Can You Plug An Aircon Into An Extension Cord?

While you can plug most small appliances in to an extension cord with no issues, you shouldn’t do so for an aircon

We do not recommend plugging your aircon into an extension cord as it can lead to electrical fires. Also, since you the load of the aircon is higher and its time of use is generally longer than any other appliance (apart from the fridge) you should connect it into a separate circuit breaker to prevent the AC from tripping the main breaker in the case of overcurrent.

In this article, we will discuss the reasons why you can’t do so under all circumstances.

Why you can’t plug an aircon to an extension cord

Air conditioners should always be plugged in to a properly grounded permanent socket – no ifs, no buts. Here are the reasons why:

Extension cords can’t handle the aircon’s power requirements

There is a reason why air conditioners are designed with a short and stocky supply cord – it’s because they need so much power, thinner cords won’t be able to handle it.

Extension cords have a lighter gauge (thickness) compared to the stock cord of an aircon and as well as the wiring inside a regular house socket.

The average wattage of an air conditioner is 1,118W – more than regular extension cords are rated for. If you plug your aircon in an extension cord, it can cause it to overheat and catch fire.

To ensure safety, you should plug your aircon in a grounded house socket.

It can reduce the voltage coming to the AC

The thinner the gauge, the higher the electrical resistance is. Also, the additional length of copper wire has more electrical resistance. These two factors cause a voltage drop (or low voltage fluctuation) along the way.

Not all appliances gets damaged by low voltage fluctuations. However, appliances with motors – such as an aircon – are especially susceptible.

The AC’s compressor needs to maintain a level of torque to work. A higher voltage will increase torque, while a reduced voltage will reduce the torque of a motor.

If the torque decreases to a certain level, it will stall the motor. However, power will still be supplied to the motor. Hence the motor will not move, but heat will still be produced.

According to Ohm’s law, voltage and amperes are inversely proportional – the lower the voltage, the higher the amperage. The more amps flowing, the more heat is produced. This heat can burnout your aircon’s parts and reduce its lifespan.

It doesn’t have a circuit breaker

An aircon draws in more power than any of the other appliance in your home. Because of this, it is recommended that you have a separate circuit breaker for your aircon to protect your home against electrical fires, – and most extension cords do not have a built-in circuit breaker.

Granted, there are extension cords with circuit breakers, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are still extension cords that cannot handle an aircon’s power.

What to do if you have no other choice

Unlike a refrigerator (whose electrical draw is weaker compared to an AC), there is just no work around this issue but to always have a dedicated socket near to where you are going to install your air conditioner.

Apart from that, you can try the following:

Invest in a portable aircon instead

There may be no difference between the lengths of the supply cord of a portable AC vs. a window AC, but you may have more luck finding a nearby outlet for the portable type – just remember to use an adapter for it.

Have an electrician install an outlet

You can have an electrician make a new outlet for your home to accommodate the air conditioner. Sure, it will set you back a few hundreds to even a thousand pesos or more, but it is the best way to ensure your family’s safety from electrical fires.


You can plug most small appliances into extension cords, but for an aircon? Better hold off on that.

Always make sure that you have a nearby plug and separate circuit breaker for your new aircon before purchasing it – this will remove this headache altogether.


Leave a Comment

Exit mobile version