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How Many Amps Does An Air Conditioner Use?

The electrical component is something that many people overlook when purchasing an air conditioner. In other words, what size and wattage of air conditioners are appropriate for your space?

It should be no shock that air conditioners consume a significant amount of electricity. However, if the wrong size is selected, you may waste electricity and money.

This guide will walk you through essential details concerning your AC electricity consumption in your daily life.

Air Conditioning units require anything from 15 to 60 amps depending on the number of tons, equivalent to 208/240 volts. On a 120-volt circuit, a small air conditioner will use 7.5 amps. Medium-sized air conditioners on the same circuit will use roughly 15 amps. They’ll need a separate 240-volt circuit for larger ones, drawing up to 30 amps.

What’s the Difference Between Voltage, Amperage, and Wattage?

Electricity, like water, circulates in a circular pattern through a conductor, which is a wire. Therefore, each electrical term, such as amps, volts, and watts, has a significant impact on the flow of electricity.


Voltage is a measurement of electromotive force that aids in determining the type of electrical current that will flow through a wire. One volt equals.001 kilowatts per hour are measured in volts (or 1000 Ws). Volts are used to calculate the “pressure” of electricity; the higher the volts, the greater the pressure.


The current that can circulate through a wire is measured in amps and is referred to as page. Your electrical circuit needs amps for lights and appliances such as lamps, TVs, microwaves, and even cooking ovens. They all use amps because power flows from one spot to another via an electric circuit with low resistance when there are no interruptions in the loop.


Wattage is how a gadget consumes energy and is measured in watts. Watts, like horsepower, can be used to measure output over time and account for input (resistance). So, if you have a one-watt device, it will require one amp flowing at 120 volts, equal to.001 kilowatts per hour (or 1000 Ws).

Types of Air Conditioners and Their Electricity Requirements

Types of Air Conditioners and Their Electricity Requirements

Many distinct air conditioning systems conduct the same procedure for various purposes. However, because they are all built to work under different settings, the optimum system selection is dependent on your needs.

Mini Split Air Conditioners

208/240 volts is required for the vast majority of mini-split ACs. Some systems with smaller capacities need 110/120 volts. Depending on the BTU capacity, the amp needs might range from 15 to 45 amps. A dedicated circuit is required for all small splits. 

PTAC Air Conditioners (Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners) 

208/240 volts (or 265/277 volts for some commercial installations) is required for all PTAC units. The units have three amp capacities: 15, 20, and 30 amps. Most PTAC units are plugged in. However, they can also be hardwired.

Window Air Conditioners

Window units come in a variety of electrical configurations. Smaller units are usually powered by standard 110/120 volts and can be plugged into a conventional wall socket. However, 208/240 volts is required for some large models. Therefore, depending on how many amps they need, these machines have different plug types.

Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner

TTW units are usually offered in two voltages: 110/120 volts and 208/240 volts. It is strongly advised that you use a dedicated circuit for your through-the-wall equipment.

Central Air Conditioner

208/240 volts are required for central air conditioning units. They need to be hardwired and have their circuit. Units require anything from 15 to 60 amps depending on tons.

How Many Amps Does An Air Conditioner Use?

How Many Amps Does An Air Conditioner Use (Ampere)

The size and BTU rating of a central air conditioner determine the number of amps it consumes. The current in amperes can range from 15 to 60 amps. It also runs on a voltage range of 208 to 240 volts.

How Many Amps Does a 5,000 BTU Air Conditioner Use?

A 5000 BTU air conditioner draws between 3.6 and 5.4 amps. As a result, it will mark a maximum current of a little over five amps. Furthermore, these compact units have varying levels of 115 to 125 volts. As a result, these machines can be plugged into a regular household socket.

How Many Amps Does a 6,000 BTU Air Conditioner Use?

A window air conditioner with 6,000 BTU can use between 4.35 to 6.52 amps of electricity. The higher the BTU rating, the higher the amp draw. The majority of 6,000 BTU air conditioners draw between 5 and 6 amps.

How Many Amps Does an 8,000 BTU Air Conditioner Use?

An 8000 BTU air conditioner requires a current of between 5.8 and 8.7 amps to operate correctly. Furthermore, these air conditioners are mainly window or portable air conditioners. For a room of 350 square feet, for example, an 800 BTU air conditioner should be used.

How Many Amps Does a 9,000 BTU Air Conditioner Use?

The running current for a 9,000 BTU air conditioner requires 7 or 8 amps. However, since the motor is the most significant component in a 9,000 BTU air conditioner, the starting current needed for that motor will be anywhere from 6 to 8 times higher than the running current.

How Many Amps Does a 10,000 BTU Air Conditioner Use?

If you’re looking for a 10000 BTU air conditioner and want to know the current rating, you’ve come to the right place. The current used by a 10000 BTU air conditioner ranges from 7.3 to 10.9 amps.

How Many Amps Does a 12,000 BTU Air Conditioner Use?

A 12000 BTU Window Air Conditioner, on the other hand, consumes a current of 8.7 to 13 amps. Large air conditioners like this consume more energy and require a dedicated circuit to handle the electrical current. For cooling a room of 500 to 600 square feet, a 12000 BTU air conditioner is ideal.

How Many Amps Does a 15,000 BTU Air Conditioner Use?

On average, an air conditioner consumes 12-16 amps. The actual value is determined by the BTU and the mode of operation. An RV’s 15,000 BTU air conditioner requires 12.5-13 amps. Therefore, a 15,000 BTU air conditioner is ideal for an RV.

How Many Amps Does an 18,000 BTU Air Conditioner Use?

Each zone of an air conditioning system consumes 500 to 700 watts of power. That means the entire AC unit will require 27 amps of power. Therefore, it is more amperage than is necessary to run a portable air conditioner with 18,000 BTUs, about 13-19 amps.

How To Calculate The Number Of Amps An Air Conditioner Needs?

Air conditioners are typically sized based on capacity (measured in British Thermal Units or BTU for short). Here’s an example of how the size of an air conditioner is determined mainly by square footage.

Formula: AC Unit Capacity (BTU) = EER/P (in Watts)  

EER stands for Energy-Efficiency Rating, which may be found on the specification sheets of air conditioners ranging from 5,000 to 18,000 BTU. The EER ranges from 8 to 12 on average

Any electrical device’s power is determined by multiplying voltage by amperage. 115V is used to power most AC units up to 15,000 BTU. As a result, if we have P (Power in Watts, which we computed with Equation 1), we can use the two equations to calculate how many amps an air conditioner requires.

Formula: AC Unit Capacity (BTU) / (EER x V) = I (in Amps) (in Volts)

Example 1: A 5,000 BTU Capacity with an EER of 10

Consider a 5,000 BTU unit with an EER of 10. We also know that the outlet’s electrical potential is 115V. So here’s how we figure out how many amps the unit needs to run.

5,000 BTU / (10 x 115V) = 4.35 Amps 

The lower the amps are drawn by the air conditioner, the more energy-efficient it is. As a result, we’ll pay less for electricity while still getting the 5,000 BTU cooling capacity. Window air conditioners with an EER of 11 or higher are the most energy-efficient. You can find the most excellent window air conditioners here.

Example 2: A 10,000 BTU Capacity and an EER of 12

The most energy-efficient portable air conditioners can have an EER of 12 or higher. So, for example, let’s use a 10,000 BTU portable air conditioner with an EER of 12 that runs on 115 volts. It is how we can figure out how many amps a 10,000 BTU air conditioner consumes.

10,000 BTU / (12 x 115V) = 7.25 Amps 

This air conditioner draws 7.25 amps to deliver 10,000 BTUs of cooling power. The 5,000 BTU AC unit from Example 1 uses 4.35 amps to deliver 5,000 BTU of cooling capacity.

Example 2’s higher-efficiency device (12 EER) provides 100 percent more cooling power than Example 1’s 5,000 BTU unit (10 EER). The energy efficiency rating is the only difference (EER).

Advice On Buying Cost-Effective Air Conditioners

Advice On Buying Cost-Effective Air Conditioners

When choosing a new energy-efficient air conditioner, a few crucial features will help keep your energy bill—and the temperature in your home—low.

  • Engage the services of a qualified contractor. Not only will your HVAC contractor install your air conditioner, but they can also assist you with the selection process.
  • Keep an eye on the SEER Rating. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is made to determine the efficiency of an air conditioning machine (SEER). It’s worth noting that a rating of 14 to 22 is regarded as an energy-efficient classification, so look for something in that range.
  • Calculate the load on the system. The size of the air conditioner your home will require is determined by a load calculation. It is calculated by your HVAC professional (in BTUs). 

People Also Ask

Is it cheaper to run a 110 or 220 air conditioner?

Although both high current and high voltage can be deadly in the event of an electric shock, the current required for a lethal electric shock could be as low as 80 milliamperes. 

As a result, high wind is riskier than high voltage. 110V wires, on the other hand, are typically considered more secure and safer because they use lower voltages and can only carry half the current of 220V wires because the voltage is proportional to the amperage.

Is it safe to plug an air conditioner into an extension cord?

No buts: air conditioners should always be plugged into a properly grounded permanent outlet. The electricity consumption of air conditioners is excessive.

Although it is simple to plug equipment into extension cords, we do not recommend using an air conditioner. It is because it puts the electrical system at risk of catching fire and causing damage to the structure. Electrical fires occur when the AC’s electric current exceeds the extension cord’s capacity.

Can I plug a 115-volt air conditioner into a 110 outlet?

The standard household voltage in most homes is 120 volts. The power provider provides your home with two 120-volt wires, or legs, of electrical energy. The 120-volt cables that go to regular outlets in your walls are acceptable for 110-volt or 115-volt air conditioners.


Generally speaking, take note of the distinctions between the units you’re looking at, such as voltage (electrical potential), amperage (electrical flow), and watts (electrical power)

Secondly, consider the changes in power requirements between central air and window units and how those voltage variances may affect the outlet you’ll require. 

Lastly, you should be able to choose the best alternative for your space with some prior knowledge about the inner workings of air conditioning AC units.

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