With heat waves hitting parts of the country where central air conditioning isn’t common like the Pacific Northwest, a lot more people are turning to portable or window-mounted units to stay cool. Too bad most of those units are so bulky and ugly that we wince when we take them out of storage for the hottest months of summer. To make matters worse, the average window-mounted air conditioner can take up the entire window, blocking daylight and projecting too far into the room while only offering marginal relief. There’s clearly a hole in the market for better looking units that pack more power into smaller packages.
Enter Windmill Air, a direct-to-consumer company offering a new generation of air conditioners that are efficient, quiet, easy to install, eco-friendly, and smart. The Windmill AC has a clean modern look that will fit right in with the rest of your smart home gadgets and accessories, with little visible from inside other than a mesh face and a disappearing digital temperature display. Soft edges help it blend into the window. These are all big pluses for anyone sick of their AC ruining the look of their room all summer – but of course, looks aren’t all the Windmill has to offer.
Measuring just over 13 inches high, 19 inches wide, and 19 inches deep, the unit takes up minimal space in your window. Less than one-third of it projects into the room, and the air is directed up instead of straight out, so you can still place furniture directly under it without interfering with the all-important flow of cold air. This little unit puts out 8,300 BTUs, which is on the lower end for window units (cooling up to 350 square feet), but it’s surprisingly powerful for its size. If that’s not enough power for your space, the company promises the release of a 6,000 BTU version next spring.
The air conditioner offers three cooling settings: “Cool,” “Fan,” or “Eco,” which is essentially a half-power mode. Its cooling power comes from an eco-friendly refrigerant (R32) with 68 percent less global warming potential than the usual refrigerant (R410a) used by most other units. The materials are mostly recyclable, and the company takes back old units. To offset the energy consumed by the units, Windmill also invests in tree protection projects for every unit purchased.
The Windmill AC unit comes with a tiny remote control, but you can also use the accompanying Windmill app, Google Home, or Amazon Alexa to control it. Another cool feature (pun intended) is the option to add activated carbon air filters to help clean the air in your home, which is definitely a welcome addition for anyone dealing with wildfire smoke in their area.
While most people can install the Windmill alone in under 30 minutes, it does weigh 60 pounds, so it’s usually easier to manage with two people. This modern air conditioning unit comes with double-insulated side panels to adjust to the size of your window, and fits window openings between 23 and 27 inches wide and at least 14 inches high. Get it for $395 directly from the Windmill website or through Home Depot.