I posted awhile back about getting a dehumidifier for the apartment I
live in and discussed some of the pros and cons of that and the
possibility of getting an air conditioner.
Well, there is a small window in the bathroom that will accept a small
5000 BTU (1000w) air conditioning unit. I know this is very small but
my friend has a 5000 BTU unit which does a DECENT job of cooling his
studio apartment. It's not great, but better than nothing.
Problem is, on this 5000BTU Whirlpool unit I am thinking of putting in
the window. (it barely fits, but does fit.) ... there are all kinds of
warnings about NOT using an extension cord with this unit. They
mention about plugging it in within 4 feet of the unit etc....
Now, I know extension cords can have their issues, but do they make
extension cords that can handle the 1000 watt 13 amps that this unit
requires? Are they just erring on the side of safety by making the
blanket statement of NO EXTENSION CORDS! Kinda like a disclaimer sort
Would I be able to SAFELY get and use an extension cord with this unit?
Something I could pick up at LOWES or HOME DEPOT.
They are just covering their rather large ass, so if you cut the
grounding pin off and plug it into a 20 foot 16 gauge zipcord extension
with frayed ends and your house burns down it's not their fault.
They are also concerned about the compressor not starting if there's too
much voltage drop in the cord.
Go to Lowes or HD and buy a 6' or 9' *appliance* extension cord. If
that's not long enough, buy the shortest 12 gauge extension cord that
will get the git r done.
And if you burn your house down, it's not my fault ;-)
Well such a think is made. However the warning stands. If you insist
on using an extension cord, and remember if something does go wrong, your
insurance company is going to blame you, that you make sure it is designed
to handle at least twice the rated load on the A/C. Those things tend to
have a start up surge much higher than their working amperage.
Because current requirements alone do not determine the guage needed,
equally important is the length of the run. Adding another 10ft of 14 guage
to a circuit that should probably be 12 guage, only exacerbates the
problem. If the extension is 10awg, that will be minimized, likely having an
There is nothing inherently unsafe about extension cords, after all they
are just wire and connectors little different from the fixed wiring in
The problem comes in with the abundance of poorly made light gauge
extension cords on the market. These do ok for occasional use with light
loads, but the cheap molded ends quickly loose contact pressure
resulting in higher contact resistance and heating, and the strain
reliefs fail in a few uses resulting in individual exposed conductors
and greater risk of damage. Of course there is also the fact that many
of these cords are light gauge wire and will cause excessive voltage
drop during the A/C startup which could cause the compressor to fail to
start and burnout.
An extension cord of the proper gauge wire and quality ends will be
safe, but it also won't be $4.99 either. The heavy 12ga extension cords
you can find at Depot or Lowe's in the shortest length that will reach
properly will do the job if they are installed and left in place. Most
of them still suffer from the low quality ends that will fail with
I make my own extension cords with quality 12/3 SJO cord (US made in
250' spools) and quality ends from Leviton or even better Hubble. Ends
up costing more than the pre made stuff but is much higher quality and
Are you sure that it is going to be pulling 1,000 watts? This seems VERY
high for a 5,000 BTU unit. In fact I just looked at a 6,100 BTU unit
that I have plugged into a watt meter and it was only pulling about 600
watts when set in "hi cool". Given, it would no doubt pull more when
Sure does. On a related note, I noticed this year how little time it
takes to fill the toilet right above my water heater (and thus, very
close to the street in terms of plumbing). 10 seconds or something,
compared to 20 or 30 for the other toilets, even when their valves are
Hi... Thanks for all of the informative replies. After some careful
thought with some excellent input from you guys, I have decided against
the bathroom idea. I was more concerned about an electrical issue
until I realized that the a cord in the bathroom with the added burden
of moisture issues wasn't a bright idea. I would have possibly gotten
the right cord and everything would have went fine with no cord or fire
issues.... then, with my luck, someone would have gotten electrocuted.
I have just purchased a couple of high tech fans and will wait out the
rest of the summer. The portable air conditioners I have seen are way
to pricey ($300-500) and I'm not sure about how that would go with the
Thanks for all your help guys.
Yes. ...and for good reason.
You are, sadly, probably the EXCEPTION to the rule that most consumers are
STUPID. You are already ahead of the curve having ASKED the question.
I entered a customer's mobile home during an extremely hot day to install a
telephone outlet. I moved the couch only to find that the window air
conditioner was plugged-into a "zip" cord (lamp cord ?18ga?) extension cord.
The couch was completely ON TOP of the cord. The vinyl cube outlet end was
almost completely melted with some brass contacts showing.
I very politely explained that this was an EXTREMELY dangerous condition and
should be unplugged. The woman was unfazed: "I have to have the air
conditioner!" I further explained that, left as is, it would burn down the
house around her. She was still unfazed and protested, "But I NEED my air
Fortunately, by the time I had finished my work, her son delivered a 25-ft
orange (heavier-duty) cord having borrowed it from a neighbor. I did NOT hear
later that there was a fire.
Yes. As I witnessed firsthand, safety MEANS NOTHING to a vast number of
incredibly ignorant people.
Yes. Make it as SHORT as possible and at LEAST 14-gauge. 12-gauge would be
Yes, but even at those stores, the "proper" extension cord will NOT be cheap.
Buy the right one ANYWAY.
On 2 Aug 2006 11:11:43 -0700, David_nj email@example.com wrote:
Go to your local electrical supply store and buy a spool of #00
triplex. Connect this to your electrical service panel, and use a 20A
breaker. Use the bare wire for the ground, the two blacks for the hot
and neutral, and place an electrical box and an outlet on the other
end. Run this cable from your basement to the AC. You can either
leave the outlet lay on the floor or mount it to the wall. Having
this triplex cable strung thru the house is ugly, but you wont run
short on power.
I had a customer in a mall plug their Seal dry mount press 1500 watts
in a ungrounded 18 gauge light cord extension cord.
I warned them it was unsafe documented it on my paperwork when fixing
Abiut 6 months later I was back and noted not only had they not
replaced the extension but they stapled it to a carpeted wall:(
I fixed the machine and while waiting for it to heat went to a hardware
store and bought a air conditioner extension cord 12 gauge grounded.
the customer got mad when I cut their undersized cord into pieces and
used the brand new cord I just bought.
HEY you cant charge us for that! they were mad.
Its a gift 12 bucks wat less than a insurance claim, less than the
p[aper for all the forms that will need filled in.
they were pissed customer never called again. heck they could of burnt
down s hills village
Good move, for small stuff like that it's easier to spend a few $ and
count it as your good deed for the day. Besides burning down the mall
after hours, it could quite possibly have gone up during the day and
resulted in an evacuation and possible injuries.
let alone the ungrounded machine, they carry high current and
occasionally have wires burn off and hit the metal frame, real hock
yesterday I found a 16 gauge extension cord taped to a walk way
powering a 20 amp unit. i suggested they move the unit a few feet and
plug it directly in wall.
it amazes me there arent more fires caused by dumb stuff...............
Maybe a better path would have been to fix the unit, testing it by plugging
it into a wall outlet, or your appropriately rated cord. After you were
done, unplug the unit, explain that they need to put it where there's an
outlet, and document in your report that there was nowhere to plug the unit
in. "Can't we plug it back into the extension cord" they might ask...
"Sorry, these units need to be plugged directly into the wall" They'll plug
it back in when you leave, but they can't blame you for the fire, or someone
tripping over the extension cord "that the dry mount press tech" installed.
Hey, it's up to them.
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