Will a 2000 Watt Generator Run a 5000 BTU Air Conditioner? RV Answers.

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Campervan couple with generator

Last Updated On July 20, 2021

Will a 2000 Watt Generator Run a 5000 BTU Air Conditioner?


Imagine this: You decide to go camping over a weekend that the weather is supposed to be friendly and cool. Of course, the weather never does what it is supposed to do, and it is blazing hot all weekend. You have an air conditioner with you, but you are worried that your 2000 watt inverter generator won’t be able to power it.

Lucky for you, depending on the size of the air conditioner, you might be able to power it. As long as the air conditioner is smaller than 13,500 watts, has a soft start, and will be the only thing running, you will be able to power your air conditioner.

However, you will be barely getting by, especially if you have appliances that need to be continually running. You should keep the air conditioner on the lowest setting possible for the best results, and you definitely should not run it on high.

Let’s take a few minutes to talk about why you need a soft start, what it is, and if a 2000 watt generator has enough power to run a 5000 BTU air conditioner.

What is a Soft Start?

An A/C unit typically uses up to eight times the power when the compressor kicks on, then it uses while it’s running. If you are running off a limited power supply, like a generator, this can end up causing problems.

A soft start, or start capacitor, is an electronic device that will pump power to your air conditioner without drawing vast levels of power from the generator. Sometimes, a soft start will be the only way your air conditioner will work with your generator.

A soft start is also essential when it comes to reducing the wear that your air conditioner motor might experience otherwise. It will lower the amount of power the unit needs to draw from the generator and will help prevent spikes in power consumption.

Is a 5000 BTU Air Conditioner Right For Me?

Camping generators in back of campervan hooked up

This size conditioner is recommended for spaces that are around 200 square feet, but ideally less than 150 square feet. This is great for small rooms or tents that don’t need a ton of airpower. You should also make sure your generator can handle the starting wattage the air conditioner surges to.

However, if you are looking for something that can keep you from completely burning up on the hottest camping days, 5 000 BTU is enough to help you with that. As long as you have at least a 1 000 watt generator, you can run these kinds of units.

What Can I Run on a 2000 Watt Generator?

A 2000 watt generator is pretty small and is usually easy to transport. This size generator’s typical weight is about 50 pounds and is extremely quiet, with a 60-decibel maximum. While 2000 watts is the maximum output, this type of generator will typically run at 1800 watts.

There are several things that you can power with a 2000 watt unit, including a coffee maker, electric induction stovetop, blender, hairdryer, microwave oven, laptop, crockpot or other slow cookers, small TV, and small electric heater.

These appliances range anywhere between 200 watts and 1800 watts, so you will need to be careful, especially when starting them up. You will want to make sure your generator can handle the starting wattage.

What About 5000 BTU Air Conditioners?

Petrlo generator on grass in front on campervan

Besides the items listed above, 2000 watt generators can also handle a 5000 BTU AC unit. Starting wattage of a 5000 BTU unit will surge between 1200 watts and 1500 watts for a second. An air conditioner of this size uses about 550 running watts per hour, well within the maximum 2000 watt range.

If you are wondering about a smaller generator, a 1000 watt generator will handle a 5000 BTU air conditioner. Since the starting surge of up to 1500 watts is just temporary and the running wattage is lower, this size generator will handle the load and work just fine.

How Many Watts Do 5000 BTU Air Conditioners Need?

A 5000 BTU conditioner is the most common size for those who frequent camping because it is considered the smallest and easiest to load up. But how big of a generator do you need to get it running? That depends on efficiency.

Low-efficiency units, typically an EER rating of 8, you would need 625 watts. Standard efficiency units, EER rating of 10, needs 500 watts. High-efficiency units, with an EER rating of 12.5, need 400 watts. As long as the EER rating is ten or higher, you can get away with using a 500-watt generator.

More Wattage for More Power

Power generator petrol with campervans

If you want to run more than just your air conditioner, you might want to consider a higher watt generator. Typically, a generator between 2500 to 3500 watts will be able to successfully use and power your air conditioner, your TV, appliances, and charge your devices all at the same time.

For example, a coffee machine uses between 300 watts and 1500 watts. An electric microwave uses running wattage between 600 watts and 1200 watts. An instant pot uses up to 1000 watts. If you want to use any of these items on the same generator simultaneously, you would need to make sure your generator has enough wattage to do so.

The decibels on a higher watt generator stays around the 60-decibel range, so you don’t have to worry about the running noise being any different.

Consider Alternatives

If your 2000 watt generator isn’t powerful enough to do everything you want it to do, consider what alternatives you might have. For example, you can purchase a second generator with the same power or higher to run all of your things at one time.

A 2000 watt generator will usually run around 30 amps, and some can work using dual fuels. This means you can use gas or propane as an option to run the generator. If you need higher amps, you can get a more significant generator or purchase a second to supplement.

Noise Level

Generators can run a bit noisy and may become a big problem. For example, a 70-decibel unit is the same noise level you would get when running a vacuum cleaner. The ideal range for these units is between 50 and 60 decibels. If this is still too much noise, you should put the unit behind your campsite so that the noise is going in the opposite direction.

You could also place one or two plywood pieces behind your generator unit to reflect the noise away so it won’t affect your camping experience.

Generator for Window Air Conditioner

If you have a window air conditioner in your home or are thinking about getting one, the fundamental question you need to ask yourself is how big of a generator you will need to power it. These air conditioning units range in size from 5000 BTU to 14000 BTU, but the typical size is around 5000 BTU. When the compressor kicks on, it will usually hit a starting point of 2000 watts before dropping back down to standard running wattage.

A 5000 BTU air conditioner will use about 450 running watts. An 8000 BTU air conditioner will use around 715 watts but could be less depending on the room’s size. An oversized 14000 BTU air conditioner will only need 1250 watts.

If you choose a small to a medium-sized window unit, you can use a 1000 watt generator, run your unit, and be just fine. However, if you need a large window unit, you would need to get a 2000 watt generator.

Conclusion

Camping tents setup with small generators

If you frequent camping and wonder if your 2000 watt generator will power your 5000 BTU air conditioner, the answer is yes. This generator will work to run this size air conditioner. However, you might have some difficulty using other appliances, chargers, and devices simultaneously.

If you need to have more than just your air conditioner running at once, you might want to consider a larger generator. A larger generator could be beneficial to you if you have multiple appliances to run simultaneously.

You might also want to consider using more than just a single generator because having multiple generators will help you out. It will make it easier for you to run everything at the same time without putting too big of a load on a single generator.

If you are looking at generators that could run your window AC units in your home, a 2000 watt generator could easily run any size ranging from 5000 BTU to 14000 BTU.