How to Cool a Room With Ice (In 7 Easy Steps)


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Cooling down a room with ice is an excellent way to lower the temperature without breaking the bank. And fortunately, the process is very easy — all you need is a bowl, a fan, and some ice.

Here’s an easy step-by-step guide on how to cool a room with ice:

  • Get a large bowl and some ice. 
  • Fill the bowl with ice. 
  • Place a non-oscillating fan on the floor. 
  • Point the fan toward the area you’d like to cool down. 
  • Place the bowl in front of the fan and turn the fan on. 
  • Replenish the ice as it melts. 
  • Consider additional ice-related cooling methods

If this seems pretty simple, that’s because it is; ice is a natural coolant. If you have something to spread the air it cools around your room (like a fan), you’re all set.

However, there are some advanced techniques you can use to use ice to cool your room down even further. If you’d like a more thorough guide that expands on the basic steps above, as well as some advanced ice-related techniques to make your room even colder, keep reading.

Step 1: Get a large bowl and some ice.

The first step is to get a large bowl and some ice.

If you only need to cool your room for an hour or two, the ice cubes from your freezer’s ice trays might do the trick.

I say might because a few dozen ice cubes really won’t do much to cool your room. They’ll melt very quickly, and you’ll need to sit very close to the fan to experience any significant cooling.

If you want to cool your entire room, you’ll need at least a few bags of ice from the local grocery store. The exact amount you’ll need will depend on a few factors, including:

  • The size of the room. The larger the room is, the more ice you’ll need too cool it down.
  • The temperature of the room. The higher the base temperature of the room, the more ice you’ll need to cool it down.
  • Whether air from the outdoors or your home ventilation is blowing through the room. Increased airflow from vents or outdoor breeze will cause the ice to melt faster, which means you’ll need more ice.
  • The temperature of the air flowing in. If you do have air flowing in, the temperature of that air will impact how much ice you need. The hotter the temperature, the more ice you’ll need to cool the room for a long period.

Also, if you do stock up on bags of ice, you’ll also need somewhere to store it.

The best option is a freezer, but this might not be feasible if you only have one freezer and it’s already loaded with food. In that case, a cooler is the next best thing.

Tip: Make sure you only buy as much ice as you can store. Buying more ice than you have room for in your freezer or cooler will be a waste of money, as it’ll melt before you have a chance to use it.

Step 2: Fill the bowl with ice.

Now that you’ve got the ice you’ll need, it’s time to fill up your bowl.

I recommend using the largest bowl you have. A large mixing bowl used for baking is an excellent option. If you don’t have any large bowls, a large pot should also do the trick.

Before you place the bowl on the ground, I recommend laying a few towels down. While the water volume of the melted ice shouldn’t overflow the bowl (unless you’ve stacked the ice really high), a bowl of water sitting on the floor is just asking to be spilled. This is especially true if you have curious pets or clumsy kids running around the house.

Step 3: Place a non-oscillating fan on the floor.

To effectively spread the cool air from the ice around the room, you’ll need a non-oscillating fan positioned directly behind the bowl.

The ideal fan will be a fan that is low to the ground. If the fan is positioned too high above the ice, it will have a difficult time spreading the cool air throughout the room.

If you think back to your grade school science classes, you’ll probably remember that heat rises. Because the air surrounding the ice will be cold, it won’t rise to the level of a standing fan, and the cool air will remain stationary on the floor near the bowl.

The best option is a floor fan with the ability to pivot upwards.

If you buy a simple box fan that can’t pivot to aim its airflow upward, all you’ll be doing is spreading the cold air along the floor of the room. This might be nice if you’re sitting on the ground, but anyone sitting at a table or on a couch will struggle to cool down.

If you need a high-quality pivoting floor fan, I recommend that you buy the Lasko 3300 Wind Machine (available on Amazon.com). It’s a 5-blade high-performance machine with 3 different speeds. And most importantly, it pivots, which will make it easy to spread the cold air from the ice into the mid and high levels of the room.

Step 4: Point the fan toward the area you want to cool.

While cooling a room with ice is a very economical way to survive the summer heat, it’s not the most effective solution.

If you’re in a larger room, the ice probably won’t be enough to effectively cool the entire area. As such, you’ll need to determine which part of the room you want to be cooled.

This should be pretty straightforward.

  • If you’re in the living room, aim the fan toward the couch.
  • If you’re in the dining room, aim the fan toward the table.
  • If you’re trying to help your dog stay cool, aim the fan at their doggie bed.

I think you get the idea. Point the fan toward the area of the room you want to be coolest. And remember to make sure the bowl of ice remains in front of the fan when you reposition.

Step 5: Place the bowl in front of the fan and turn the fan on.

I know this one is really simple. But it’s an essential step, so I’ve got to include it.

Once everything is positioned correctly, turn the fan on.

The main decision you’ll need to make here is which speed you’ll want the fan to operate at.

If you’re in a small room, you can probably get away with running the fan at the lowest speed. As long as you have enough ice, the cool air should still spread around the room even if the fan isn’t operating at a high intensity. And a low speed will be preferable because it uses less electricity and is much quieter than the higher settings.

However, if you’re in a larger room, you’ll need to use one of the higher speed settings. Most rooms should be okay at the medium setting, but you might need to crank it up to the max speed to reach an adequate level of coolness.

The best option is to experiment with each speed. Every room is different, and you won’t know which option you prefer best unless you try them all.

Step 6: Replenish the ice as it melts.

The most annoying part of this whole process is that you’ll need to continuously replenish the ice as it melts if you want to maintain a cold room.

To make this process as easy as possible, I recommend filling a cooler with ice and parking it directly next to your bowl and fan. This will eliminate the need to travel to a far-away freezer to replenish (although you’ll still need to empty the water before you add any more ice).

And that’s it! If you follow those 6 easy steps, you should be able to cool any room using nothing but ice, a bowl, and a fan.

Now let’s move on to the final step: using some more advanced ice-related cooling methods.

Step 7: Consider additional ice-related cooling methods.

While a bowl of ice and a fan is the simplest way to cool your room with ice, it isn’t the only way.

Here are a few extra tips you can use to increase the cooling potential of any ice you have on hand.

Run Your Ceiling Fan in Reverse (Clockwise)

If you have a ceiling fan in your room, you should reverse its normal rotation to help spread cool air throughout the room.

The typical ceiling fan usually rotates in a counter-clockwise direction. This directs hot air downward, creating the pleasant cooling sensation of air hitting your skin that many of us enjoy.

However, when you reverse your ceiling fan and cause it to rotate in a clockwise direction, the blades will draw air upward. Because the lower part of the room will be cool from the ice and fan, this will draw up that cool air and cause it to fall throughout the entirety of the room, making for more even cooling.

Your ceiling fan will either have a cord or switch that will allow you to change its direction.

If you’re not sure about how to change your fan’s direction, consult the manual. If you don’t have the manual (because who keeps their ceiling fan manuals?), you can try searching for your fan’s make and model online and locate a digital version of the manual.

Create a Cross Draft

You can make your bowl of ice and fan even more effective by creating a cross draft (also known as cross ventilation).

A cross draft works by using cold air to take the place of warm air in an adjacent area. Heat will naturally leave a space and attempt to warm up an adjacent space if that adjacent space is cooler than the space it’s already in.

Therefore, this method will only help to cool your room if the following things are true:

  • The room you’re trying to cool either has two windows or one window and a door.
  • The air outside of your house or in the adjacent room is cooler than the air inside of your room.

If both of these requirements are met, you can go ahead and try to create a cross draft.

You’ll need multiple fans to facilitate this: one to direct air, and one to cool the air using the bowl of ice.

If you’re using air from outside, check which direction the wind is blowing and direct one fan so that it augments the wind’s flow into the room and across a bowl of ice cubes placed in front of it. Place the other fan so that it blows air out of the other window.

You could use a door as an alternative to one window. But if you choose an inside door, be aware that you are blowing hot air around the house.

This works best if you can remove anything in the way of a free passage for the air between the two fans. And remember that there will be a draft, so make sure your papers are firmly held down before you turn the fan on!

Use Icepacks

If you don’t have any ice on hand, an icepack is a sensible alternative, especially if you might be absent from the room for a while and fear a spill. The ice will melt just as fast, but as it’s contained within the pack, it won’t damage your carpet or floor.

If you want, you can make your own ice packs from jars or other food containers. Just be aware that a lightweight container can be blown over by the fan’s airflow, which can spill any melted ice inside if the lid isn’t secure.

Summary

That does it for this post. Hopefully, you found this helpful and will be able to use these tips to cool your room using nothing more than ice, a bowl, and a fan.

To recap, here are the 7 steps you can take to cool a room with ice: 

  1. Get a large bowl and some ice. 
  2. Fill the bowl with ice. 
  3. Place a non-oscillating fan on the floor. 
  4. Point the fan toward the area you’d like to cool down. 
  5. Place the bowl in front of the fan and turn the fan on. 
  6. Replenish the ice as it melts. 
  7. Consider additional ice-related cooling methods

Steve Rajeckas

Steve Rajeckas is an HVAC hobbyist with an avid interest in learning innovative ways to keep rooms, buildings, and everything else at the optimal temperature. When he's not working on new posts for Temperature Master, he can be found reading books or exploring the outdoors.

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