You rely on your air conditioner to keep you cool during the hottest days of the year, but running your system can take a toll on your electrical system. Using a powerful air conditioner along with all of your daily devices may cause an electrical surge. This leads many to wonder: Can you plug an air conditioner into a power strip?
Discover the best ways to power your air conditioner and whether it’s safe to plug your unit into a surge protector. Texas homeowners turn to Katy’s trusted heating and air conditioning company for all air conditioning issues, including power problems. Learn more about the topic in this in-depth explainer.
Benefits of Using a Surge Protector
A surge protector, also known as a power strip, keeps all your devices safe in the event of a power surge. It ensures your devices are safe from most of the electrical energy that travels through the system and protects your devices in the long run. Power surges can damage your electronics and force you to replace them prematurely.
An air conditioner is a major investment, so you might jump at the opportunity to protect your money. However, plugging an air conditioner into a power strip is not always ideal. Learn which instances are fine to use a surge protector and the best practices for maintaining your electrical devices.
Can You Plug an Air Conditioner Into a Power Strip?
It’s possible to power your air conditioner through a surge protector. However, it depends on the system’s specifications. Certain types of air conditioners have different capabilities and may use more electricity than others. For example, room air conditioners that draw less than 7.5 amps of electricity can run with their own 115-volt outlets. Larger models can use up to 230 volts and require dedicated circuits.
If you plug your unit into a power strip, check the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s guidelines. You may find specific instructions for powering your unit without causing problems with your electrical system.
How To Choose the Right Power Strip for Your Air Conditioner
The most important thing when selecting a surge protector for your air conditioner is to check its capabilities. Don’t purchase one that can’t handle the exact wattage your cooling system uses. It’s best to look for a product with a label saying it’s safe for air conditioners.
Another component to look for in your search is a power strip with built-in circuit breakers. This provides optimal protection from power fluctuations in your electrical grid. The device will automatically shut off if there is any detection of a power overload, so you won’t need to worry about damaging your air conditioner.
While the first two components are essential when shopping for a power strip, the next suggestion is optional. Choosing a product with a long cord, ideally at least six feet long, will give you more flexibility. You’ll enjoy the convenience of reaching the outlet without needing to rearrange your furniture.
Potential Dangers of Plugging Your Air Conditioner Into a Surge Protector
Although you can plug an air conditioner into a power strip, there are a few hazards to be aware of. Think about these risks before connecting your system to a power strip. Experts suggest having safety measures in place should you experience any harmful effects of plugging your air conditioner into a surge protector.
Problems With Power Compatibility
Power strips aren’t a great solution if you pair them with appliances that use more energy than they can handle. Buying any regular surge protector without checking the wattage of your air conditioner can lead to serious problems. The hookup may not be able to protect your device from surges and result in mechanical damage.
If you’re going to plug your air conditioner into a power strip, it’s vital to confirm its capabilities beforehand. Failure to do so could permanently damage your equipment or even lead to a hazardous electrical fire. Air conditioning units use a lot of energy, and pairing them with an incompatible surge protector won’t benefit anyone.
Increased Risk of Overloads
Say you have a small window unit that you plug into a surge protector. For extra protection, you then plug your television, bedroom lamp, and phone charger into the power strip. Don’t be surprised if you’re now facing frequent electricity overloads.
Air conditioners operate with a significant electrical current. Because of this, experts recommend giving them their own outlets to avoid electrical overloads. Be mindful of the devices you connect to a surge protector.
It’s Not Always Necessary
If your home uses a large air conditioning system to provide cooling relief, there’s a good chance the manufacturer includes surge protection in the product. Central air conditioners that connect to your electrical grid often come with a variable resistor. This component protects the system from unusual changes within the electrical currents, much like a traditional surge protector.
Investing in a power strip specifically for your air conditioner may be unnecessary if you’re operating a larger cooling system. However, if you have several portable units in your home, it could benefit you to plug them into a power strip.
Are Extension Cords Safe To Power Air Conditioners?
Can you plug an air conditioner into a power strip only, or will an extension cord also work? Experts recommend plugging the unit directly into your wall outlet, although you can also use a heavy-duty extension cord. Like a surge protector, it’s crucial to limit the amount of devices you connect to the cord to prevent overloading the electrical current.
Consult With Our Heating and Cooling Professionals
After reading this post, you no longer have to ask, “Can you plug an air conditioner into a power strip?” Learn more about how different air conditioner components work and keep your system in excellent shape with help from the experts at BVS. Call us at (281) 391-1510 anytime your air conditioner acts up or if you need to replace your HVAC system.