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Expert Electric Blog

Do Air Conditioners Need a Dedicated Circuit?

Many homes utilize an air conditioner when temperatures start to rise. Air conditioners are available in a range of sizes and capacities to suit the needs of different homes and buildings. Some are smaller and portable while others are mounted to a wall or connected to a central system. Though smaller units can be used with standard outlets, larger air conditioners do need a dedicated circuit.

If you are unsure if your air conditioner is safely connected to your home, the team at Expert Electric can help. We have created a guide that explains which units require a dedicated circuit and why a dedicated circuit is important. For further assistance, feel free to reach out to our team. We offer complete residential electrical services to ensure the complete electrical safety of your home and can ensure that you are choosing the right air conditioner for your needs.

What Air Conditioners Need a Dedicated Circuit and why?

It is important to know how to determine if an air conditioner requires a dedicated circuit before purchasing it or plugging it in. A good rule of thumb is that units with a rating higher than 15,000 BTUs will require a dedicated 220-volt circuit. Some air conditioners also feature a non-standard plug, indicating that it may require a dedicated circuit.

Some of these circuits are built directly into the wiring of a home, while other homes will feature a dedicated 220-volt plug for an air conditioning unit. If a larger air conditioning unit is plugged into a standard outlet, it will likely trip your breaker during start-up. Even if a large unit can be powered with a standard outlet, prolonged usage can result in damage to the air conditioner or your breaker, so a proper outlet and dedicated circuit are crucial.

How to Tell if You Have a Dedicated Circuit

There are several simple methods to check if you have a dedicated circuit:

  • Check your breaker panel. If a dedicated circuit is installed in your home and was labelled properly, there should be a label titled “air conditioner” or “AC”. Some other appliances such as ovens, refrigerators, garburators, and dishwashers may also be labelled.
  • If none of the panels are labelled, check the outlets that some of these appliances are plugged into. If these outlets are not standard 120-volt receptacles, they may be on a dedicated circuit.
  • Does your breaker constantly trip when using certain appliances together or turning the air conditioner on? If so, you likely do not have a dedicated circuit and will need to have one installed by a certified electrician.

For more information on dedicated circuits and residential electrical solutions, reach out to the team at Expert Electric by phone at 604-681-8338 or through our online contact form. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have and provide you with the perfect solution for your needs.