Air conditioners use more power than you think


Saturday night’s blaze that destroyed 2 houses and displaced 18 people started accidentally due to a failure in an air conditioner.

Many are cranking up their air conditioners this summer because it’s been so hot. That’s why it’s important you are using them properly because compared to other electrical devices in your home, your A/C uses a lot of power to keep you cool.

Sherman Louie of Air Masters Inc. tells us an average 110-volt air conditioner draws about 10 to 12 amps of power. That’s a lot considering lamps use about half an amp and TV’s about 2 amps. He says even refrigerators use about half the amount of power than A/C’s.

“A microwave probably uses the same as an A/C but the microwave is only used in a short period of time,” said Louie, “people leave the A/C on for a long time. Some leave it on all day.”

The safest way to use an A/C is if it’s plugged into it’s own circuit.

“When you have a lot of things on one circuit a lot of amps is being drawn through it and the amps is a current of power which heats up the wire,” said Louie. “It would heat the wire up first before it trips the breaker. It’s not good, especially if it’s around carpet and papers around it. It will heat up the paper you know and could cause a fire.”

If you don’t have one, a dedicated circuit could cost you because you need to hire a licensed electrician. Louie says it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“They usually charge about $500 to $600 to run a dedicated line so that’s why a lot of people don’t do it because they see an outlet and it fits into a plug and they plug it in and they use it,” he said.

Also, plug it directly into a wall outlet. Do not use extension cords or power strips because the current of power from the AC could overheat them. If you need to use one, there are extension cords designed for air conditioners.

“You have to buy the real thick cord and so it can dissipate the heat it can handle the power going through the cord,” said Louie.

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