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How Big Of A Generator To Run Central Air?




Are you considering purchasing a generator to power your central air conditioning unit during power outages? It’s important to choose the right size generator to ensure that your AC runs smoothly and efficiently. Running a central air conditioning unit requires more power than most other household appliances, so it’s essential to do your research before making a purchase.

A 10,000 to 20,000-watt generator is typically needed to run central air.

The size of the generator needed to run central air depends on the specific requirements of your AC unit. Factors such as the size of your home, the capacity of your AC system, and the type of fuel used can all affect how much power is required.

In this article, we’ll explore how to determine what size generator is best for running central air conditioning and provide some helpful tips for choosing the right one for your home.

Understanding Amperage Requirements

When it comes to running central air, understanding the amperage requirements is crucial in determining the size of generator needed.

The amperage requirement will vary depending on the size of the central air unit and its components.

Typically, a central air unit will require anywhere from 30 to 50 amps to run efficiently.

It’s important to note that this is just for the air conditioning component and doesn’t include any other appliances or electronics that may also need power.

To get an accurate measurement of the total amperage required, it’s best to consult with a licensed electrician who can assess your specific needs and recommend an appropriate generator size.

Calculating Power Requirements

After understanding the amperage requirements, it is time to move on to calculating the power requirements for your central air system.

The first step in this process is determining the size of generator that will be needed to run your air conditioning unit.

In general, a central air conditioning system will require a generator with a capacity of at least 5,000 watts.

However, the exact size of generator needed will depend on several factors including the size of your home and air conditioning unit, as well as any additional appliances or electronics that will be running simultaneously.

It is important to consult with an electrician or generator specialist to determine the appropriate size and type of generator for your specific needs.

By properly calculating your power requirements and selecting the right generator, you can ensure that your central air system runs smoothly even during power outages.

Types Of Generators

Generators come in different sizes and types. Before buying a generator, it is important to consider what you will be using it for.

There are two main types of generators: portable and standby generators.

Portable generators are smaller in size compared to standby generators. They are ideal for outdoor activities like camping, tailgating, and outdoor concerts. Portable generators come in various sizes ranging from 1,000 watts to 10,000 watts. Here is a list of four popular portable generators:

1. WEN 56200i Super Quiet Inverter Generator
2. Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator
3. Briggs & Stratton P2200 Power Smart Series Inverter Generator
4. Champion Power Equipment 100692 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator

Standby generators are larger than portable generators and are permanently installed outside your home or business premises. They typically run on propane or natural gas and provide backup power during power outages or emergencies. Standby generators come in various sizes ranging from 7 kilowatts to over 100 kilowatts.

When selecting a generator to run central air conditioning, size matters! You need a generator that can handle the starting amps required by the central air conditioning unit. A typical central air conditioning unit requires between 3,500 to 5,000 watts of power to start up and then settles down to around 2,000 watts while running normally. Therefore, you need a generator with at least 7-8 kilowatts (kW) capacity to run a central air conditioner effectively.

In summary, choosing the right type and size of generator depends on your needs and intended use. Whether you want one for recreational activities or as backup power during emergencies at home or office; ensure that you choose one that meets your wattage requirements so it can function optimally when needed most!

Finding The Right Generator

Once you’ve determined the wattage of your central air unit, it’s time to find the right generator.

The size of the generator you need depends on the wattage of your air conditioner and any other appliances you want to power during an outage.

It’s important to choose a generator with enough wattage to handle your central air unit without overloading it.

A good rule of thumb is to select a generator with at least 3,000 watts for a small central air unit, and up to 10,000 watts for larger units or multiple appliances.

Keep in mind that generators can be expensive, so it’s important to weigh the cost against the potential benefits before making a purchase.

Safety Considerations

As we have discussed, finding the right generator for your needs is crucial. Now that you have determined how big of a generator you need to run your central air, it’s important to consider safety precautions before operating it.

To ensure your safety when using a generator:

  • Keep the generator at least 20 feet away from your home and any doors or windows.
  • Never operate a generator indoors or in an enclosed space.
  • Use heavy-duty extension cords that are specifically designed for outdoor use.

In addition to these safety tips, it’s also important to properly maintain your generator:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for regular maintenance and upkeep.
  • Store fuel in a cool, dry place away from any heat sources.
  • Run the generator every few months to keep it in good working condition.

By following these safety considerations and proper maintenance practices, you can enjoy the benefits of having a backup generator without putting yourself or others at risk. Remember to always prioritize safety when operating any type of machinery.


In conclusion, determining the size of generator needed to run central air requires a bit of math and knowledge about amperage requirements. It is important to understand the power needs of your specific central air system in order to choose a generator that can handle the load.

When calculating power requirements, it is essential to consider both the starting watts and running watts of your central air unit. This will give you an accurate idea of how much power your generator needs to produce in order to keep your home cool during a power outage.

There are different types of generators available on the market, including portable and standby generators. It is crucial to find the right one for your needs by considering factors such as fuel type, noise level, and output capacity.

Lastly, always prioritize safety when dealing with electricity and generators by following proper installation and maintenance procedures.

Overall, having a reliable generator that can power your central air unit during a blackout can bring peace of mind and comfort during an emergency situation. By taking into account amperage requirements, calculating power needs accurately, choosing the right type of generator, and prioritizing safety precautions, you can ensure that your home stays cool even when the power goes out.

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