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How Many Amps Does An Air Conditioner Use?

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Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 03:34 am

Summer can be dreadful when you don’t have an air conditioner. What could be more dreadful is purchasing one when it doesn’t match the energy input of your home.

So, it’s best to know the current requirement of an air conditioner before buying it.

A small air conditioner on a 120 volts circuit will need 7.5 amps. On the other hand, medium-sized air conditioners on the same circuit as above will run on about 15 amps. They will require a dedicated circuit rated 240 volts for larger ones and draw as high as 30 amps. The number of amperes used by an air conditioner is quite variable.

How Many Amperes Does A Central Air Conditioner Use?

Amps air conditioner use

The number of amps used by a Central Air Conditioner varies depending on the size and BTU rating. Amperes can go between 15 amps to about 60 amps of current.

Additionally, it operates on 208 to 240 volts. Because of this enormous amp and voltage needs, you shouldn’t plug in central air conditioners like portable and window air conditioners.

Instead, they are supposed to be hard-wired into the house. As stated earlier, the current in amps used by an air conditioner depends on several factors.

This includes the voltage, power, cooling capacity, and size. Most times, this is measured in British Thermal Units or simply BTU. The higher the BTU rating, the more amps it will require.

The amps rating of an air conditioner tells you how much current it draws. This is the amount of electricity that flows through it per time.

It’s essential to know the amp rating because, with the amp rating, you can see how the air conditioner consumes a lot of electrical energy. This way, you can estimate the electrical energy cost.

You can check the air conditioner’s label or the user manual if you need to know how many amps an air conditioner pulls. It is usually stated there.

If it isn’t, you can derive it from two simple steps. Firstly, you need to know the capacity or BTU rating of the air conditioner.

You can get this by dividing the Energy-Efficiency Rating (EER) by the Power rating in Watts. The Energy-Efficiency Rating is usually included in the specification ratings in the user manual.

However, it varies between 8 to 12 for 5000 to 18000 BTUs air conditioners. Next, to get the current in amps, you must multiply the BTU rating of the air conditioner by the voltage.

Then you divide the Energy-Efficiency Rating by the previous answer to get the current in amps. Most times, air conditioners up to 15000 BTU require 115 volts.

So if the voltage is not stipulated, and the BTU is not more than 15000, you can use 115 volts.

In buying air conditioners, I’ll advise you to always go for the ones with a more excellent Energy-Efficiency Rating because they consume less electricity.

Therefore, you’ll spend less money paying for electricity, saving up the extra cash for other expenses.

It would be best if you also looked at the size of the air conditioner compared to the space in your home.

Do not make the costly assumption that the higher the power, the more the cooling; thus, the more energy is saved.

If you buy one much larger than your space, it will draw too many amps meaning more electric bills. You will spend more and gain less.

Oversized air conditioners do not operate sufficiently enough to extract all the humidity. Likewise, you should not purchase an air conditioner that’s too small for your space.

An air conditioner that’s too small will need to keep working continuously for most of the day to make your home cool. This also consumes a lot of amps and makes you spend more on electricity.

Thus, as a general rule, the size of the air conditioner must always be proportional to your room space. It should not be undersized or oversized.

You should also ensure that you don’t use an air conditioner with a higher amp rating than the circuit breakers in your home.

Once an air conditioner requires above 30 amps of current, you should ensure a dedicated 240 volts circuit breaker. Always contact an experienced electrician whenever the need arises.

How Many Amperes Does A Portable Air Conditioner Use?

BLACK+DECKER 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner with Heat and Remote Control, White

The number of amperes used by a Portable Air Conditioner depends on the BTU rating.

Most Portable Air Conditioners between 8000 BTU to 18000 BTU draw about 3.52 amps to just under 20 amps of electricity.

For example, an 8000 BTU air conditioner uses about 5.8 amps to 8.7 amps of current. However, a 10000 BTU air conditioner pulls between 7.3 amps to 10.9 amps of current.

On the other hand, a 12000 BTU-rated air conditioner uses a current of between 8.7 amps to almost 13.1 amps.

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Furthermore, a 15000 BTU-rated air conditioner draws current anywhere between 10.9 amps to 16.3 amps of electricity.

On the other hand, an 18000 BTU air conditioner uses between 13.1 amps and 19.6 amps of current.

Therefore, as you can see, the higher the BTU rating of the air conditioner, the higher the amps it requires.

When air conditioners have a BTU rating of 15000 and higher, they should be connected to a dedicated outlet, not a standard outlet.

This is so that the excess current needs won’t blow it.

The BTU is a measure of how much energy an air conditioner uses. As said before, it stands for British Thermal Unit.

It is the energy an air conditioner uses to remove heat from your home’s air and release the heat outside.

Thus, the higher the BTU on the air conditioner, the more efficiently it performs this function. This does not mean you should break the bank to buy an air conditioner.

If, for example, your room measures about 150 square feet, a 5000 BTU-rated air conditioner is sufficient to cool the room.

Nevertheless, to select the right portable air conditioner, you should consider the room size.

Some other factors include the ceiling height, the location of the air conditioner, the climate, the windows, the home shape, and the insulation.

How Many Amps Does A Window Air Conditioner Use?

Frigidaire Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner, 5,000 BTU, in White

Most window air conditioner units have 115 volts, 125 volts, and 220 volts. In addition, they require an amp rating of between 3.5 amps to 20 amps.

Smaller units come rated 115 volts and 125 volts. The 220 volts are usually seen with the 15000 BTU units and higher.

It is essential to know the amps rating of a window air conditioner before you buy one. This is because window air conditioners require higher amps than other air conditioners and household electrical devices.

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The smaller window air conditioners with a rating of 115 volts and 15 amps can work on a standard household outlet.

On the other hand, larger window air conditioners rated 220 volts, and 20 amps will require a dedicated outlet to cope with the high energy demands.

Therefore, a Window Air Conditioner can pull a current between 3.5 amps to about 20 amps of electricity. However, this depends on the BTU rating of the air conditioner.

How Many Amperes Does A 5000 BTU Air Conditioner Use?

Frigidaire Window-Mounted Room Air Conditioner, 5,000 BTU, in White

A 5000 BTU Air conditioner uses a current of about 3.6 to 5.4 amps. Therefore, it will pull a maximum of just above five amps of current.

In addition, these small units have voltage ratings of 115 volts to 125 volts. Therefore, these units can be used in a standard household outlet.

You should use a 5000 BTU air conditioner in small rooms measuring about 150 square feet. This is to maximize the cooling effect of the air conditioner.

How Many Amps Does An 8000 BTU Air Conditioner Use?

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An 8000 BTU Air conditioner requires a current of between 5.8 and 8.7 amps to function correctly. In addition, these air conditioners are usually the window air conditioner type and the portable type.

For example, you should use an 800 BTU air conditioner for a room measuring 350 square feet.

How Many Amps Does A 10000 BTU Air Conditioner Use?

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If you want to get a 10000 BTU air conditioner, and you’re wondering what the current rating is, look no more. A 10000 BTU air conditioner utilizes a current of 7.3 amps to 10.9 amps.

They are primarily portable window air conditioners. A 10000 BTU air conditioner is most effective for cooling rooms measuring 400 to 450 square feet.

How Many Amps Does A 12000 BTU Window Air Conditioner Draw?

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However, a 12000 BTU Window Air Conditioner uses a current of between 8.7 amps to 13 amps.

Large air conditioner units such as this have a greater energy need and thus require a dedicated circuit to withstand the electrical current.

If you don’t have a dedicated circuit in your home, you should ask a professional electrician to install one for you.

These air conditioners can either be the window type, portable type, or mini-split type of air conditioner.

A 12000 BTU air conditioner is best for cooling a room measuring between 500 to 600 square feet.


Everyone needs an air conditioner, especially when the temperature is unbearable in the summer.

However, before getting one, you must know the amps rating before purchasing.

Amongst other things, the amps rating depends on the BTU rating of the air conditioner.

Generally, lower BTU ratings mean lower amps requirements. Contrarily, air conditioners with higher BTU ratings require higher amps.

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