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Electrical Requirements for Window Air Conditioners

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

My wife would love to be able to have a window air conditioner but I’m concerned that it may not be safe with the old wiring…

Electrical Question from Dave about Electrical for a Window Air Conditioning
Background: Dave, a Homeowner from Sudbury,MA

Question: My family owns a summer house in NH which has old wiring (metal sheath type). My wife would love to be able to have a window air conditioner but I’m concerned that it may not be safe with the old wiring. Is there a way I can test the wiring to determine if it’s suitable for a 5-6k air conditioner?

Thanks for your help.

P.S. I used diagrams from your web site when I added a ceiling fan/light in the house this spring. The fan works great.


Additional Comments: very informative.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Dave.
Unfortunately most window air conditioners require their own dedicated circuit with few exceptions. It really depends on the size of the room that needs to cooled which will dictate the size of the air conditioner. The 6k btu size operating with a 120 volt circuit would consume aproximately 14 amps. Rather than taking a chance of overloading an existing room circuit it is best to install a dedicated circuit. If I was to install such a circuit I would recommend a 20 amp circuit, however it really depends on the actual size air conditioner that is purchased and what the manufacturer specifies.

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