How to Electrical for an Air Conditioner
Why Most Air Conditioning Units Should Not Be Plugged Into a Shared Circuit
Installing an Air Conditioning Circuit
Electrical Question: I live in an older apartment building, would guess from the 40s. We have 2 screw in circuits – a 20amp and a 30amp. The 20amp is dedicated to the kitchen, and the 30amp is for the rest of the apartment. The only major item that would be plugged into the 30amp is a large plasma unit that takes about 5.5amps. The rest would be room lights, some fans, computer, etc. Its starting to get hot out and unfortunately our apartment is pretty bad with heat retention. I have an 8000 BTU AC set up, but its not cutting it (went through all different setups with it). I want to try a 10K AC unit. However these units get up to about 9amps. I had read that anything over 7.5amps should get its own circuit. Its not an option to install any more circuits. But shouldn’t the 30amp be able to handle the load?
This electrical question came from: John, from Caldwell, New Jersey.
See more about Home Wiring for New Jersey
Thanks for your electrical question John
- This question states that there is a 30 amp screw in fuse and I would strongly recommend that the wire size and type be checked to determine if a 30 amp fuse is allowed to be used.
- With older home fuse boxes it is easy to replace a fuse that is blowing with a larger size, however if the wire is not rated for a larger fuse then this practice could lead to a possible fire.
Circuit Requirements for Air Conditioners
Most Air Conditioning Units Should Not Be Plugged Into a Shared Circuit
- If an air conditioner name plate or manual specifies that the electrical requirement is over 7.5 amps then a separate dedicated electrical circuit should be installed.
- If the air conditioner is plugged into a shared circuit it may cause the circuit to trip off, especially if the circuit is rated at 15 amps.
- The addition of high amperage equipment that is added to a shared circuit may create stress on circuit components which may lead to circuit failure.
Electric Circuit Listing
The size of the home electrical service panel is designed by calculating the square footage of the home and factoring in the code requirements for the electrical circuits that are required.
Home Electrical Codes
Electrical Code Directory covering electrical circuits.
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
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