In the case of an 8000 BTU air conditioner, heavy-duty 12 gauge or 10-gauge extension cords can power your unit safely, temporarily.
There are risks involved in powering your air conditioner with an extension cord instead of plugging it directly into the power outlet, but this can be a viable temporary solution if you have no other choice.
To do this, you need to ensure that the extension cord is the right size for your 8000 BTU air conditioner and that it can be connected safely.
The dangers of using an extension cord for air conditioners
Even though air conditioners are designed to be as convenient as possible, in some cases, you may need an extension cord for your air conditioner’s power cord to reach an outlet in your space.
It is important to first take note, though, that using an extension cord with your air conditioner for extended periods of time is not advisable as air conditioners tend to consume a lot of power.
Relaying this much power through an extension cord can increase the amount of heat spreading throughout the entire system, which may even cause you to forego the warranty on your unit and will increase the risk of starting a fire.
What gauge extension cord for 8000 BTU air conditioner?
This is why it is safest to use only the power cord that your air conditioning unit was designed with, as this will ensure that the system works the way it should.
If you have no other choice but to use an extension cord for your air conditioner, it is paramount that you choose the proper size extension cord.
In order to find the right size extension cord, you first need to figure out how much power your air conditioner uses. Then, you need to convert the wattage to current. This will give you an idea of what gauge extension cord is appropriate for your unit.
Generally, 8000 BTU air conditioners vary from about 5.22 Amps, in the case of this Gree 8000 BTU Window Air Conditioner, to 8.03 Amps in the case of this BLACK+DECKER Window Air Conditioner, but they can go up to just over 12 Amps for units that have a higher Wattage.
For this reason, a heavy-duty 12-gauge extension cord is the safest option. This Lone Star Cords 10 Foot Lighted Extension Cord is a great option since it is specifically designed to be used with major appliances and can be used indoors.
A 10-gauge extension cord is the better option though, if you can find one which matches the specifications of your unit, like this Yellow Jacket Heavy-Duty Contractor Extension Cord, which will work well if your air conditioner uses about 125 Volts and 1625 Watts.
How to find a safe extension cord size for your 8000 BTU air conditioner
When you are shopping around for extension cords, you will notice that most cords have a volt and watt recommendation on them. It is your responsibility to ensure that your extension cord can handle up to twice the number of volts specified on your air conditioner to compensate for the larger, initial power draw when you start your air conditioner for the first time.
It is also crucial that you do not choose an extension cord that is too long, as this will increase the amount of heat in the system, especially if it is underneath a carpet or furniture. This is also why it is advisable that you find the shortest extension cord possible.
How to calculate the current that your 8000 BTU air conditioner uses
In cases where extension cords only specify an Amp amount, you can calculate this for your air conditioning unit by dividing the watt amount by the volt amount, as specified by your air conditioner’s manufacturer.
The higher the current (Amps) of your air conditioner, the lower the gauge of the extension cord should be.
Other considerations for 8000 BTU air conditioner extension cords
Furthermore, it is also important that you choose a cord that matches with the power cable of your air conditioner. In other words, buy three-prong cords for three-pronged air conditioner cables, and so on.
It is also important that you get your extension cord tested by an independent testing laboratory, to ensure that it is safe to use in your home.