How big of a generator do I need to run a 5,000 BTU air conditioner? (Can your generator run it)

Who doesn’t love running their A/C on a hot summer day? However, running your air conditioner has its drawbacks like when you’re on a tight budget or someone who lives in an RV. But…

Why would you need a generator for your AC in the first place?

The biggest problem is that air conditioners require power. This means that you’ll need to have a way to keep your unit running when the power goes out.

This can be especially difficult if you live in an area that is prone to storms, power outages, or planning to have a camping weekend.

Luckily, you have a few ways to keep your air conditioner running during a power outage. The first is to run a generator, which will be the most expensive way to keep your air conditioning running.

How many watts does a 5,000 BTU AC use?

Did you know that in 2016, 40.5 million or 13.7% of Americans ages 6 and above went camping at least once?

That is a huge number of people who spent their time outside and off the grid. Now think about how many people have portable generators and portable air conditioners with them to keep them comfortable.

When deciding how big of a generator you need to run an air conditioner, there are several factors to consider.

You will need to know things like:

  • The size and wattage of the air conditioner unit you wish to run.
  • How many hours a day will be used
  • The climate where you live or you’re going into.

This will determine the size of the generator you need, how often you need to run it, or if you even need one.

Here is an example to help you figure out how big of a generator you need to run a 5,000 Btu air conditioner.

The lowest EER of an air conditioner is 7 and the highest is more or less 12 EER. Remember, the higher the EER rating, the more efficient your air conditioner is.

To get the wattage of your air conditioner, use this formula: BTU / EER = Watts

Example 1: 5,000 BTU / 7 = 714 Watts, then you need an 800-watt generator and above.

Example 2: 5,000 BTU / 12 = 417 Watts, then you need a 500-watt generator and above.

Refer to the table below:

EER (5,000 BTU AC) How many watts of generator needed
7 800-watt generator and above
8 700-watt generator and above
9 600-watt generator and above
10 600-watt generator and above
11 600-watt generator and above
12 600-watt generator and above

This is in theory only. This table is to give you an idea of how a 5,000 btu air conditioner wattage is computed with regards to the unit’s EER.

How to pick the right generator to run perfectly on a 5,000 BTU AC?

Buying the right generator is one of the most important parts of air conditioner ownership. While this is a simple process, there are many things to consider.

Do you need a portable or stationary model? Aside from an AC, what else can it run?

Know how much power does a 5,000 BTU air conditioner use

Air conditioning units are rated by their cooling capacity measured in British thermal units (BTU) or their cooling capacity measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

A 5000 BTU air conditioner can consume 417 Watts up to 714 Watts when running. Check out How Many Watts Does 5,000 – 18,000 BTU Air Conditioner Use? (Calculator & Table Below) for more information.

How many hours a day will be used?

Aside from power consumption, another important factor is time. You need to know how long you’re going to use your AC off the grid.

Every portable generator has different charging capacity so make sure you optimize your AC usage.

Determine the climate on where you are using the generator

Whether a storm just passed by or you’re camping on a very hot terrain, the climate is also a factor that affects both your generator and air conditioner.

Keep an eye for the AC power surge

Always take into account an additional 20% on top of the rated power of the air conditioner. This is to avoid inefficient use of generators when a startup wattage surge from AC kicks in. This surge is due to the compressor kicking in or whenever the AC is first used.

If you’re using an 8,000 BTU AC for your genset, please check this article instead How Big of a Generator Do I Need to Run a 8000 Btu Air Conditioner? (Is Your Generator Capable of Running AC).

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