How Your Air Conditioner Affects Your Electrical System

Summer is here, and your home’s electrical system is likely working extra hard. If you’ve installed a new AC and it’s tripped a breaker, then the load is too much. AC’s units need a lot of energy to operate. Even a small air conditioner can put a strain on a home electrical system. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the voltage needs for different air conditioners and what he means for your home’s electrical panel.

Central Air Conditioners

Central air conditioners require a 220-volt or 240-volt dedicated circuit to operate. When your central AC starts up, it may require up to 5,000 watts of electricity. This makes it one of the largest consumers of electric power in your home. The greater the BTUs (cooling power) your AC has, the more electrical power it will require. If you get a unit that’s too big for your home, you’ll waste electricity and cause the unit to wear out faster.

Window Air Conditioners

The other type of AC unit is the window air conditioner. They come in 110/120-volt, or 220/240-volt models. Window ACs are designed for cooling one room like a bedroom. A 15,000 BTU unit will cool a fairly large room and can work on a standard 110/120-volt wall outlet. Because of its large power consumption, you should not have any other appliance on the same circuit to avoid an overload. Window units larger than 15,000 BTU may require a 220/240 dedicated circuit.

Adding Circuits

Many homes do not have 220/240-volt circuits in living spaces, and they must be added by a qualified electrician. Your window AC unit will provide the necessary information about the electrical requirements in the manual or unit packaging. Just like with a central unit, buying a window unit that’s too large will waste energy and money.

Sizing an Air Conditioner Unit

The specifications listed for individual air conditioner units state the size of the area they cool. For example, an AC unit that cools a 120-square-foot area will work best in rooms no larger than 10 feet by 12 feet. Other factors to consider are the number of windows and the amount of insulation. If there’s a lot of heat coming through a window, you will need a larger unit. If your home is poorly insulated, cool air will escape faster and might require a larger, more powerful unit.

Need New Electrical Circuits for Your Omaha or Lincoln Home?

If you’re in the market for a new AC that needs a dedicated circuit, we can help. When it gets hot and muggy in Omaha, having a properly sized AC unit makes all the difference. If your breakers are popping off when you run your AC, you likely need a dedicated circuit. Give us a call today, and we’ll give you a free quote so you can enjoy your home in comfort this summer!

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