Do Window ACs require a Dedicated Circuit?

You’ve just bought an window AC from the store and are all excited to install and start to use it right away.

As you prepare to install it, you recall hearing that ACs should be installed on dedicated circuits but are not sure whether it appliances to all ACs or particular ones.

Maybe you already have a dedecated outlter or not. If not then you’ll need to invest in a dedicated circuit if your AC needs one.

Either way, knowing whether you need a dedicated circuit to not helps you decide your next steps with confidennce.

So, in this guide, I share my thoughts on whether windows AC should be connected to dedicated circuits or not, the benefits of connecting to a dedicated circuit and when to use a dedicated circuit for your AC.

Benefits | Using a Dedicated circuit for a Window AC

A dedicated electrical circuit only supplies power to a single outlet.

When you use it, you can be sure that the appliance connected to it, in this case the window AC is not competing for electrical power with other electrical appliances such as lighting or others that may be could have been connected to the circuit.

This rules out unforeseen excessive current draws that can result in frequent tripping of the circuit breaker.

Should you Always use a Dedicated Circuit with your Windows AC?

Not necessarily. It depends on the manufacturer’s recommendations and the local code of the area.

Manufacturer’s recommendations

Check the AC manufacturer recommendations on whether you should use a dedicated circuit or not. Smaller ACs – with a much lower current draw can be connected to a shared circuit.

For example, a 5000 BTU air conditioner. It has a running current draw of about 4.1 amps and surge power of about 8 amps.

This can be connected to a 15 amp circuit provided there are no other appliances connected to the same circuit whose simultaneous use with the AC overlods and trips the circuit breaker.

For window ACs with larger cooling capacities, for example, a 28,000 BTU, the manufacturers generally recommend that you connect it to a dedicated circuit that can handle its current draw.

So, it mainly depends on the manufacturer recommendations based on the cooling capacity and associated current draw.

The larger the cooling capacity (higher BTU), the more likely you will need to connect it to its won dedicated circuit.

Confirm by checking the owner manual of the AC, technical support for the AC manufacturer or a certified local electrician.

Local code

In addition to the manufacturer recommendations, you need to consider the requirement by the local code of the area. In some states, there is a requirement that there should be a provision for an outlet with a dedicated circuit for ACs if there is no central AC.

In this case, you should connect the AC to the dedicated circuit for your installation to be code compliant.

If in doubt, consult a certified local electrician to advise on what to do.

Do windows ACs require a Dedicated circuit?

Not always. It depends of the cooling capacity of the AC (its current draw) and the local code for your area.

What to Do if you do not have a Dedicated Circuit

If the AC requires a dedicated circuit and there is none, it is best that you contact a certified local electrician to install one.

Should you use a Regular or a Special outlet with your Windows AC?

There is no one size fits all answer – it is best to check the recommendations from the AC manufacturer.

That said, the outlet you plug the window AC into should be grounded and should be able to support the rated voltage of the AC whether 115/120 VAC or 230V/240V.

Final Word

The decision whether or not to use a dedicated circuit for your windows AC mainly depends on its cooling capacity – size and the local code requirements. Window ACs with larger current draws generally require dedicated circuits.

This minimises the danger of overloading and tripping the circuit breaker that is more likely to happen when other appliances are connected to the same circuit.

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