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Electrical Wire and Cable

Understanding Air Conditioning Circuit Requirements

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Electrical Troubleshooting tips for an Air Conditioner: I need a 2 pole 20 amp breaker for my panel box, It is for the wire to my air conditioning unit. The specs are rated voltage…

The Air Conditioner Specifications Tell It All

Electrical Question: I need a 2 pole 20 amp breaker for my panel box. It is for the wire to my air conditioning unit. The specs are rated voltage 208/230 phase 1 hertz 60 voltage min 197 max 253. Minimum circuit ampacity 18.9.max. Fuse or circuit breaker 30 amps. I was told that on the 12/2 wire I need a 20 amp breaker, but in looking at different 20 amp breakers I see also other nos. as q22o etc. Can you please tell me what is the proper breaker for me to use. Thank you.

This electrical question came from: Kevin, a Homeowner from Canada

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical repair question Kevin.

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2 Responses to “Understanding Air Conditioning Circuit Requirements”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Don,
    The specifications for your 18000BTU AC unit is helpful, however the size of the circuit for this particular AC unit would be indicated by the size of the male plug-in on the end of the cord. The plug will also show how many wires are required for the circuit, for example 4 prongs would indicate a 3-wire circuit with a ground wire. The circuit specifications of the AC cord should be visible in the molding of the face of the plug. Note also the configuration of the plug prongs which will indicate the receptacle outlet counterpart that is required.
    If the plug indicates that it is rated for 20 amps then a dedicated 20 amp circuit will be required consisting of #12 copper wire and a 2-pole 20 amp circuit breaker.
    I hope this helps,

  2. don says:

    What size wire and breaker do I run use for a Fridgare 18000 btu window unit 230 volts 12 amp?