How to Make a Homemade Cooler for Your Homestead

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A MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader shares his idea and blueprints of a home cooling unit.

Before long I’ll be moving to my 40-acre homestead Idaho, where the trees tower around me and make me feel an ant in the grass. The place has no electricity and probably won’t have any for a few years until I devise sort of wind or water plant. The idea of doing without power doesn’t bother me much, though … except that I’d like refrigerator.

Now, here’s what I’ve been thinking: There’s plenty of water on my land, and I believe I can use that resource to keep my food cool in summer using a homemade cooler. First I’ll build a wooden box (Box A) waterproof all the edges with fiberglass, and cut a hole in one end for the door. Then I’ll construct a slightly larger contains (Box B), seal the edges, provide a door hole as before, and drill one hole in the top for a water intake and another in bottom for a drain. Box A will stand inside Box B on four bricks.

My next step will be to build a doorframe between inner and outer walls, so that no water can escape when the cooler is opened. I’ll then install a door, preferably of a thickness to match the space between the two boxes. Finally, I’ll let in the water. With luck nothing will leak, and the circulating liquid will keep the contents of Box A nice cool.

I’d be glad to hear any opinions on the practicality of this idea. Many of the thoughts shared through MOTHER EARTH NEWS had been very useful to me, and I hope the notion I’ve described may be of help to someone else.