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Can You Plug an Air Conditioner Into a Surge Protector?

Written by Edwin Jones / Fact checked by Andrew Wright

can you plug an air conditioner into a surge protector

As summer temperatures rise, many people turn to their air conditioners to cool down their homes or offices. However, with the increased use of electrical devices, power surges can occur, damaging electronic equipment, including air conditioners.

This situation makes many wonder “can you plug an air conditioner into a surge protector?” In this case, the answer is yes, sometimes. A surge protector may be ideal for safeguarding electronics from the harmful power fluctuations in electrical systems.

In this article, we will explore why you should not plug all types of air conditioners into surge protectors and the risks and benefits of this setup. This way, you will understand what steps you can take to protect your electronic devices from power changes.

Why Shouldn’t You Plug an Air Conditioner Into a Surge Protector?

To ensure the safety of your air conditioning unit and prevent electrical hazards, here are some reasons you should not plug an AC into a surge protector.

1. Higher Chance of Overload


The AC normally consumes a large amount of current; using a surge protector is more likely to raise this current even further. This situation could happen, especially if you use a power strip for air conditioner and have other devices on the same circuit.

Plus, ACs are one of those appliances that are meant to have their own outlets. When you plug an air conditioner into a power strip, the chance of overloading the circuit or the surge protection device also increases.

2. Compatibility Issue


It is important to remember that not every A/C surge protector has a power rating that can support all AC systems. Most surge protectors are not intended to manage the high power requirements of an air conditioner as it demands a lot of energy to operate.

As a result, if you have no idea what rating you require for your appliance, installing a surge protector on AC unit may be a bad choice.

3. The AC is Already Protected from Power Surges.


A surge protector for portable air conditioner could be a wise choice. However, certain large AC units may not require additional protection as they already have it.

Most larger air conditioning units contain a variable resistor or varistor that works as surge protection. This electrical component serves to moderate sudden changes in the current before they cause harm to the device.

As a result, you will not require an additional surge protector for central air conditioner or any larger machine.


It is always good to check your AC manufacturer’s recommendations to know if you can use a surge protection device or what specific rating you need.

What Happens if I Plug an Air Conditioner Into a Surge Protector?


A surge protector safeguards any connected device from harmful power surges that may occur. Therefore, your AC will be protected if you connect it to a surge protection device.

However, if you improperly size a surge protector, it may overload and fail. This also means that your device will not be protected anymore and becomes a potential hazard.

Frequently Asked Questions


Do You Need a Heavy-Duty Surge Protector for your AC Unit?

You might need a heavy-duty 220V surge protector to safeguard a high-power rating AC. This way, it will meet the power requirement of the AC and protect it from power fluctuations. UL-listed devices are recommended as well.

Can You Plug a Window AC Unit into a Surge Protector?

If you want to use a surge protector for window air conditioner, read the manual of the device for manufacturer recommendations. GE units, for instance, do not permit a connection with a surge protector.

For units that do allow such a setup, check the AC’s rating.


In conclusion, this article should already help you understand and answer, “Can you plug an air conditioner into a surge protector?” This knowledge also gives you an idea about the risks involved in the improper usage of a surge protector.

Using circuit protection devices for your AC unit is just a step to minimize the risk of accidents. But still, the best way to keep your air conditioner in good shape is regular maintenance and proper usage.

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