“Will a 3000-watt generator run an RV air conditioner?”
In RVs and campers, electricity requirements matter. This is the type of question we want to answer when figuring out how many watts or amps does an RV AC use.
In most cases, we want to know if a generator with X watts or X amps will run an RV air conditioner. Namely, here are two main problems we are going to solve today:
- How many watts does an RV AC use? This will allow us to answer questions like ‘Will a 2200-watt generator run a 13,500 BTU RV air conditioner?’. We are looking at wattages in the first part.
- How many amps does an RV AC use? Other RV or camper owners need to how if a let’s say 50 amp generator will run a 15,000 BTU RV air conditioner.
Note: Be aware that there is a difference between a generator running an RV AC and starting RV AC. As you probably know, the starting wattage for air conditioners is 2-4x higher than running wattage.
To help everybody out, we have designed 2 calculators and 2 charts. The 1st one tells you how many watts does a RV AC use and the 2nd one tells you how many amps does an RV AC use. You just input air conditioner BTUs (Example: 13,500 BTU or 15,000 BTU).
Further on, you will also find charts that will tell you exactly what size generator you need to run an RV air conditioner.
Let’s first look at how anybody can calculate how many watts and amps does an RV AC use (this will also tell you what size generator you need to run it):
How To Figure Out How Many Watts Or Amps Does Your RV Air Conditioner Run On
Let’s say you have a Honda 2,000-watt generator and you would like to figure out if this generator will run a 15,000 BTU RV air conditioner.
There are two ways to figure out how many watts does your AC run on:
- Check the AC label. On the label or specification sheet, you should have a specified wattage under segment ‘Power’.
- Just calculate it based on the BTU capacity.
Checking the label is dead easy. The problem is that we have lost the specs sheet or the RV AC doesn’t have a label.
Not to worry. You can quite easily calculate the RV AC wattage using this simple rule:
For every 1,000 BTU cooling output, the RV AC will require about 100 watts of electric power input.
This stems from most RV AC units having a 10 EER rating. Example: A 15,000 BTU RV AC with a 10 EER rating will run on 1,500 watts. However, to start this air conditioner you will likely need at least 3,500W of power (start-up wattage).
Alright, what about if you know your generator amps instead of wattage? For example, if you have a 50 amp generator, you will need to figure out how many amps does an RV AC use. Here’s how you can do that:
- All RV AC units run on a 115V circuit. This is the key information you will need to figure out how many watts does a 50 amp RV AC use, for example.
- To get the wattage, you need to multiply amps with the voltage. Example: How many watts does a 50 amp generator put out? Simple calculation: 50A×115V = 5,750 watts. Basically, a 50 amp generator is the same as a 5,750-watt generator.
You can do this calculation manually, or you can use these two calculators for watts and amps:
RV AC Wattage Calculator (How Many Watts Does An RV AC Use?)
Here’s how you can use this RV AC wattage calculator:
Let’s say you have a 15,000 BTU RV air conditioner. How many watts does a 15,000 BTU RV AC use?
You just slide the slider to ‘15000’ and you can a good estimate; a 15,000 BTU RV AC runs on 1,500 watts.
RV AC Amps Calculator (How Many Amps Does An RV AC Use?)
Here’s how you can use this RV AC amps calculator:
Let’s say you have a 13,500 BTU RV air conditioner. How many amps does a 13,500 BTU RV AC use?
You just slide the slider to ‘13500’ and you can a good estimate; a 13,500 BTU RV AC runs on 11.74 amps.
Based on these two calculators, we can create an RV AC wattage chart and an RV AC amps chart:
RV AC Wattage Chart
If we predispose that an air conditioner for RV or camper has an EER rating of 10 (in practice, there is a bit of a range; between 8 and 12 EER), we can calculate how many watts does any RV AC unit run on:
|RV AC Capacity (BTU):||Max. Running Wattage (W):|
|5,000 BTU||500 Watts|
|6,000 BTU||600 Watts|
|8,000 BTU||800 Watts|
|10,000 BTU||1,000 Watts|
|12,000 BTU||1,200 Watts|
|13,5000 BTU||1,350 Watts|
|15,000 BTU||1,500 Watts|
|20,000 BTU||2,000 Watts|
Example: Let’s say you have a 13,500 BTU RV AC. How many watts does a 13,500 BTU RV AC use?
Simple. Just check this RV AC wattage chart; you can see that a 13,500 BTU RV AC uses 1,350 watts.
RV AC Amps Chart
RV air conditioners run on 115V voltage. Based on this and 10 EER energy efficiency, you can calculate how many amps does any RV AC use:
|RV AC Capacity (BTU):||Max. Running Amps (A):|
|5,000 BTU||4.35 Amps|
|6,000 BTU||5.22 Amps|
|8,000 BTU||6.96 Amps|
|10,000 BTU||8.70 Amps|
|12,000 BTU||10.43 Amps|
|13,5000 BTU||11.74 Amps|
|15,000 BTU||13.04 Amps|
|20,000 BTU||17.39 Amps|
Example: How many amps does a 15,000 BTU RV AC use?
Just check this RV AC amperage chart and see that a 15,000 BTU runs on 13.04 amps.
We hope that these calculators and charts help you determine both how many watts and how many amps does an RV AC use.
If you have any additional questions, you can use the comments below, state what AC you have, and we can try to help you out.
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