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Old 11-12-2010, 07:42 PM   #1
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DIY Window AC Box Build For a Tent

Hello fellow potheads!!

I decided to post this thread becuase there arn't very many diy guides here on the mag for AC boxes with pics of the actual build. I used to use a 13k btu portable ac to cool my Growlab GL145 4'x4' tent and it was very inefficient and my electric bill shot through the roof. So I decided to build a window AC box for my tent.

The problem with most AC's in tents, especially small tents, is there not being enough room for the ac to sit inside, so our only options are to use a portable and duct it in or buy an expensive mini split.
I suggest everyone who wants to build a box like this FIRST read Hoosierdaddy's thread on the planning aspects of the build, seen here https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=95491

However his guide does not list the style in which most tent AC users will need, which is the entire AC unit sitting outside of the tent. This is our final product:


This build allows me to use a $75 window ac I got on craigslist to accomplish two things: create a truely sealed environment (portable AC's exhaust a little bit of smelly growroom air) while using a more efficient machine to cool the same area.

Parts needed and costs:
10k btu window air conditioner, craigslist, $75
6" inline fan, craiglist, $70
40' weatherstrip tape, home depot, $12
12' of 2x4 dimensional lumber, home depot, $10
2x 8' of 1"x12" plywood or 2x 2'x4' MDF fiberboard, home depot, $15
2x ¼" thick 2'x4' fiberboard or thin plywood, home depot, $8
Other parts needed: powered drill, jigsaw, screws, ducting for your specific application.



The air conditioner I'm using is the LG LWHD1006RY 10,000 btu window ac. As you can see, it has cold air exhaust on front top, ambient air intake on lower front, motor cooling intake on middle sides and top, and hot air exhaust on the entire back part of the unit.


For my setup, where the ac unit sits outside of the tent completely, we need to section off a few parts of the unit to direct the airflow. The hot air exhaust will be ducted out of the ambient air room entirely. The motor intake will suck from the ambiet air where the tent sits (the same air that a light's exhaust would suck from in a sealed room setup). And the cold air intake and exhaust (front bottom and top) will each have their own seperated ducts into the tent.

So first we must use the 2x4's cut to fit snugly, but not to tight, around the exterior unit of the ac. I removed the AC motor from its housing to make this step easier.


Once you have your 2x4's cut, line them with weatherstrip to create a nice snug seal.


Either slide the square 2x4's with weatherstip over each end of the unit, or if its too snug, you can piece the 2x4's together in L shape and connect them around the ac unit.


Do the same for the exhaust side, but make sure you don't cover up any of the intake slits with the 2x4 housing or the air will be restricted from exhaust and eventually kill your ac exhaust motor.


Now its time to cut the sides of our housing in order to mount the ducting. I chose to use 1" MDF fiberboard instead of precut 1x12" lumber becuase it seemed cheaper and is easier and less messy to cut. If you don't have a skillsaw or want to use the jigsaw as little as possible, then consider using 1x12" lumber instead.

I cut the fiberboard into 1"x12" pieces to make the "walls" for both intake and exhaust sides, lined them with weatherstip tape to create a seal, and then screwed them onto the 2x4" braces.


I cut squares of the ¼" fiberboard to create the ends or the "roof" and attached it to the exhaust side.


The front required tent air intake and cold exhaust to be sectioned off from eachother, and weatherstipped to create a seal. Holes were cut to attach ducting to the front.



The hot air exhaust will need a fan to help push the hot air through ducting. The ac units exhaust fan is not designed for ducting and the exhaust motor will burn out if its working hard to push air with resistance. A 6" hole was cut for an inline fan to help exhaust the air.

Try to match your fan cfm to the cfm of the AC unit, which should be listed in the manual. Mine was 240 cfm so I matched it with a 270cfm 6" can fan, slightly overkill but I'm ducting it 15' out.


Determine the ducting you plan on using for your holes, I suggest keeping the duct size the same throughout. For instance I used a 6" intake, 6" exhaust, and a 4x12" to 6" universal register box for cold air exhaust. All of these can be bought at home depot.


All finished! I have the cold air blowing into the bottom of the tent, the tent intake pulling from the roof port, and the hot air exhausted out of the garage.


I have it and the fan connected to a C.A.P. TMP-DNe day/night temperature controller which turns on the ac and the exhaust fan when my tent temps get too high. Works like a charm and costs less than a portable.
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:00 AM   #2
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Excellent DIY show, Cannabean. I intend to build this in the spring. Thank GOD its finally cooler and I shouldn't need much A/C til then. It takes up a fair bit of floor space, I see, but it looks to be easier to build out of lumber than from flimsy foamboard. Grow on, man and thanks for the effort to make this show.

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Old 11-13-2010, 08:42 AM   #3
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Tag, thats a great pictorial.
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:59 AM   #4
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:36 PM   #5
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:10 AM   #6
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good stuff for sure. im a bit suprised that the fan too feed the cold air into the tent doesnt need a booster fan to help out. I always assumed that the fan used to blow out cold air was unable to handle any ducting (just like the exhaust fan in the back). Obviously you got it working no problem.
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:23 AM   #7
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Wow- great tutorial man! I'm not looking forward to having to do this in the spring, but I'm going to have to in an attic in Florida (its going to be 90+ up there easy in the summer). This will certainly make it easier!
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:05 PM   #8
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Hey, trying to think up questions since you probably won't be tending this thread in a few months when I'll actually use it...

I've wondered since I haven't actually bought an AC unit yet, how much air they put out. Specifically is it bad to force the hot air out by using a duct fan like you are? I mean does that cut down on cooling or something? I figure they work at a certain rate and if you're forcefully pulling the air through it into your tent and then back out and what-not does it still cool at a good rate?

How hot are your ambient temps? Like I said I'll be working in a 90-100+ degree attic in the spring :( I figure if it just has to cool the grow tent itself it should be plenty though (I'll have the 1000w light in its own air-cooled hood pulling from the attic to the outside so only the tent is getting AC air).
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Old 11-18-2010, 07:15 PM   #9
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Wow, Cannabean, that looks like it took a major effort. I cool my 4x4 tent with a small LG window unit that cools the entire 12x14 room. The tent has ducting for 2 passive air inlets. I run a 400 watt bulb in this tent, and this past summer, the tent temp never got above 82F. The 400w is in a cool tube with a 6" axial fan, and exhausts thru ducting to the outside. I use an ona gel-type of bucket for smell control, when needed.

What size bulb are you running? Great work!
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Old 11-19-2010, 04:18 AM   #10
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Old 11-19-2010, 06:16 PM   #11
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Thumbs down

Hey guys thanks for the comments!

stagehand: yah it takes up a good amount of floorspace, though similar size to a portable, and is quite heavy, but works!

Zor: I also worried about whether or not I'd need a fan for the cold air exhaust, but it doesnt seem to struggle, especially because I keep the cold air fan speed on low. The ac only runs for about 2 minutes every 20 minutes during the later part of the afternoon until lights off, so it does it's job well.

partcleguy: window ac's work exceptionally better than portables for this reason, the unit entirely seperates the hot air intake and exhaust from the cold air intake and exhaust.

The inline fan I use for exhaust does not affect the cold air intake/exhaust at all, for they are entirely sectioned off from the exhaust side. It simply sucks air from the garage through intake slits in the middle of the AC unit, cools the motor, and then is exhausted out. The cool air intake/exhaust sucks air from the tent, cools it, and then blows it back in. No grow room air is lost and a truely sealed room is achieved.

Portables, even dual hose portable ACs will blow a minimal amount of grow room air out the exhaust. Using a fan with higher cfm (270) than the cfm of the AC's hot air exhaust allows the window ac to work less hard at cooling the motor but doesn't at all affect the cooling intake/exhaust airflow.

My ambients are about 60-65° when lights turn on, reaching a winter high of usually 75-80°. Summer temps in the garage sometimes reach 90-100, though that is rare. Humidity is rather high where I live though, usually around 70% so I have to use a dehumidifier in the tent which continually raises the tent temps.

festivus: Thanks for the comment! I run a fully sealed room with co2, a dehumidifier, no exhaust or intake, and all passive vents closed, which makes controlling the temps with an exhaust fan implausable. My tent sits in a large garage (25'x20') so cooling the ambient was also out of the question for me.
I run a 1000w in my 5x5 tent and it is air cooled on its own sealed line using a 420cfm fan and the heat is blown out of the garage.

I used to do passive intake and no co2, which kept the temps in line except in the summer, but I was never able to control humidity like this since my ambient hum is so high. It was a lot of work but worth it to be able to use co2.

edit: lol why is there a thumbs down as my subject line?
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Old 11-19-2010, 07:43 PM   #12
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Old 11-20-2010, 04:40 PM   #13
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Wow ok I see- I didn't realize you were able to circulate from the tent and back into the tent! Thats gotta be a whole lot more efficient than pulling from the room itself which could be really hot (90+). Great tutorial!
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Old 11-30-2010, 03:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cannabean View Post
Hello fellow potheads!!

I decided to post this thread becuase there arn't very many diy guides here on the mag for AC boxes with pics of the actual build. I used to use a 13k btu portable ac to cool my Growlab GL145 4'x4' tent and it was very inefficient and my electric bill shot through the roof. So I decided to build a window AC box for my tent.

The problem with most AC's in tents, especially small tents, is there not being enough room for the ac to sit inside, so our only options are to use a portable and duct it in or buy an expensive mini split.
I suggest everyone who wants to build a box like this FIRST read Hoosierdaddy's thread on the planning aspects of the build, seen here https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=95491

However his guide does not list the style in which most tent AC users will need, which is the entire AC unit sitting outside of the tent. This is our final product:


This build allows me to use a $75 window ac I got on craigslist to accomplish two things: create a truely sealed environment (portable AC's exhaust a little bit of smelly growroom air) while using a more efficient machine to cool the same area.

Parts needed and costs:
10k btu window air conditioner, craigslist, $75
6" inline fan, craiglist, $70
40' weatherstrip tape, home depot, $12
12' of 2x4 dimensional lumber, home depot, $10
2x 8' of 1"x12" plywood or 2x 2'x4' MDF fiberboard, home depot, $15
2x ¼" thick 2'x4' fiberboard or thin plywood, home depot, $8
Other parts needed: powered drill, jigsaw, screws, ducting for your specific application.



The air conditioner I'm using is the LG LWHD1006RY 10,000 btu window ac. As you can see, it has cold air exhaust on front top, ambient air intake on lower front, motor cooling intake on middle sides and top, and hot air exhaust on the entire back part of the unit.


For my setup, where the ac unit sits outside of the tent completely, we need to section off a few parts of the unit to direct the airflow. The hot air exhaust will be ducted out of the ambient air room entirely. The motor intake will suck from the ambiet air where the tent sits (the same air that a light's exhaust would suck from in a sealed room setup). And the cold air intake and exhaust (front bottom and top) will each have their own seperated ducts into the tent.

So first we must use the 2x4's cut to fit snugly, but not to tight, around the exterior unit of the ac. I removed the AC motor from its housing to make this step easier.


Once you have your 2x4's cut, line them with weatherstrip to create a nice snug seal.


Either slide the square 2x4's with weatherstip over each end of the unit, or if its too snug, you can piece the 2x4's together in L shape and connect them around the ac unit.


Do the same for the exhaust side, but make sure you don't cover up any of the intake slits with the 2x4 housing or the air will be restricted from exhaust and eventually kill your ac exhaust motor.


Now its time to cut the sides of our housing in order to mount the ducting. I chose to use 1" MDF fiberboard instead of precut 1x12" lumber becuase it seemed cheaper and is easier and less messy to cut. If you don't have a skillsaw or want to use the jigsaw as little as possible, then consider using 1x12" lumber instead.

I cut the fiberboard into 1"x12" pieces to make the "walls" for both intake and exhaust sides, lined them with weatherstip tape to create a seal, and then screwed them onto the 2x4" braces.


I cut squares of the ¼" fiberboard to create the ends or the "roof" and attached it to the exhaust side.


The front required tent air intake and cold exhaust to be sectioned off from eachother, and weatherstipped to create a seal. Holes were cut to attach ducting to the front.



The hot air exhaust will need a fan to help push the hot air through ducting. The ac units exhaust fan is not designed for ducting and the exhaust motor will burn out if its working hard to push air with resistance. A 6" hole was cut for an inline fan to help exhaust the air.

Try to match your fan cfm to the cfm of the AC unit, which should be listed in the manual. Mine was 240 cfm so I matched it with a 270cfm 6" can fan, slightly overkill but I'm ducting it 15' out.


Determine the ducting you plan on using for your holes, I suggest keeping the duct size the same throughout. For instance I used a 6" intake, 6" exhaust, and a 4x12" to 6" universal register box for cold air exhaust. All of these can be bought at home depot.


All finished! I have the cold air blowing into the bottom of the tent, the tent intake pulling from the roof port, and the hot air exhausted out of the garage.


I have it and the fan connected to a C.A.P. TMP-DNe day/night temperature controller which turns on the ac and the exhaust fan when my tent temps get too high. Works like a charm and costs less than a portable.
the ducting on the right is getting fresh air from where?
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Old 11-30-2010, 03:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newhiddengrower View Post
the ducting on the right is getting fresh air from where?
Its drawing from the top of the tent if I'm not mistaken.
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