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Installing a 230 Volt Air Conditioning Circuit

What is the proper breaker to use for a 230 volt air conditioner circuit? Electric Circuit Wiring a 230 Volt Air Conditioner.

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Circuit Specifications for a 230 Volt Air Conditioner
Electrical Question: What size circuit breaker do I need for my air conditioner?

Thank you,

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

Additional Comments: Great site, I love it. Good place to go for honest help. Thank you.

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

Electric Circuit Wiring a 230 Volt Air Conditioner

Application: Electric Circuit for a 230volt Air Conditioner.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best wired by a Licensed Electrical Contractor, or by a Licensed HVAC Air Conditioning Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the available access to the welder circuit and electrical connection box.
Precaution: Identify the welder circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the 230 volt air conditioner cord and wiring.

The Circuit Breaker Size for a 230 Volt Air Conditioner

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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
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Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
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Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

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The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

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 that I use to easily Detect 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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This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

7 Responses to “Installing a 230 Volt Air Conditioning Circuit”
  1. Donald Brooking says:

    I have an air condition unit that operates on 208/230 volts. I will like to know what size breaker and wire I need to wire up this unit.

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Donald,
    There are a variety of sizes of air conditioners available that require 208/230 volts, and the specific circuit breaker and wire size is only determined when the size of the AC is known. Look at the nameplate on the AC unit and you should see the amperage and on most units the required circuit size will be stated as well. It is also a good practice to consult the installation manual for the AC equipment which will give specific information about the minimum electrical circuit requirement and minimum wire size and circuit breaker size.

  3. mark godin says:

    I am installing a roof top unit. The electrical data sheet says the power supply is 208\230 volts, 1 phase, 60 hertz, 32 amps. I have 2 #8 hot conductors and a ground for the power supply. Are the 2 wires all that is required, or do I also need a neutral wire?

  4. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Mark,
    Typically a rooftop HVAC package unit that is 208/230 volt 1 phase does not require a separate neutral wire. Check the nameplate specs for maximum overcurrent size, and circuit breaker size, which will determine the wire size, and the size of the weatherproof NEMA 3R disconnect which is required to be installed at the unit location. Keep in mind that most HVAC units require copper wire conductors, not aluminum wire conductors.
    Also keep in mind any electrical codes that may apply to the specific location and installation. Excessive heat has become a factor for determining the type and size of the circuit conductors, especially when encased in exposed conduit.
    I hope this helps,

  5. Jess says:

    Hello good day! I have to install a 6 units of window type air conditioning units. How could I calculate the size of the main feeder for these 6 units?


  6. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Jess,
    The nameplate information on each air conditioning unit will provide the required volts and amperage, however make sure to see what the LRA lock rotor amps is as well, as this is the amperage needed for each unit when it first starts up. Each air con unit should have its own circuit wiring and circuit protection. One way to do this is the following:
    Once the total amperage is determined for all of the air con units a panel of this amperage rating and the six circuits may be installed which is designated for the air con units only. The six circuits sized for each air con unit would be installed from the panel out to each air con unit. Obviously, the power source for the air con panel must have enough extra capacity to handle the additional load of the air con panel.

    As always, this electrical project is best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Certified Electrician who will be sure to make sure the job is done right.

    I hope this helps you,
    Salamat po,

  7. Eddie says:

    On the air conditioner plug it says 20amp 240volt 60HZ 4800watts. I would think a 20amp breaker and 12guage 3 wire would work.