What Size Generator to Run Air Conditioner?

Generally, households and offices face power outages on very few occasions for a short period. However, when weather triggers the blackouts, it can last for many weeks. This causes losses and inconvenience.

In such situations, generators can become a convenient backup power option. However, not all generators can be used for your home and offices. Some generator models can run only limited appliances. If you want to run an air conditioner, you need to find the ideal size.

This article will guide you on what size of the generator is suitable to run an air conditioner in your home and offices. 

Understanding Generator Size

During extended power outages, the non-functioning air conditioner can result in an uncomfortable time. That’s why you will require a standby generator for backup power. To find the right generator to run the air conditioner, you need to consider a few factors.

Different Generator Types

You can find two types of generators in the market: standby and portable generators. A portable generator can be moved from one place to another. On the other hand, you will install standby generators outside your home, connected with a power line of your home. 

For home and offices, standby and stationary generators are the best. 

  • Standby generators offer more power than portable generators. Portable generators offer 12,000 watts which are insufficient to run large AC units.
  • Standby generators do not require much maintenance like portable generators. That’s because the consumption of wattage does not increase in standby generators and you won’t need to refuel the generator frequently. 

Size of Generator

Generators are available in different sizes to use for various purposes. The size of the generator does not mean its physical dimensions but the electrical output. It is measured in power capacities such as kilowatts (kW) or watts (W). 

If you use the generator to run appliances more than its power capacity, it will either overheat or shut down. Moreover, it can damage the home appliances as well as the generator. 

On the other hand, if you buy a generator more than your power needs, you will be spending a lot of your money. 

Deciding on the Generator Size to Run Air Conditioner

Without considering the right generator size, you are not providing enough power to run the appliances. Therefore, you need to calculate the right generator size as per your requirements. 


Power Requirements

First, calculate the running and starting wattage of your AC unit. You need to know how much power it requires to start and run smoothly. With the right estimate, you can understand your power requirements.  

Calculating the Generator Size

The next step is to identify whether you want to run an AC unit exclusively or with other appliances. You should know the power capacity of the appliance. Note down the weight of the appliance mentioned on the label as BTUs or tons. 

To calculate the wattage, multiply 3500 with your AC weight, as 1 ton = 3,500 watts. It will provide you the starting wattage, meaning you have the total wattage required to start the air conditioner. Now, you can determine the right generator size to run your air conditioner. 

If you want to run other appliances along with your air conditioner, you add all the wattage of other appliances you want to operate. This will include their starting wattage. After that, you can look for a generator that has more electrical output than your total wattage. 

Important Considerations While Finding the Right Size Generator

By now, you know how to calculate the size of the generator. However, you need to be careful while calculating if you want to avoid power fluxes. 

Getting the Power Details of Your AC Unit

For most appliances, the starting and running wattage are the same. However, you need to know both the wattages as the peak wattage is crucial. That’s because sometimes, appliances consume more power during starting compared to what generators can produce. If so, you will not be able to run the appliances. 

You need to get a total of all the wattages you will require to run during the power outage. This will help you find the generator of the right size for your needs. If you do not include starting watts, it can mess up the calculation.

Outside Temperature Matters

The outside temperature can affect the functioning of the generator. The power output of the generator will decrease. Moreover, the power required to run your air conditioner will increase with an increase in temperature. 

Due to high temperature, the generator will produce a low energy rating. So, if you require more power to run your air conditioner, you need a high-power generator.

The air conditioner’s input is generally measured as 27°C indoors and 35°C outdoors with fifty percent humidity. Higher temperature will increase the electrical requirement. Therefore, look for a generator size that offers excellent fuel efficiency. 

Final Thoughts

During power outages in scorching weather, you would want your air conditioner to function. Your generator should be powerful enough to power your window or central air conditioner unit. 

Nowadays, generators are made large and powerful to fulfill the increasing power requirements. However, you can ensure the power capacity by calculating the right generator size you need to run your air conditioner.

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