Can a Generator Really Run My A/C Window Unit?If you want to keep your window A/C unit running when an electrical outage occurs, powering it with a generator is a viable option, as long as you choose the correct size. It all comes down to wattage, so if you plan to power your A/C and other items, understanding some basics can help you make a smart purchasing decision.

How Generators Are Sized

Generators are available in a wide range of sizes for a variety of needs, and they’re rated according to the amount of electrical power, or wattage, they can handle. Portable generators rated from 5,000 to 8,000 watts (W) can generally provide enough power for a window A/C and other necessities.

The easiest and safest way to connect your emergency power source is to have your electrician install a manual transfer switch that controls specific circuits in your main electrical panel. When the grid goes down, you can simply flip the switch and start up the generator.

Why Wattage Ratings Matter

In order to pick the correct size generator to power your window A/C unit, you need to know its electricity requirement. Window air conditioner units, like every other electrical appliance, have two wattage ratings, starting and running, which tell you how much electricity the equipment consumes.

Starting an A/C up takes more electrical current, but only for a few seconds. Once the air conditioner is running, the current requirement drops, so the ratings for running wattage are always lower than for the starting wattage.

How to Choose the Right Generator

Begin by deciding what you want to power during an outage, in addition to your window A/C unit. Make a note of the running rating of each item and add them together. Then, take the highest starting rating of all the appliances, and add that to the total of the running ratings. Now, you know the wattage rating to look for when you’re considering different generators.

For expert help choosing a generator for your Northwest Arkansas home, contact Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about generators and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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