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Old 07-23-2014, 07:49 AM   #1
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Air Conditioner on 20 amp

Since we live in Vermont, we don't have central air and don't need it most of the time. Occasionally we get a period of a week or two where it is in the upper 80s and very humid. It would be nice to sleep in the fiver during those times, but we only have a 20 amp outlet in the garage. I read that a 13.5 btu AC needs 15 amp at start up, so I am thinking a 50' 10-3 extension plugged into the garage outlet and running the AC with nothing else should be okay, but I'm looking for knowledgeable opinions on this. I did get an expensive 10-3 instead of the more common and much cheaper 12-3 extension because of the expected load.
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Old 07-23-2014, 07:56 AM   #2
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You should be ok. We do it all the time when parked at my sister's house. Just don't forget and leave you water heater on.
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Old 07-23-2014, 07:58 AM   #3
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You should be ok. We do it all the time when parked at my sister's house. Just don't forget and leave you water heater on.
Thanks! I tried it at a couple of friends homes (moochdocking) and tripped their 15 amp breakers, so I'm hoping the 20a will be good.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:02 AM   #4
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A 20A circuit may be fine, especially with the heavy extension cord you want to use. Make sure just about everything else in the coach is turned off. Once the compressor is running, you should also be able to use lights, TV, etc. Also make sure the batteries are fairly well charged before you turn on the air so the inverter or converter/charger isn't pulling a lot of current during the initial charging phase.

If the 20A breaker still blows, check with the manufacturer of your circuit breaker panel to see if they make a breaker with a short time delay. The delay will give the compressor time to start.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:03 AM   #5
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It'll work. Keep the fridge off. Remember, you'll likely be charging you battery too. I've got a dedicated 20A connection next to the RV and the plug can still get hot. With 50' of extension, you'll want to monitor it.

If you have a breaker box in the garage (or on the outside of the house), it's relatively low bar to install a 30A or 50A wall mount socket next to it.. Although local code in Vermont may or may not require a few hoops.

Another alternative would be to plug into your electric dryer outlet (it's 240v) and adapt it down to 120v.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:22 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by SkiSmuggs View Post
Since we live in Vermont, we don't have central air and don't need it most of the time. Occasionally we get a period of a week or two where it is in the upper 80s and very humid. It would be nice to sleep in the fiver during those times, but we only have a 20 amp outlet in the garage. I read that a 13.5 btu AC needs 15 amp at start up, so I am thinking a 50' 10-3 extension plugged into the garage outlet and running the AC with nothing else should be okay, but I'm looking for knowledgeable opinions on this. I did get an expensive 10-3 instead of the more common and much cheaper 12-3 extension because of the expected load.
SkiSmuggs
I can run 1 roof air on a 50' 12-3 extension cord plugged into my 20A garage receptacle, (through the appropriate adapters).
However, if I'm going to run an A/C for a long time, (overnight), I turn off the circuit breaker to my onboard inverter/charger, as well as my fridge and any other 120V powered items, (TV, lights, satillte receiver, etc.).

The weak point seems to be the male/female cord plugs, (and/or the plugs on adapters), which can heat up if/when to much is asked of them.
Your 10-3 cord is better, but the male/female plugs on a 10-3 cord are usually no better than those on a 12-3 cord.
Mel
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:39 AM   #7
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It'll work. Keep the fridge off. Remember, you'll likely be charging you battery too. I've got a dedicated 20A connection next to the RV and the plug can still get hot. With 50' of extension, you'll want to monitor it.

If you have a breaker box in the garage (or on the outside of the house), it's relatively low bar to install a 30A or 50A wall mount socket next to it.. Although local code in Vermont may or may not require a few hoops.

Another alternative would be to plug into your electric dryer outlet (it's 240v) and adapt it down to 120v.
Good points, but my dryer is at the other end of the house. My BIL is an electrician and wired a generator outlet (inlet?) in the garage, but I couldn't find an adapter to match it to RV 30a. If he ever comes to visit again, I'll have him look into it as the panel is in the basement next to the garage.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:36 AM   #8
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Check out that 20A outlet in the garage and make sure nothing else in the house or garage is sharing the circuit. Some other load in the house could cause that breaker to trip as well. By the way, that's probably why you tripped the 15A breaker at your friends house. Turn off the house 20A breaker and see what else doesn't work. If its stuff you can live without, then good to go. Or maybe you will find that the garage outlet is the only thing on that breaker. That's the best .
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:54 AM   #9
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You should be OK. We keep the A/C on and set to 80 in the summer when we're not using the MH.

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:49 AM   #10
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Check out that 20A outlet in the garage and make sure nothing else in the house or garage is sharing the circuit. Some other load in the house could cause that breaker to trip as well. By the way, that's probably why you tripped the 15A breaker at your friends house. Turn off the house 20A breaker and see what else doesn't work. If its stuff you can live without, then good to go. Or maybe you will find that the garage outlet is the only thing on that breaker. That's the best .
Thanks and had already thought of that. The garage has that circuit all to itself and even if I left the lights on, they are all CFL.
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Old 07-23-2014, 12:43 PM   #11
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Make sure it IS a 20 amp ckt...

Most have 20 amp breaker and wires but actual outlet is only rated for 15

Take cover off and look as it will be marked on the frame visible from front.

The ac draws less than 15 continious so it will be ok but not best.

We have 50 amp unit and use a 10 3 cord with twist lock rated at 30 amp with correct connector at coach for direct connection without adaptors and it works fine.

You could do same and have some room.
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Old 07-23-2014, 06:50 PM   #12
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Your plan is sound.. With one proviso.. PLUG IN at least one to two hours BEFORE you turn the Air on (Or depending on your converter plug in all the time)

Take a look at the breaker panel in your Trailer.. See the one marked "AIR CODITIONER".. notice the number molded in the handle.. Yup, 20.

And people keep asking "Can I run one A/C on 20 amps" thats your answer, We ALL run one A/C on 20 amps, and some of use run another on another 20 amps too.
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Old 07-23-2014, 07:31 PM   #13
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Re-read the op...

Assuming only used for relief so fridge and other items not being used.

If not already checked check converter operation specifically charging voltage to be certian it is NOT above 13.5 to 13.6 VDC.

If is higher or the converter is not the type that has a good float voltage regulator then figure out how to turn it off either by breaker or creating a switch cord.

Add a battery minder or other device just to take care of the batteries and for the determined use the batteries can support the use or turn on converter when using.
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Old 07-23-2014, 07:32 PM   #14
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Identifying 15A vs 20A outlets

Fairly easy to tell a 15A outlet from a 20A without removing the wall plate.
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