How many amps does an air conditioner consume? - Updated in 2022 (2023)

How many amps does an air conditioner consume? - Updated in 2022 (1)

Have you ever wondered, "How many amps does an air conditioner draw and how much does that contribute to my electric bill?"

Well, a 240VAC appliance typically draws 15-60 amps, which can add up to 40% of your electricity bill in the summer. However, if you want a clearer answer, consider the device's size and BTU rating.

To help you understand these classifications, here is a brief explanation.

Table of Contents

  • How many amps does an air conditioner use?
  • Types of air conditioners
    • 1. Central air conditioning
    • 2. Mini split without channels
    • 3. Window air conditioner
    • 4. Portable air conditioner
    • 5. Hybrid/dual fuel air conditioning
    • 6. Intelligent air conditioning
  • How do you calculate the number of amps needed for an air conditioner?
  • Tips for buying inexpensive air conditioners
  • Conclusion

How many amps does an air conditioner use?

How many amps does an air conditioner consume? - Updated in 2022 (2)

It is common for an air conditioner, such as a 24,000 BTU unit, to use a lot of energy. As I said above, it can require 15 to 60 amps of current, so we usually use a dedicated circuit for that.

The best approach to determining the correct amperage requirements for an air conditioner is to do your own calculation using the guide below.

However, to give you an idea of ​​the power rating, here is an A/C amp design chart. I have also listed other AC power requirements for various devices that you can find on the market today.

Note that the voltage requirement is also model dependent. Most devices in the lower price range, e.g.

BTU per AC unitEstimatedWattVoltEstimatedamplifier
5000 BTU AC power385 bis 550110-120 V3.62 and 5.43
THAT. 6,000 BTUs462 and 670110-120 V4,35 bis 6,52
8.000 BTU AC640 bis 950110-120 V5,80 bis 8,70
10,000 BTU AC power800 bis 1170110-120 V7,25 bis 10,87
CA 12,000 BTU1.000 bis 1.500110-120 V9 like 13
13,500 BTU AC1230 bis 1700110-120 V10:25 a.m. to 2:16 p.m
15.000 BTU AC1.360 bis 1.875110-120 V10:87 a.m. to 4:30 p.m

Types of air conditioners

How many amps does an air conditioner consume? - Updated in 2022 (3)

1. Central air conditioning

This is the most common type of air conditioner in most homes. It has a ducted unit installed outside the home and is suitable for cooling large or multiple rooms at the same time.

(Video) How Many Amps Does An Air Conditioner Use | AC Amps Draw | Air Conditioner Amperage Use | 2022

However, it is designed for a core function and generates a higher current draw (typically 15-20 amps, although 60 amps is possible).

2. Mini split without channels

How many amps does an air conditioner consume? - Updated in 2022 (4)

Although smaller, a ductless air conditioner still has an external unit for the condenser. The good thing about this type is that you can have many indoor units in different rooms of your house.

This makes it possible to reduce the use of AC amplifiers by cooling only one area of ​​the house instead of multiple rooms. Typically, a small 110V appliance of this type will only draw at least 15 amps, while a 240V appliance can draw up to 45 amps.

3. Window air conditioner

How many amps does an air conditioner consume? - Updated in 2022 (5)

Window type air conditioners are another common type that is mainly found in homes. They come in a single unit that needs to be installed through windows or walls to filter outside air.

They're usually inexpensive, but require a lot of maintenance, since window air conditioners can increase energy use if left dirty. The choice of amplifiers for them can range from 3.8 to 20 amps.

4. Portable air conditioner

As the name suggests, a portable air conditioner is a self-contained unit that can be placed anywhere in your home when needed. For its air conditioning function, it usually uses one or two pieces of pipe that exhaust air to the outside.

This portable device is known to be energy efficient depending on its size. Typically you only need an average of 3.1 to 12.8 amps. However, it only makes sense in small spaces or as a short-term cooling solution.

5. Hybrid/dual fuel air conditioning

A hybrid air conditioner is an air conditioner that uses a combination of traditional energy sources such as gas and electricity for cooling and heating. Having this device in your home will significantly reduce your electricity bill.

However, this type usually requires a significant installation effort.

6. Intelligent air conditioning

This type of ACha is a smart feature that allows you to operate it with your smartphone via WiFi apps. The use of advanced technology allows you to use air conditioners in a more comfortable and energy-efficient way.

Typically, a smart AC is rated at 14,000 BTU 120V at 15 amps.

(Video) What is normal air conditioner amp draw

How do you calculate the number of amps needed for an air conditioner?

To begin your calculation, you must first determine the AC capacity and convert it to BTU if the rating is in tons. For example, converting a 3 ton air conditioner to BTU is 36,000 BTU/hr.

Next, determine how many watts the air conditioner is using by dividing 36,000 BTUs/hour by 3.41 (1 watt = 3.41 BTUs per hour). They have a total of 10,557 watts. Finally, divide the 10,557 watts by the AC voltage range. If we use 220V in this example, the total draw is 47.9 amps.

If you have a 2.5 ton or 2 ton AC, you need to do the same calculation. Remember to convert tonnage to BTU first.

  • addendum: To determine the breaker size for your AC circuit, simply multiply the AC amperes by 125% of the continuous load. When using 47.9 amps, the separation capacity is 59.9 amps. As this is an unusual size you will need a 60A breaker.

You can also use an online ampere calculator to determine the amperes for any device much more easily. All you need to do is enter the AC wattage and voltage rating.

Tips for buying inexpensive air conditioners

If you want to save energy on an air conditioner, here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing an air conditioner.

correct size of the air conditioner

Choosing the right AC size is not only a great way to save energy, but also to keep your device running more efficiently.

If the area that needs cooling is very large, the air conditioner will have to work harder to reach the set temperature. But with the right sizing of the air conditioning in the area, cooling occurs faster and more effectively.

programmable air conditioning

A programmable air conditioner that allows you to set your preferred temperature and turn it on and off automatically is also an important factor in saving energy. That way, when you no longer need the drive, it stops working.

Energy efficient air conditioning

It's also a good idea to choose an energy efficient unit with Energy Star certification or higher EER and SEER ratings.

(Video) How Much Power Does An Air Conditioner Use? Quick And Easy

Air conditioning with wifi

Today, most energy-efficient devices have a smart WiFi feature. Choosing such air conditioners, you can not only save energy, but also enjoy advanced technology.


Knowing how many amps an air conditioner draws can help you determine the correct sized breaker for your AC system. In addition, it will also give you knowledge of how much energy you can use.

However, when installing a circuit for your air conditioner, it's not just the size of the switch that matters. You must also meet air conditioning wiring requirements to prevent electrical damage. In this case, it is best to research further or consult a professional.


  • The most common reasons why my air conditioner keeps tripping the circuit breaker.
  • Ideal breaker size for window air conditioners
(Video) how many watts and amps does a 12000btu mini-spit AC use?

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How many amps does an air conditioner consume? - Updated in 2022 (6)

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I'm Edwin Jones, Head of Content Design at Galvinpower. I strive to use my marketing experience to create reliable and necessary information to help our readers. Andrew had a great time working and applying his incredible knowledge to our content.

(Video) Air-Conditioning, Circuit Sizing, NEC 2020 - [440.4(B)], (5min:33sec)


How many amps does AC 18000 BTU use? ›

We can see from the air conditioner amperage chart that it draws about 13 A. Example 3: 18,000 BTU unit draws a little less than 20 A.

How many amps does a 14000 BTU air conditioner use? ›

14,000 BTU - Remote Control - 3-Speed Control Panel - 1340 Watts - 120 Volts - 11.7 Amps - 6 ft.

How many amps does a 12000 BTU air conditioner draw? ›

A 12000 BTU air conditioner with a SEER rating of 13 will require about 7.69 amps at 120 volts. So, if this is the unit you're running in your home, you'll need a circuit that can handle at least 8 amps without tripping the breaker. 12000 BTUs are recommended for rooms up to 500 square feet.

How many amps does a 10000 BTU AC draw? ›

Air Conditioner Amperage Chart
Air Conditioner Capacity (BTU)Amps
10,000 BTU8.70 Amp
12,000 BTU10.43 Amp
14,000 BTU12.17 Amp
15,000 BTU13.04 Amp
3 more rows
Jul 22, 2022

How many amps does a house AC draw? ›

Central AC Electrical Requirements

Central air conditioning units require 208/240 volts. They must be hard wired and have a dedicated circuit. Units require anywhere from 15-60 amps depending on how many tons they are.

How many amps does a refrigerator need? ›

Amperage for most household refrigerators, is anywhere from 3 to 5 if the voltage is 120. A 15 to 20 amp dedicated circuit is required because the in-rush amperage is much higher.

Can an air conditioner run on a 15 amp circuit? ›

Most common voltage ratings for AC units are 115, 125 and 220 volts, and amperage rating can run from 15 to 20 amps.

How many amps does an air conditioner use per hour? ›

Most central air conditioners use between 15 and 60 amps, and about 240 volts, while a window AC unit uses anywhere from 3 to 20 amps and 120 volts. A central AC unit typically uses between 3,000 and 4,000 W, and a window AC unit uses between 500 and 1400 W.

How many amps does a 4 ton air conditioner use? ›

AC Breaker Sizes Chart (For 1.5-Ton To 5-Ton Units)
Air Conditioner Tonnage:Max. Wattage (At 10 EER):Min. Breaker Ampacity:
3 Ton3,600 Watts20.45 Amps
3.5 Ton4,200 Watts23.86 Amps
4 Ton4,800 Watts27.28 Amps
4.5 Ton5,400 Watts30.69 Amps
4 more rows

How many amps does a microwave use? ›

A typical microwave oven uses on average 1000 watts of power, which is equal to about 8.3 amps. So, if you have a standard 120-volt outlet, your microwave will draw about 8.3 amps of current.

How many amps does a TV use? ›

Ratings of commonly used household appliances
Domestic Portable ApplianceAmps UsedWatts Used
Landline cordless telephone charger<0.510
Computer monitor<0.525
Desktop computer1.3Up to 300
Television 55” UHD<0.5120
44 more rows

How many amps does a 3 ton AC use? ›

Your central air conditioner or heat pump uses 3 to 21 amps based on its size and efficiency. A 3 ton AC in the SEER range from 14 to 24 SEER will use 7.5 to 12.3 amps.

How many amps per hour does a TV use? ›

Average Wattage

That's 1.24 amps when using the TV with the standard 120-volt outlet and 0.62 amps if you go by a 240-volt outlet.

How many amps does an electric frying pan use? ›

7-12 Amps

Is 30 amps enough for a house? ›

Most homes require an electrical service of at least 100 amps. This is also the minimum panel amperage required by the National Electrical Code (NEC).

What size breaker do I need for a 18000 BTU air conditioner? ›

A 20 amp breaker is sufficient for a 18,000 BTU 2 zone system with two 9,000 BTU indoor units. If the indoor units are each 18,000 BTU and the condenser is a 36,000 BTU unit, the breaker needed is 30 amps. Any 2 zone system, or 3+ zones, of 48,000 BTU or more requires a 40 amp breaker.

What size wire should I use for 18000 btu mini split? ›

What gauge wire is required for the 18000 mini split? This system would take a 20A double-pole breaker with 12 AWG wire.

What size generator do I need to run a 18000 BTU air conditioner? ›

A: The chart shows that a 15000 BTU AC requires 3,500 watts to start.
What Size Generator to Run 5,000 – 15,000 BTU Air Conditioner.
Air Conditioner Size (BTU)Generator Size (Watts)
12,000 btu2000 Watts
13,500 btu2800 – 3000 Watts
15,000 btu3500 Watts
18,000 btu4500 Watts
5 more rows
Jul 22, 2022

Is 20 amp enough for air conditioner? ›

Most common voltage ratings for AC units are 115, 125 and 220 volts, and amperage rating can run from 15 to 20 amps. The lower two voltage ratings are common in smaller units, while units with a rating higher than 15,000 BTUs will require a 220-volt circuit.

How many outlets can you have on a 20 amp circuit? ›

A good rule of thumb is to assume that there will be a maximum power draw of 1.5 amps for each outlet, allowing 10 outlets for a single 20-amp circuit.

Can you plug an air conditioner into a regular outlet? ›

Ostroskey reminded residents that air conditioners and other major appliances should be plugged directly into wall outlets, not extension cords or power strips.

What gauge wire for 50 amps? ›

50 AMP Wire Size

For a maximum of 50 amps, you'll need a wire gauge of 6. Fifty amp breakers are most often used to power many different appliances. However, a kitchen oven can alone require 50 amps. Many electric dryers also require a 50 amp breaker.

How many thermostat wires do I need for AC? ›


This is a popular configuration for a battery-powered thermostat or a digital thermostat that solely regulates heat. The standard configuration consists of 24-volt hot (red), 24-volt common (blue), heat (white), and a fan (green).

How many square feet will a 18000 BTU air conditioner cool? ›

700 – 1,000 sq. feet: 18,000 BTUs. 1,000 – 1,200 sq. feet: 21,000 BTUs.

How much thick wire do I need for AC? ›

As we can see, most air conditioner requires anywhere from 18 AWG to 10 AWG wires. Bigger 5+ ton AC units require even thicker wires; 8 AWG or even 6 AWG.


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