13500-RV-AC-How-Many-Amps-on-a-13500-BTU -Air-Conditioner

13500 RV AC: How Many Amps on a 13500 BTU Air Conditioner

Keeping your cool is not free. You will have to pay something for you to remain cool when the temperatures rise. Many times that cost comes in amp usage and you need to know how much power you will use before you will know if you can keep your cool or not

How many amps on a 13500 BTU air conditioner? A typical rooftop AC unit on an RV will generally use about 14 to 15 amps. A good efficient unit will use around 11 to 12 amps but those figures are for running time only.

Figure on about double those totals when you start the unit up. There is always more power usage at start-up than during the running time.

To learn more about how many amps your 13,500 BTU AC unit uses just continue to read our article. It explores the topic for you and gives you the best information possible. Take a few minutes to see if your AC unit fits the norm or not.

How Many Amps Does a 13500 BTU RV AC Pull?


If your RV has a dual operation C unit, then you will use more amps for the heating portion than you would for the cooling side of the device. The amounts your AC unit uses on startup and running time will depend on the make and model of the AC unit.

For example, one unit can use about 20 amps for a few seconds during start-up but when it starts to run that usage drops to about 12 to 14 amps and sometimes more. The start-up is where your biggest concern will be as some very efficient models may use only 16 amps to get started and then drop down to 11 amps when running.

However, there are less efficient models and you are looking at using possibly 22 to 28 amps for a few seconds. The less efficient units can put you in a bit of a pickle if your fridge or some other electric device starts at the same time.

If that happens you can trip a break because the units are using too much power. Even for just a few seconds. The way to solve this issue is to upgrade your RV and replace the 30 amp circuit box with a 50 amp one.

13.5 k BTU Air Conditioner Watts (Starting vs Running)


One of the things we have noticed when reading different RV forums is that when one member posts a number, there is always another member or two who disagree and say something different. The reason for this disparity is that these members may be using a different AC unit than the original member.

On average the amount of watts a 13500 BTU AC unit will use is 2750 on start-up and 1250 for running time. This puts some people in a quandary as their generators may only be rated for 2000 watts.

With that said, most RVs do not need a 13,500 BTU AC unit to keep their rig cool. A 30 foot by 10 foot RV is 300 square feet of space and a 7000 watt BTU AC unit is sufficient for that size of RV or trailer.

In fact, you would need an RV or trailer that is over 500 square feet in size to justify using a 13,500 BTU AC unit. An RV measuring 500 square feet only needs about 11,000 to 12,000 BTUs in order to stay nice and cool. These facts are something to consider when you are thinking of replacing your current AC unit.

RVP 8000 Series Air Conditioner Wattage


The basic RVP AC unit manuals are very easy to find on the internet. However, those manuals are not service manuals and do not say how many BTUs their air conditioners have. A quick search provides that information and the unit is a 13,500 BTU AC device.

The amount of wattage may be a bit different between models but on average you are looking at using around 2500 to 2750 watts on start-up and about 1200 to 1300 watts for running time. It is the start-up that is going to get to you if your generator is not large enough to handle the start-up power needed.

Your 2000 watt generator may be enough to handle the running time but you will need at least a 3000-watt generator to handle the start-up. When looking at the specs and they say the unit uses 1200 watts, you will need at least 1500 to power it.

One of the things that people forget about when they go shopping for a new AC unit is that they have other appliances that need electricity. Their power draws often overload the circuit and trip breakers.

You may have a nice unit to keep you and your family cool, but it may draw too much power and you won't be able to use it when you want to cook, take a shower or even run your fridge.

Will a 2000 Watt Generator Run a 13500 BTU Air Conditioner?


For the running time it may be enough to handle the load but not for the startup. The start-up process uses about double the amps and watts that the running time uses. That means that even an 11 amp AC unit will need more starting power than a 2000 watt generator can produce just to start working.

Then you really should assess the idea of using a 13,500 BTU AC unit as most RVs and trailers are not large enough. The extra power will make sure you stay really cool on those hot days but it is a little like over-kill in smaller RVs and trailers.

Even a 40 by 10 foot Class A unit does not need a large AC unit as that is only 400 square feet and the 13,500 BTU unit is rated for larger spaces than that. If you have a smaller generator that puts out 2000 watts or less, you will have to spend more money and upgrade your generator at the same time.

It is something to consider to keep your cool, everything costs money and the upgrade to a higher wattage output generator is going to set you back some.

What Size Generator do I Need for a 13500 BTU Air Conditioner?


To cover the start-up and the running time, you will need at least a 3000-watt generator. There is no getting around this limitation because the 13,500 BTU AC unit requires roughly 2750 watts just to get started. You will trip a breaker if you use anything less and it is possible that you will not be able to use some of your other appliances when running your new larger AC unit.

Even a 10,000 BTU AC unit requires at least 2200 watts to get started which means you still need a larger than 2000 watt generator to power that size of unit. A 2000 watt generator can handle the start-up of a 7,000 BTU AC unit and only needs to have 600 watts of power to run the unit constantly.

If your RV has other appliances you use often, then you have to factor in their power demands as well. It is possible for the fridge to cycle on at the same as you turn on your AC unit and that power surge can give you a few headaches by tripping the breaker at the wrong time.

There is more to consider before you make your purchase of either the 13,500 BTU AC unit or the 2000 watt generator. Make sure to have all the figures you need on hand to make the right purchase.

Total RV square foot size AC unit BTU size
200 square feet 5,500
250 square feet 6,000
300 ” “ 7,000
350 ” “ 8,000
400 ” “ 8,500 to 9,000
450 ” “ 9,500 to 10,000
500 ” “ 11,000 to 12,000

** figures taken from https://campergrid.com/rv-air-conditioner-watts-usage/

Wattage chart for AC units & other appliances

Appliance Start up watts Running time watts
7,000 BTU AC Unit 1700 600
10,000 ” “ 2000 700
13,500 ” ” 2750 1250
15,000 ” “ 3,500 1,500
Dishwasher 1400 700
Microwave 800 625
Fridge 2200 700
Dryer 1800 5750

** figures taken from https://www.ramsond.com/wattage-chart/

Some Final Words

When you are considering upgrading your current AC unit to a more powerful one, there is more to think about than just the AC Unit. All the other power demands must be factored into your calculations.

Then you might not need such a powerful air conditioner if your RV or trailer is on the small size. But that is up to you to decide. The key will be in your circuit box and if it can handle the extra workload without breakers tripping.

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