Can You Plug an Air Conditioner Into a Power Strip?
Are you thinking about installing a new air conditioner? Call On The Double! Heating & Cooling today at 806-203-6490 for expert guidance.
The Texas summer weather can leave you frantically searching for a way to make your space cooler, especially when your existing air conditioner is no longer enough. Many people may try to install a mini-split or a portable system to beat the summer heat. To install such air conditioners, you’ll need a power outlet for them. But can you plug an air conditioner into a power strip, or do you need a dedicated outlet?
As a team providing trusted AC maintenance in Lubbock, TX, we see many homeowners make mistakes in this regard. If you want your air conditioner to work safely, you can’t plug it into a power strip. It’s best to connect it to a grounded house socket.
Why You Can’t Plug an Air Conditioner Into a Power Strip
There are a couple of reasons to avoid plugging your AC into a power strip.
Avoid the Risk of Fires
Air conditioners are very powerful systems. Just like an extension cord, a power strip cord isn’t equipped to handle an air conditioner’s power requirements. Plugging the system into a power strip increases the risk of fires.
If you look at your air conditioner’s power cable, you’ll see that it is short and stocky. This is to ensure it can get enough of the power it needs to operate.
Pairing that cable with the lighter gauge cable on the average power strip is not a good idea. The power strip will overheat as your air conditioner works. If you don’t notice the overheating on time, the power strip will melt or trigger a fire.
Avoid Air Conditioner Damage Due to Voltage Fluctuations
Another reason to avoid plugging your air conditioner into a power strip is that such a connection can lower the voltage reaching your air conditioner or, at the very least, cause voltage fluctuations. This is because the power strip’s thinner cables will cause higher electrical resistance.
Voltage fluctuations can cause some of the more common air conditioner problems. Your air conditioner’s compressor motor needs to maintain a certain level of torque to work optimally. A higher voltage will increase the torque, while a lower voltage will reduce the torque.
If the torque falls to a certain level, the motor will stall. Power will still flow to the motor even though it’s stalling. The result is overheating that can burn out the air conditioner’s other components, lowering the system’s lifespan.
Avoid Using the Air Conditioner Without a Designated Circuit Breaker
The air conditioner gobbles up more power than any other appliance in your home. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a separate circuit breaker for the air conditioner to prevent electrical damage. Unfortunately, the average power strip doesn’t have a built-in circuit breaker.
Can you plug an air conditioner into a power strip that features a circuit breaker or surge protector? No, you shouldn’t. It’s still a power strip. It doesn’t have what it takes to handle an air conditioner’s power.
What To Do To Enjoy a Comfortable Summer Without Worrying About Your Safety
If you want to install a new air conditioner but don’t want to risk a fire hazard, there’s only one logical thing to do. Call an electrician to install a wall outlet compatible with an air conditioner.
The electrician will install a single-circuit outlet wired to the electric panel. As a result, you can relax knowing that you won’t have to worry about cords melting, circuit breakers triggering due to overload, or electrical fires breaking out due to the electrical imbalance.
If, for some reason, your electrician can install an outlet for your air conditioner, you may have to explore other low-power cooling options like a portable air conditioner, a ceiling fan, or a standing fan.
You can connect them to a standard power strip without worrying about any downsides.
Get More Guidance From the Professionals
Can you plug an air conditioner into a power strip? You can, but it’s not a good idea if you don’t want to risk electrical fires or cause damage to the air conditioner within a few weeks of installation.
If you need further advice, call On The Double! Heating & Cooling team in Lubbock, TX, today at 806-203-6490 to schedule a consultation. You can also call us for speedy AC repair to revamp your existing unit.