Is it entirely safe to use extension cords with Air Conditioner? In this article, we’ll talk about air conditioner extension cords and their whereabouts.

Air conditioners are one of the most used home appliances nowadays. Generally, the cord with the air conditioner works just fine. But still, you might need to use an extension cord for some reason, like distance or set up. It’s always best to search for these things on google and know about the risk involved if there’s any and make the best decision for yourself and your family.

So it’s very important to check how safe it is to use an extension cord for such a heavy machine. Otherwise, it might create a short circuit and damage your appliances.

are air conditioner extension cords safe

So, Are Air Conditioner Extension Cords Safe to Use? 

The air conditioning extension cords we use on a regular basis are usually thin to some extent. Some of them are short and small too. Air conditioner extension cords might not be entirely safe for use. We would advise you not to use any extension cord directly with A/C current.

An air conditioner requires excess electric current. It can cause a regular extension cord to overheat. This overheating might lead to burning the cable and cause a dangerous fire. 

Even if you are in need to use one, there are many things to consider. Before you go to your local hardware store and buy the first cable you find, look them up. 

Air conditioners need higher power loads. That might burn the rubber insulation of a wire with overheating. This overheating could generate a fire even before it trips the circuit breaker. So, choose your cord wisely and take expert help if needed.

How Do I Know If My Extension Cord Is Safe to Use For An Air Conditioner?

If you use an outdoor extension cord that is heavy enough to handle provided electrical load, it can be used safely. Approximately an air conditioner is around 12 amps. 

Generally, an outdoor extension cord that is 14 gauge can handle the load and prevent overheating. So for safely using air-conditioning with an extension cord, you must use a 12 gauge cord. And for even better service than that, you can use a ten-gauge cord.


How Do I Know If My Air Conditioner Extension Cord Is Indoor Or Outdoor?

Outdoor and indoor cords are not very hard to differentiate. First, try to look at the packaging or the cable. If the letter “W” is designed in the package, the cord is made only outdoors. 

You can also know an outdoor line from the look of it. The outdoor cables are heavy in appearance, and they can handle heavy loads, and it has a bright orange cover made from rubber or plastic. 

And we often use outdoor cords for heavy machinery like an air conditioner. 

Can An Indoor Extension Cord Be Used For An Air Conditioner?

The simple answer is NO. Never use an indoor cord for outdoor purposes. Indoor extension cords are generally used for small electrical devices which use less electricity; They are not produced for heavy loads. 

They cannot take the high-power usage that an air conditioner causes. Air conditioners need a special extension cord; otherwise, if we use indoor cables, the materials could break down and produce sparking, electric shock, and even fire.

The extension cord is used outdoor or indoor; it depends on its length, amperage ratings, and voltage ratings.

How Many Days Or Months Can I Use An Extension Cord For An Air Conditioner?

It is commonly said that you should not use an electrical device for more than 30 days with extension cords. If you need to do that, then, of course, you need a permanent solution. 

Per OSHA’s regulations, extension cables are for temporary use. And no one should use these cords continuously for more than 90 days. 

Otherwise, there is a risk of fire and short-circuit. It might endanger not only your device but also you and your household or office. But changing cords every three months is also not a profitable solution for anyone. 

So, you might need to think about adding a permanent cable by omitting the extension cord. Adding an endless line will make you safer from the risks. It is also a better solution economically for long-term use. Remember, safety must always be your priority.

Is It Dangerous To Run A 5000 Btu Air Conditioner On An Industrial-Grade 15-Amp Extension Cord?

You must check the essentials before using an extension cord for a particular device. Find out the requirements, the load of electricity, and the capability of the medium. 

First, try to calculate the wattage of an air conditioner with 5000 BTU. You will find that the average watt is 446 to 580 watts. People often buy 5000 BTU air conditioners for their tiny apartments. 

As we know, an apartment has a window. After calculating, you can see that 600 watts divided by 120 volts can get only five amps. It is within our limit for safe useability. 

So, we can conclude that it is safe to use an air conditioner using a 15-amp extension cord.

Can You Plug A Portable Air Conditioner Into An Extension Cord?

In simple words, Yes, you can use an extension cord on a portable air conditioner. Generally, the manufacturers and fire departments recommend against it. 

These cords can burn and cause fire, creating a dangerous situation. Yet, If you still have no other way, you can use one with the proper choice of cable and take precautions. 

Before you do that, you must consider some things. A portable air conditioner causes a high-power load. The extension cord should be able to handle that power load. 

So, it would help if you chose a heavy-duty extension cord for safety. You must also confirm that their ratings match one another. Always try to use an extension cord that has a more significant rating than the portable air conditioner.

First of all, you have to rate the cord with high amperage. It would be best if you also kept the length of the cable as short as you could. Try not to use one longer than 6 feet. If it is longer for any reason, you have to use an oversized extension cord to use a portable air conditioner.

What Gauge Cord Do I Need For The Air Conditioner?

Extension cords can be of two types based on usability- indoor and outdoor. While indoor extension cords have lighter and thinner insulation on their construction, outdoor cables have more protective insulations that protect them from temperature and water damage. 

That’s why they are more durable than indoor ones. So, you can use outdoor extension cords indoors, but it’s better not to use indoor cords outdoors. While that’s more prone to damage, it can also cause accidents. 

As air conditioners are heavy and use a higher electricity load, an outdoor extension cord is better for air conditioners.

In typical cases, the extension cord for the air conditioner must be heavy, which could handle the load. For this reason, you need an extension cord for the air conditioner minimum of 14 gauge. 

But there is a piece of tricky information for you; a lower gauge extension cord can also handle heavy amps products.

Safety Of Air Conditioner Extension Cords

The manufacturers and fire departments caution everyone that temporary extension cords are not reliable for Ac. The experts propose installing a window air conditioner and using a heavy extension cord to prevent accidents.

Extension Cords Designations And Limits

You can choose your perfect extension cord according to the designations and limits provided. It is recommended that you take expert help if you have difficulty understanding any of the guidelines.


• S: Standard or Service wire, rated at 600 VACS; general use purpose

• J: Junior Service, rated at 300 VACS, suitable for use as a power supply cable for small tools and appliances

• T: Outer jacket made with Vinyl thermoplastic

• P: Parallel wire construction, used for air conditioner, household Extension cords

• O: Outer jacket made with Oil-Resistant 

• E: Made from Elastomer/TPE (thermoplastic elastomer rubber), used In large machines, motors

• V: lightweight, flexible, used for vacuum cleaners and retractable cord reels

• W: Weather-Resistant compound jacket, approved for outdoor use

Code Length and Amperage Limits

25-50 feet extension cords

– 16 Gauge (1-13Amps)

– 14 Gauge (14-15 Amps)

– 12 Gauge (16-20 Amps)

– 10 Gauge (16-20 Amps)

100 feet extension cords

– 16 Gauge (1-10 Amps)

– 14 Gauge (11-13 Amps)

– 12 Gauge (14-15 Amps)

– 10 Gauge (16-20 Amps)

150 feet extension cords

– 14 Gauge (1-7 Amps)

– 12 Gauge (8-10 Amps)

– 10 Gauge (11-15 Amps)

Safety Tips For Extension Cords

Extension cords are a temporary solution to your problem. It will deteriorate with regular use and will create risky situations, including electric shock or fire hazards. 

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) has given some guidelines to show the proper and safe usage of electric wires to be safe from electronic threats. The most notable ones are:

  • Use extension cords only temporary, install permanent wiring for long-term usage
  • Choose proper extension cord according to the rating and your device
  • Choose indoor or outdoor cord according to need
  • Use one cord for one appliance or device only
  • Don’t cover it altogether to have a way to escape the heat. Otherwise, fire risk may occur
  • Keep the extension cords safe from an overload of power.
  • Keep the cords safe from water
  • Use three-prong plugs for proper grounding
  • Use cords with polarized plugs
  • Insert the plug fully into the hard-wired outlet
  • Keep the extension cords unplugged when not using
  • Stop using cords that look to be damaged or feel hot on touching


Finally, while air conditioner extension cords are safe if you can choose the perfect cable for the ideal machine, it can also be risky to use regular cords without proper checking. So if you require using an extension cord for your air conditioner, choose wisely and remember, safety is the priority. I hope this answers your question, “Are air conditioner extension cords safe to use?”

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