How Many Amps Does An Air Conditioner Use?

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante

It’s hard to imagine a world without air conditioning, even if air conditioners can be a mystery themselves. The average homeowner doesn’t have professional-grade knowledge when it comes to air conditioner amperage, voltage, and wattage. So, how many amps does an air conditioner use?

Air conditioner amperage varies based on the size and strength of the unit. They range between 5 and 60 amps but standard 12,000 BTU air conditioners only draw 13 amps. Window air conditioner units may only draw as little as 3.8 amps or as much as 13 amps depending on the size, make, and model.

It’s important to learn about air conditioner amperage, wattage, and voltage to avoid electrical problems. Air conditioners use a lot of power and they can cause a short circuit if you run too many electrical devices on the same circuit at once.

How Many Amps Does a 24,000 BTU Air Conditioner Use?

A 24,000 BTU air conditioner uses 13.64 amps or more. That is the minimum requirement to run a 24,000 BTU air conditioner. They run at 2,000 watts and a 24,000 BTU air conditioner can generate plenty of power to help cool your home.

This is a common air conditioner strength, but it is not enough to circulate air through a large house. Ideally, you should only have a 24,000 BTU air conditioner if the space doesn’t exceed 1,500 square feet. You will need to upgrade to a 40,000 BTU or a 60,000 BTU air conditioner for a 2,000-square-foot space.

How Many Amps Does a 12,000 BTU Air Conditioner Use?

A 12,000 BTU air conditioner uses up to 13 amps depending on its size and conditioner. With that said, they will draw as little as 9 amps in some cases. Generally, a 12,000 BTU air conditioner is only enough to cover a 400-square-foot space.

This is the perfect strength to circulate air throughout a bedroom, family room, living room, or home office. You can get by with a 9,000 BTU air conditioner in a 20’ x 20’ room as well, but a 12,000 BTU unit is more effective.

How Many Amps Does a 3-Ton Air Conditioner Use?

The average 3-ton air conditioner uses up to 12.3 amps. A 3-ton air conditioner can draw 7.5 amps in some cases, but it will never exceed 12.3 amps. Generally, a 3-ton air conditioner has a 36,000 BTU capacity which makes it suitable for a 1,800 square foot space.

Only run a 3-ton air conditioner if your breaker can handle it to avoid frustrating electrical problems. A 3-ton air conditioner draws lots of power and typically requires a 25-amp breaker. The average 2-ton air conditioner may use as little as 7.45 amps.

How Many Amps Does a Window Air Conditioner Use?

The minimum amperage requirement for a window air conditioner is 3.8 amps. However, window air conditioners vary in their BTU capacity, size, and amperage requirement. Window air conditioner units generally have a 5,000-12,000 BTU capacity.

Because of that, there is a wide range of amperage for window AC units depending on which one you have. Your window air conditioner could draw up to 13 amps if it has a 12,000 BTU capacity.

Can I Plug my AC Into a Regular Outlet?

You can plug your AC into a regular outlet, but you may cause a short circuit. It depends on how many electrical appliances you run on a single circuit. You are more likely to cause a short circuit or electrical damage if you are drawing a large electrical current in one area.

Air conditioners use a lot of power even if they have a low BTU capacity. This becomes a problem when you plug several large appliances in on the same circuit. For example, you may experience a short circuit if you plug an AC into an outlet on the same circuit as a refrigerator, washing machine, and dishwasher in some cases.

There is no limit to how many outlets can be shared on one circuit. However, you are limited in how much power you can draw from a single circuit. The average outlet you will find in your home can only handle 120 volts, however, and most air conditioners exceed 200 volts.

Can You Run an Air Conditioner on a 15-Amp Breaker?

You can run an air conditioner on a 15-amp breaker because most of them are rated for between 115 and 220 volts. However, you need to check your air conditioner’s voltage before you run it on a 15-amp breaker. Otherwise, you can cause a short circuit and even electrical damage which can lead to expensive repairs.

You need to be careful about what electronic devices you run at the same time that you use your air conditioner. Something as simple as a microwave or toaster oven may overload your circuit when you run an air conditioner on a 15-amp breaker.

Summing It Up

There is no ironclad rule for how many amps an air conditioner uses and it varies on the model. Some air conditioners may draw only 3.8 amps, but that is uncommon and only applies to small window AC units. Other AC units may draw as much as 13 amps if they have a nearly 12,000 BTU capacity.

A space or home needs a different capacity air conditioner depending on the square footage. For example, you would need a 12,000 BTU air conditioner for a room that measures 400 square feet. Your 12,000 BTU air conditioner would use 13 amps in that case.

You can plug your air conditioner into a standard outlet as long as it won’t overload the circuit. This is a common problem for many homeowners, particularly if you have other large appliances on the same circuit. Consult a professional if you want to make sure that your circuit can handle your air conditioner to avoid problems.

Related Guides

Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

More by Nick Durante