Portable air conditioners are a great (and cheap) way to stay cool during the summer. While some people assume that you can use any extension cord for a portable air conditioner, this is not the case. This article will explain what type of extension cord you will need, as long as the best extension cord for a portable air conditioner.
Can you use an extension cord for a portable air conditioner?
Yes, you can use an extension cord for a portable air conditioner. However, it must be a HEAVY DUTY extension cord that can carry the power required for an air conditioner.
Using a regular extension cord or power strip is a huge fire hazard.
What type of extension cord do you need for a portable air conditioner?
A portable air conditioner will require an extension cord that is either 14 or 12 gauge. The gauge of an extension cord refers to the amount of power the cord can safely carry. The lower the gauge number, the more energy current the cord can carry.
While it depends on the length of the cord, below is a breakdown of the amperage and wattage capabilities of extension cords.
A 14 gauge can carry 12 amps and up to 1,440 watts.
A 12 gauge can carry 15 amps and up to 1,920 watts.
Since most portable air conditioners have an amperage of 12 and a wattage range of 900-1,500, both a 14 and 12 gauge should be adequate. However, you should double check to confirm the wattage on your model, as some can require up to 2,000 watts.
Also, if you plan on running the cord anywhere outside, it is important that you get an extension cord that is rated for outdoor use.
Now that you know what type of extension cord you need, I will cover the best models on the market.
My favorite extension cord for a portable air conditioner
My favorite extension cord for a portable air conditioner is the Clear Power 6 foot extension cord. If you have a high powered air conditioner, I suggest the Southwire 12 gauge cord.
Clear Power 6 foot extension cord
If you have a portable air conditioner that requires 1,800 watts or less, this extension cord is the best choice. It only costs around $10 on amazon, and can safely power appliances up to 15 amps, 1,875 watts, and 125 volts.
A great feature about this plug is that the plug that goes into the wall is a flat, right angle plug. This is great if you want to plug the cord in a tight area behind an object. The cord also features copper conductors which helps prevent the air conditioner and cord from overheating.
Lastly, the blades are covered in nickel which helps prevent the cord from corroding. Along with portable air conditioners, this cord can also be used for other heavy appliances.
One of the main downsides of this cord is that it can only be used indoors. Also, if your portable air conditioner has a max power of 1,800 or more, this cord probably won’t be strong enough.
If you want a heavier duty cord or want more length, you should check out the cord below.
Southwire 9-foot heavy duty extension cord
This heavy duty extension cord is a great option if you have a large portable air conditioner. It can carry up to 20 amps, 250 V, and 5,000 watts.
This cord also has an angled plug, which makes it easier to use in tight spaces.
Since this is a heavy-duty cord, it is a little more expensive. At the time of writing, you can buy this cord in a Home Depot store or online for $25.
Along with portable air conditioners, this is a good extension cord for space heaters, which makes it a great investment for the winter.
What happens if you use a regular extension cord for a portable air conditioner
If you use a regular household indoor extension cord, your air conditioner will probably switch off every couple of minutes. This is because the cord surges out when it can’t carry the power required for the air conditioner.
It can also be a significant fire hazard. You extension cord might start heating up since it doesn’t have enough insulation. This can cause sparks to fly and even cause the cord or air conditioner to catch on fire.
For this reason, you should never use a regular extension cord for a portable air conditioner.
Other safety tips
You should make sure that your extension cord is long enough. You want the cord to be long enough that it doesn’t have to hang in the air. This can be both a tripping and fire hazard. It can also reduce the durability of the extension cord.
Make sure that you plug the extension cord directly into the outlet. A power strip will not be able to handle the surge of the air conditioner.
I also recommend that you closely monitor the air conditioner and cord the first time you use it. You should make sure that the air conditioner works normally. It is important to also make sure that the extension cord does not get too hot. If you notice that the cord overheats or that the air conditioner frequently shuts off, you will need a lower gauge extension cord.