Air conditioner

Three Key Steps to Help Reduce Home Electrical Hazards as We Beat the Summer Heat

As more people continue to work from home, all-day computer use, coupled with an increased demand for air conditioning during this summer’s record high temperatures and humidity, can put a strain on home electrical systems. An article in this week’s New York Times, “Heat Wave: Why Home Offices Add to Con Ed’s Stress,” emphasizes this point and highlights the growing concern of the load on New York’s electrical system as the country heads into one of the hottest months of the year.

Keep yourself and loved ones safe and reduce the risk of home electrical fires when using air conditioners at home and other equipment needing electricity:

  • Plug air conditioner (A/C) power supply cords directly into wall outlets, without utilizing extension cords, and ensure the circuit is adequately sized for the load of the air conditioner.
  • If the circuit is dedicated to the air conditioner, the ampacity of the air conditioner (found on the nameplate) can be 80 percent of the circuit rating. For example, if the circuit is rated at 20 amps, the air conditioner should draw no more than 16 amps.
  • If there are other loads on the circuit with the air conditioner, the ampacity of the air conditioner (found on the nameplate) can be 50 percent of the circuit rating. So, if there are other loads on a 20-amp circuit, the air conditioner should draw no more than 10 amps.

Ensuring your air conditioner is not overloading the circuit it is supplied by will help safeguard your electrical system and your residence.

For more information about electrical safety during the summer months and beyond, visit the NFPA home electrical safety webpage.

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Corey Hannahs
Senior Electrical Content Specialist

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