How I Thwarted Summer (at least in my kitchen)

Chance, meet the Honeywell MN10CESWW.

Chance, meet the Honeywell MN10CESWW.

Los Angeles summer heat is no joke. Even when it's not all that hot out, if a significant portion of your domicile is exposed to the afternoon sun for any appreciable amount of time and you DON'T have central air conditioning...you're pretty much screwed.

My apartment is cooled by a single wall unit installed in the living room. It does just fine making the main living/eating areas tolerable, but it stubbornly refuses to extend its reach to the kitchen. Thing is...the kitchen is where I leave Chance when I have to go out.

As the temperatures have begun to spike, I realized I absolutely needed an AC solution for the kitchen if I didn't want to come home to a heatstroked dog. Unfortunately, because of the layout of the kitchen, I can't put a window unit in there. I needed one of those AC units on wheels that I could point straight at my little man while he sleeps on his bed in the kitchen (and I spy on him like a creeper).

Using Dropcam to spy on my dog in the kitchen while I'm gone.

Using Dropcam to spy on my dog in the kitchen while I'm gone.

Enter the Honeywell MN10CESWW Portable Air Conditioner. I ordered this sucker on Amazon, and as of right now, I'd recommend it if for some reason you can't use a window-mounted AC unit. It's doing GREAT for my purposes (though I'll need to modify a few things--read on for those specifics).

I looked into purchasing a model by Whynter and another one by Commercial Cool before I settled on the Honeywell. My brother (who lives at my parents' house in Pasadena) has a rather intense Commercial Cool unit that has, in an emergency, cooled their entire house. I compared prices and availability at Costco, Best Buy, and Amazon--because prices fluctuate so frequently, I won't go into details here, but essentially Amazon won when I factored in shipping costs (Prime is everything) and delivery time (an extra $25 ensured next-day delivery of the unit right to my doorstep). And when I looked at number and quality of reviews, the Honeywell won--the Commercial Cool unit only had 3 reviews (vs. the Honeywell's 400+) and a couple reviews of the Whynter unit mentioned having to empty the water reservoir (whereas supposedly you don't really have to do that with the Honeywell).

Let's begin with delivery. This sucker is HEAVY. And I live up a flight of stairs with no elevator. Another reason why I purchased on Amazon instead of picking up at a physical store like Best Buy or Costco. So if you're lacking in upper-body strength like moi, I would recommend having it delivered.

It comes in a giant box that's tied together with plastic ribbon. There are hieroglyphic instructions on how to unpack and assemble the thing on the outside of the box--FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS!! They're genius.

After your lift the box off...

After your lift the box off...

First, you cut the plastic ribbons. You open the top flaps and remove the accessories. Then, YOU LIFT THE BOX OFF THE AC UNIT. Literally you pick up the box and pull up (you'll realize it was all held together by those plastic ribbons). This is great because, as I mentioned, THE THING IS FREAKING HEAVY and you wouldn't want to try to lift it out of the box.

You need to then maneuver it off the box base, which takes some doing. You'll get it. Rip apart the styrofoam at the bottom if you have to.

Pile of accessories!

Pile of accessories!

Now you should have a big old AC unit on wheels with a power cord sticking out of it, and a pile of accessories. If you look at the sticker on the front of the unit, you'll see they've put assembly directions RIGHT THERE. You don't even need to open the manual!! And seriously...don't even bother opening the manual. It's not helpful.

So maybe I'm the dumbest person alive, or maybe I have a defective part. But it looks like you're supposed to be able to screw the attachment pieces onto either end of the hose? I easily screwed on the part that attaches to the back of the unit...but the part that attaches to the window section? I STILL CAN'T FIGURE IT OUT. It looks like it's supposed to screw on?? But mine WILL NOT. Nor will it snap on. I literally resorted to just sorta stuffing it together and securing it with masking tape. I'm basically MacGuyver.

Blue screws! Blue pegs. Whatever.

Blue screws! Blue pegs. Whatever.

One of the most-oft-mentioned complaints on Amazon pertains to the "screws." You have to use these screws to assemble the window screen panels, and at first I was all "awwww man where are the screws??" THEY ARE TAPED TO THE PANELS. Yes--those little blue plastic things that look like Lite Brite pegs are screws. They're not even screws, let's be honest. They're just pegs. DON'T LOSE THEM. And be SUPER careful with them, because apparently they're very easy to break. I didn't break mine yet but I'm not sure I won't.

So as you can see...I have a very large window that is juuuuuuust too big for this window panel. Doesn't bother me because I am not actually trying to cool the room the unit is in? But if you were, you probably understand why Amazon tells you that people who bought this product also bought high-density foam tape to fill in the cracks between the window screen and the window frame.

There are definite gaps between the screen and the window frame.

Personally, I want a longer and more flexible hose--I need about another foot in order to position the unit where I want it. I'll update this post once I do that and let you know how easy/hard it is to fashion substitutes for the supplied accessories.

It really is easy to assemble--I had it more or less jimmied together in fifteen minutes. They even include AAA batteries for the remote! Which is great because I don't remember the last time I purchased batteries.

It's also very easy to turn on and operate. It has a fan or AC setting, and can run at high or low speed. You set the temperature that you want, and it will automatically adjust to maintain that temp. I have not investigated the timer settings yet but it apparently can do that.

taking fountain los angeles product review honeywell MN10CESWW portable air conditioner assembled.jpg

My kitchen is only about 80 square feet, and it cooled it from 80 degrees to 72 degrees in 9 minutes. If you're trying to cool a small space like a bedroom or office, I think you'd be pretty satisfied. If you tried to cool a larger area? Some of the reviews on Amazon lead me to believe you might be disappointed--I'll measure the square footage in my living area and see how long it takes to cool that and let you know how I do. But if you're trying to replace central air for an entire apartment or house, you might want to look into the Commercial Cool unit my brother uses.

As for the noise...I mean, it sounds like an air conditioner? No better or worse than a window unit, except that it's inside and not hanging outside your place. You'd need to turn up the volume on the TV if it was in the same room with you, but I really doubt it would keep you awake at night.

As far as portability is concerned...while it's heavy enough that I wouldn't want to carry it upstairs, it's easy to move around on the casters. The cord, however, only just over 6' long and is one of those thick 3-prong deals that requires a heavy-duty extension cord if you need it to stretch farther. The articulated hose is the real problem--it's only 50 inches from end to end. And it's not a real flexible 50 inches, either, which means you pretty much need a straight shot from your window to the unit. This is the part I want to replace--I need about another foot, and preferably something that can be maneuvered a little bit more.

And finally...it's not the most store-able thing. That is, it's about the size of a laundry hamper, and it's just a big ugly white plastic thing. Since I want to tuck it away while it's not in use, it's a little annoying that it's SO large (I intend on beautifying it with either contact paper or chalkboard paint, stay tuned for that hack). However, I did find a little nook to stuff it in--now if I can replace the hose with something more maneuverable/store-able, I'll be all set.

Bottom line, it excels at what I purchased it for--it cools down my tiny kitchen so my dog doesn't die while I'm not home. Which is totally worth $400 (cost of unit + tax + next-day shipping) to me. I would DEFINITELY recommend it to anyone who wants to cool down a bedroom, or a living room, but I'm not entirely sure I'd recommend it to someone who needs to cool down a bedroom AND a living room.

And I would definitely recommend that, when you come home from your evening walk with your dog and it's still 90 freaking degrees out, you pour yourself a glass of white wine and just stand in front of it for a couple of minutes. Heat waves are no match for Honeywell.

Do you have a Honeywell MN10CESWW Portable Air Conditioner? How is it working for you? Do you have something else that you just love and think everyone should own? Please let us know in the comments below!