The two variables you will want to watch are water and power consumption. A few amps and a gallon or two of water per hour can make a big dent in an RV reserves over a hot afternoon.

Note: waste water is an attractive source for an evaporative cooler. The Burning Man have worked on that, too (see the Zyphers post on the evapotron). To use gray water for indoor cooling would require a water treatment plant to filter the waste water, apply a disinfectant, and, perhaps, a bit of perfume. — Possible but needs a bit of effort and care.

Power needs could be handled with a 100 watt or better solar system. The cost of that (think $4 per watt as a good guide) could be shared with other RV electrical power needs.

Another basic cooling device is shade. Awnings are a good start. Putting one of those 10×10 tent gazebos over the RV might also help. The problem with any of these is the afternoon Zephyrs as they can come with strong enough gusts at times to cause havoc with awnings and light structures.

Comments are closed.