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Old 05-13-2016, 12:54 PM   #1
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Air conditioner on 15 amp circut

Is there a problem running the air conditioner on a standard household 15 amp circuit? We will be picking up our Escape 19 trailer in July and be staying some of the time with family and friends. I was concerned about the draw of the air conditioner while pluged into a standard outlet. Will a person have to turn everything else off like you would if you were using a 2000 watt generator? Coming from Alaska we get too hot at anything over 75 degrees.
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Old 05-13-2016, 01:01 PM   #2
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Will a person have to turn everything else off like you would if you were using a 2000 watt generator? Coming from Alaska we get too hot at anything over 75 degrees.
Pretty much if you're plugged into a 15 amp household circuit. No microwave at the same time for sure.

If using a relative's exterior house outlet it should be a dedicated one but in some situations it might not be. (homeowner wiring ) If you're running a cord from one of their interior outlets then you'd also have to make sure they weren't running any appliances etc. on that circuit.

Ron
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Old 05-13-2016, 01:03 PM   #3
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I personally would not want to run it on a 15 amp circuit. New construction typically uses 15 amp circuits for ceiling lighting and 20 amp for household outlets. The A/C can be damaged by running on low current. While the A/C in an Escape would probably OK on 15 amps, I would make absolutely sure nothing else in the trailer is running. Turn off the battery switch.
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Old 05-13-2016, 01:05 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
Pretty much if you're plugged into a 15 amp household circuit. No microwave at the same time for sure.

If using a relative's exterior house outlet it should be a dedicated one but in some situations it might not be. (homeowner wiring ) If you're running a cord from one of their interior outlets then you'd also have to make sure they weren't running any appliances etc. on that circuit.

Ron
If you have the electric option for your water heater, be sure to turn it off (or wait for it to cycle off before starting the AC).

A general rule of thumb is 1 high wattage device for 15 amp, 2 for 30 amp...
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Old 05-13-2016, 02:16 PM   #5
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We fried our Casita's AC by plugging it into my in-law's 15amp outlet. In Arkansas, in June.

Needless to say, with the temperature and humidity at that time of year, we had to have a local RV shop install a new one. Also needless to say, we will never plug it in to a 15amp outlet again.
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Old 05-13-2016, 02:46 PM   #6
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If using a relative's exterior house outlet it should be a dedicated one but in some situations it might not be. (homeowner wiring )
Really? My house is decades old and outside outlets do not each have a dedicated circuit, but even in a new house I would be surprised if every exterior outlet is on a separate circuit. If they are, that's great, but it is not something to count on, and having lights and other receptacles on the same circuit is not necessarily related to modifications by unqualified people (homeowners).

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The A/C can be damaged by running on low current.
The breaker which protects a circuit doesn't regulate the current flowing in it - it just cuts it off. That means the air conditioner won't be affected by the rating of the circuit (it won't be forced to run with less current than it should)... unless the wire resistance is so high that substantial voltage is lost in the wire (doesn't seem likely, but perhaps) or the breaker trips and then there is no power at all.

A generator is different - its output could drop in voltage if it can't quite keep up.
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Old 05-13-2016, 04:02 PM   #7
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Really? My house is decades old and outside outlets do not each have a dedicated circuit, but even in a new house I would be surprised if every exterior outlet is on a separate circuit. If they are, that's great, but it is not something to count on, and having lights and other receptacles on the same circuit is not necessarily related to modifications by unqualified people (homeowners).


The breaker which protects a circuit doesn't regulate the current flowing in it - it just cuts it off. That means the air conditioner won't be affected by the rating of the circuit (it won't be forced to run with less current than it should)... unless the wire resistance is so high that substantial voltage is lost in the wire (doesn't seem likely, but perhaps) or the breaker trips and then there is no power at all.

A generator is different - its output could drop in voltage if it can't quite keep up.
Yes, low voltage (wattage) can damage an A/C. But as I stated, the Escape A/C (11,000 BTUs) can be run on a 15 amp circuit without tripping the breaker, if other power using devices do not increase the demand on the circuit to a point that current draw exceeds 15 amps. But other factors come into play. The number of watts delivered to any electrical appliance is affected by the length of the conductor between the source and the appliance. If, for example, the fuse/breaker box is at a substantial distance (the other end of the house) from the outlet, and/or an additional 30 amp extension cord is used in conjunction with the trailer's shore power cord, the A/C could be damaged from operation with inadequate wattage. It doesn't matter what the amp rating of the circuit is or if the breaker does not trip; what matters is how much current is actually being delivered to the appliance. Under certain circumstances, the A/C could be damaged even on a dedicated 15 amp outlet if it receives insufficient wattage, so running it on a 15 amp circuit can, but not necessarily, be risky. The same could be true of a 30 amp circuit if the outlet is at a great distance from the breaker and a larger wire size is not installed to compensate for line loss. 10 gauge wire is typically used with 30 amp circuits. An outlet 300 yards/meters away is not going to deliver 30 amps on 10 gauge wire.
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Old 05-13-2016, 04:02 PM   #8
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In the last day or two, our A/C was at 20 and 21 amps part of the time.
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Old 05-13-2016, 04:16 PM   #9
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We will have the surge protector installed and between that and keeping the batteries shut off so the converter does not charge I hope we will be ok.
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Old 05-13-2016, 04:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Really? My house is decades old and outside outlets do not each have a dedicated circuit, but even in a new house I would be surprised if every exterior outlet is on a separate circuit. If they are, that's great, but it is not something to count on, and having lights and other receptacles on the same circuit is not necessarily related to modifications by unqualified people (homeowners).
.
Well it's been a few years since I wrote exams based on the Canadian Electrical Code and I'm certainly not an electrician but I was going by Rule 26-702(16)

"a circuit used solely for one or more outdoor outlets." Yes, the circuit can have another exterior outlet as long as the first one is a GFCI. The problem is that many houses that have been "updated" and flipped in our crazy market it's not uncommon for homeowner wiring to have all sorts of sometimes dangerous wiring. Bottom line: if you're going to plug in at a relatives house it'd be good to know if the circuit was a dedicated one not just one conveniently run to the exterior from an interior kitchen outlet.

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Old 05-13-2016, 04:55 PM   #11
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Well it's been a few years since I wrote exams based on the Canadian Electrical Code and I'm certainly not an electrician but I was going by Rule 26-702(16)

"a circuit used solely for one or more outdoor outlets." Yes, the circuit can have another exterior outlet as long as the first one is a GFCI. The problem is that many houses that have been "updated" and flipped in our crazy market it's not uncommon for homeowner wiring to have all sorts of sometimes dangerous wiring. Bottom line: if you're going to plug in at a relatives house it'd be good to know if the circuit was a dedicated one not just one conveniently run to the exterior from an interior kitchen outlet.

Ron
Ron....my current house was built in 2003 and none of the exterior outlets are on a dedicated circuit circuit, they are all tied together. All GFCI on a 20 amp breaker. Only dedicated circuits I have are water heater, heat pump, kitchen range, clothes dryer, etc. and a dedicated circuit I ran to the freezer in the garage because I failed to ask for it when specs fir the home were written. But you are dead on; with all the DIYers out there one could not know where power was picked up for an "add on" outlet. I have never seen nor heard of a house with more than one exterior outlet with each outlet on a dedicated circuit.
But I did install a dedicated 30 amp circuit for quiet, shaded "campsite" in my yard. To date, only one forum member has used it. But I do have space for two trailers if necessary.
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Old 05-13-2016, 05:13 PM   #12
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We will have the surge protector installed and between that and keeping the batteries shut off so the converter does not charge I hope we will be ok.
I'd think so but you might want to ask your friend/relative about the electrical to see if they think there's would be any issues. A newer house with a decent sized panel, probably no problem; an old house with a sub-standard panel, who knows what else might be sharing the circuit.

So, picking up in July, getting close, What route are you taking home?

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Old 05-13-2016, 05:18 PM   #13
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Ron....my current house was built in 2003 and none of the exterior outlets are on a dedicated circuit circuit, they are all tied together. All GFCI on a 20 amp breaker. Only dedicated circuits I have are water heater, heat pump, kitchen range, clothes dryer, etc. and a dedicated circuit I ran to the freezer in the garage because I failed to ask for it when specs fir the home were written. But you are dead on; with all the DIYers out there one could not know where power was picked up for an "add on" outlet. I have never seen nor heard of a house with more than one exterior outlet with each outlet on a dedicated circuit.
But I did install a dedicated 30 amp circuit for quiet, shaded "campsite" in my yard. To date, only one forum member has used it. But I do have space for two trailers if necessary.
Carl, I can't speak for your electrical code but ours requires any exterior outlet be on a dedicated circuit. There may be more than one exterior outlet on that circuit.

In addition to the circuits you noted probably your kitchen counter outlets are on dedicated circuits also.

Hmm, dedicated exterior power for a visiting RV, I'll remember that.

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Old 05-13-2016, 05:22 PM   #14
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My house is over 70 years old with 200 amp service, my garage has 30 amp sub panel with 2 15 amp circuits with one feeding the Escape via an outside outlet. Never had any issue using the a/c even with my 12 amp extension cord set up.
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Old 05-13-2016, 05:32 PM   #15
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I'd think so but you might want to ask your friend/relative about the electrical to see if they think there's would be any issues. A newer house with a decent sized panel, probably no problem; an old house with a sub-standard panel, who knows what else might be sharing the circuit.

So, picking up in July, getting close, What route are you taking home?

Ron
I will be sure to check out the circuit i plug into and only use a heavy extension cord (maybe I should buy a 30 amp extension cord).
We are not taking the trailer back to Alaska. We are keeping it in my brothers barn in Montana when the month of traveling is up. We are taking the Cassiar highway down from Skagway on the way down. We have driven it several times.
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Old 05-13-2016, 05:43 PM   #16
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My house is over 70 years old with 200 amp service, my garage has 30 amp sub panel with 2 15 amp circuits with one feeding the Escape via an outside outlet. Never had any issue using the a/c even with my 12 amp extension cord set up.
Jim, you mean you haven't had any problem up to now. And you are pulling 15 amps through a cord rated for 12. Not only can that result in a reduction of watts delivered to the trailer, the cord could overheat and potentially be a fire hazard. Insurance companies look for stuff like this when claims are submitted. They have been known to deny claims when homeowner's can be considered negligent.
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Old 05-13-2016, 06:36 PM   #17
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Jim, you mean you haven't had any problem up to now. And you are pulling 15 amps through a cord rated for 12. Not only can that result in a reduction of watts delivered to the trailer, the cord could overheat and potentially be a fire hazard. Insurance companies look for stuff like this when claims are submitted. They have been known to deny claims when homeowner's can be considered negligent.
The trailer is outside as is the extension cord, no issue with EMS inside the trailer nor the 15amp GFCI circuit the extension is plugged. I would not operate the a/c off the extension other than outside.
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Old 05-13-2016, 06:43 PM   #18
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The trailer is outside as is the extension cord, no issue with EMS inside the trailer nor the 15amp GFCI circuit the extension is plugged. I would not operate the a/c off the extension other than outside.
Gotcha. Just wanted to make sure you were aware of any potential ramifications. You seem to have it in hand!
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Old 05-13-2016, 07:09 PM   #19
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My house is over 70 years old with 200 amp service,
If it's original that would be beyond rare in these parts. Lot's of older houses, some with suites, still have 60 amps and fuses . I've also seen one with 30 amps.

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Old 05-13-2016, 09:13 PM   #20
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If it's original that would be beyond rare in these parts. Lot's of older houses, some with suites, still have 60 amps and fuses . I've also seen one with 30 amps.

Ron
When I moved into my 87 year old house it had 60 amp service with with a 60 amp main and 4 15 amp subs. Blew several in the kitchen. New electric went in within 4 months. Remodeled and did new electric about 3 years later. Remodeled the kitchen and redid the electric panel again as I needed more fuses. Each time the electric was done by licensed electricians with permits and the 3 outside plugs are on one circuit each a GFI. That's what the code here allows.

Back to the original subject, I am astounded to learn that low amperage can harm the A/C and definitely will be on the lookout so as not to harm mine when I get it. Useful information Thanks.
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