How to Use an Extension Cord for Air Conditioners

extension cord for an air conditioner

Did you just buy an air conditioner and are scratching your head on how to plug it to the wall outlet? Believe it or not, many of the air conditioners that you buy today don’t come with a long plug. In effect, you need to buy yourself an additional extension cord for the air conditioner.

Unfortunately, shopping for one isn’t that simple. Think about this – you may take anyone, but if you aren’t careful, it could lead to other electrical worries – including the threat of having your house burnt down. Many homeowners though continue to overlook this, simply because they don’t know what can go wrong.

You know now though. So, how do you go about using the right one for your job?

Using an Extension Cord for Air Conditioner

You can’t just use any extension cord for your AC unit. You need to choose from a fair few things. These include:

  • The right wire size
  • The right voltage for safety.

Determining the Current Capacity You Will Need

Before you do get one of these, you need to know about your unit and about its power efficiency.

Wondering what’s the first question that you need to ask? Well, it’s how much power does your unit draw?

Generally, a medium window air conditioner will use less than twenty amperes. Often, it is as less as eight amperes. To know about your unit, you need to refer to the manual or label of your AC to find the amperes.

Cannot find the manual or instruction booklet? Don’t worry. We can still figure it out. Look for the symbol of the power on the AC – it will tell you how much of electric current the appliance draws. A typical window AC will be between as little as nine hundred watts or as high as fifteen hundred watts. Also, check the voltage of the AC. You will find two different options here – one for as little as a hundred and twenty volts and the other for a good two hundred and forty volts.

Now, you will need to divide the wattage by volts. This will help you get the right amperage that you are looking for. This is also the current capacity you need. Now, you can go ahead and buy the extension cord for the window air conditioner. Want to know how much current goes through the portable AC? You can use the same method to figure it out. This will tell you the power you need for the extension cord for a portable air conditioner.

You may also like: Best Portable Air Conditioners Without Hose

Choosing the Right Wire Gauge

Extension cords for PCs, washing machines, and other appliances are not fit for AC. You need a heavy-duty extension cord that can carry the high current. A window AC typically uses a 12-gauge wire that can carry as much as twenty amperes of current.

You need to select an extension cord with at least twice the amp of your AC. This is because ACs initially draw a huge power when starting up. So, if your AC is a good fifteen amperes, you should buy a ten gauge extension cord.

Read also: How to Recharge a Window AC Unit

Tips to Get the Best Choice for You

Here are some tips to help you do more:

  • Do not use extension cords if the distance is too long. Look to replace the original wire and plug.
  • Look for an extension cord with good insulation and protection. It’s going to ensure that your appliance lasts longer.
  • Don’t leave the extension cable lying on the ground. You don’t want to tread on it. You need to staple or tape it to the wall.
  • Avoid running extension cords through doors or windows. It can damage the cable.  Plus, you wouldn’t find it as easy to open or close the doors too.
  • Don’t put the extension cable below carpets or other coverings. It might heat the wire too much. Plus, since you don’t know where they are, it’s easy to trip on them as well.
  • Avoid using extension cables in heavily-trafficked parts of the house – it’s just not going to be convenient.

Final Thoughts

If these don’t work, you can make a new outlet near your AC. To do that though, you will need to call in an expert to help.