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My mother doesn’t like window air conditioners. Namely, that they are bulky, ugly, and hard to install. My parents’ 11th-floor prewar apartment gets incredibly hot, and as one would imagine, does not have central air. So, her disdain for the machine becomes a plague on our house starting every June. Once the funky humid air begins to descend upon New York, out come the clunky, dusty, old AC units from our front hall closet. The janky old unit sits in the middle of my childhood bedroom floor, daring me to muster up the energy to put it in. Most often I decline to do so, instead resigning to cold showers every 30 minutes and walking around with ice packs in my bra.
However, as temperatures continue to rise and I become increasingly worried about the safety of our cat in 100° heat, foregoing the luxury becomes less of an option. So this summer, I decided to order my parents a smart window air conditioner from Windmill. Though it was technically for my personal use, I wagered that if the unit was as easy-to-install as claimed, my parents could move it to their own bedroom once I returned to California (where I spend most of the year).
Spoiler alert: this is in fact what happened, and my mom has since emailed me her own TQE-style review of The Windmill AC. I’ll insert some of her words in italics –– I’m sure you’ll see the relation.
Installation Is A Breeze
I ordered the medium size (8K BTU), which works in rooms up to 350 square feet. It’s designed for double-hung windows that are between 23-37 inches wide and have a vertical opening of at least 14 inches. Once we confirmed that each of our bedrooms could accommodate the unit, it was a quick add to cart.
One of the main features of the Windmill is its easy installation. The instructions are bound in a glossy, user-friendly installation kit that is easy to follow. Still, I’ll be honest, neither of us put it in. As high up as our apartment is, we did not want to take the risk of losing our grip –– make no mistake… It requires proper installation to keep it from plunging to the ground and crushing some unsuspecting soul on the sidewalk below (not to mention your cat).
Plus, it was hot as sh*t and we were lazy.
We did, however, watch our super do it, and it literally took him 10-15 minutes – including the insulation and the support brackets that our building requires for installation (which are not necessary in every case). The instructions estimate a 45-minute installation time, and after watching the process, it definitely seems that we could have completed it within that frame, if not less.
As with most DTC innovations on old classics, Windmill window AC units are most notorious for their polished, minimalist look and thoughtful design. The curved edges and auto-dimming LED display are a much-needed update from the harsh shape of cumbersome, more ostentatious models. Some other key features:
- The vents and fan speed controls are on the top of the unit, rather than front-facing. Aesthetically, this keeps it looking sleek and contained, along with the cosmetic side panels. Design wise, having the cold air blow upward rather than outward is better for more efficient air circulation. If it is installed near a bed or sitting area, it has the added benefit of blowing away from your face, to decrease the chance of extreme dryness that comes from basking in a cold blast.
- The unit features dual-filtration to ensure fresher, cleaner air quality in your home. You can also opt into an affordable replacement carbon filter subscription, which is especially helpful to those of us who have never sought to replace AC filters before. Gross, I know. I shudder to think of how much mold and dust was collecting in our old units.
- The Windmill air conditioner is relatively quiet, compared to any other AC I’ve used. It’s not dead silent, but the mild white noise is a welcome addition to our home environment.
As long as your windows meet the requirements, the Windmill AC seems especially great for small-space living. It feels powerful enough to cool off a small studio, and with the angled airflow, it won’t get in your face, irritate your plants, or blow any papers around.
“The iPhone of Air Conditioners” – Boomers, Beware
Not only can you control the Windmill AC from your smartphone, but it can also connect to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa for voice control, which is great if you’re occupied around the house, or don’t want to get out of bed. This does mean that you need to download the Windmill app, the idea of which was genuinely quite frustrating for my tech-averse mother.
Oh, about that “Wi-Fi interface,” she adds to the end of her review, I suppose it enables you to turn the thing on remotely, like from your car on the way home from work, so you can kick off your shoes, strip off your clothes, and relax in temperature-controlled naked luxury after you fight your way home in 90 degree heat or whatever. But, old-style boomer that I am, I have no idea how to use it.
Humor aside, if you have any reservations about smart-stuff inside your home, or adding another reason to rely on your phone, the Windmill unit comes with a simple and intuitive remote control. If you don’t, though, the smart feature is pretty awesome. Like she guessed, the app allows you to turn the unit on before you’re home, or turn it off if you’ve accidentally left it on (a very eco-friendly capability).
She’s a Cool Mom
In the end, having a nice-looking, modern air conditioning unit drastically improved the experience of living with my parents this summer. Being able to move it in a rather pain-free process was also hugely helpful for them once I left. In the past few days, she’s gotten more used to the app, and has become quite accustomed to the luxury of coming home to a pre-cooled bedroom. I knew she’d come around. With one bulky old unit sent out to pasture, this past test run has convinced us to choose Windmill when we’re ready to replace the others.
So, basically, it’s pretty sweet. Looks good, runs quiet, works well. Check it out for yourself, and lemme know!! Meanwhile, stay cool, enjoy your Windmill, and party on.
Sent from my iPad
5 More Reasons to Love Windmill:
1. Speedy shipping. The unit was at my parents’ door a single day after I ordered it. And this was not a fluke: if you’re in the NYC area, Windmill takes 1-2 days to get to you.
2. Runs in the Family. I guess the Windmill family has been keeping cool for generations––the founders’ Grandpa Tony started a New York City-based AC business in the 60’s that is still in operation today.
3. Help is on the way. Windmill partnered with TaskRabbit nationwide to ensure same-day installation help. They can also help with removing and recycling old units.
4. The brand speaks for the trees. By partnering with EcoCart, Windmill invests in tree protection and restoration projects to offset the carbon footprint of each unit sold.
5. Making energy efficiency easy. Windmill just launched an energy management program for NYC-based customers called EcoRewards. Enroll your unit on the app, and Windmill will automatically use less electricity during peak demand (like during a heatwave). Users can receive money in return, in the form of cash-back, donations, discounts, or filter subscriptions.