Will A 5500 Watt Generator Run Central Air?

Central air units have become an increasingly popular household appliance in recent years. They offer a cooling option for homes that is both efficient and effective. However, a power outage can render them useless. This is the point a generator comes into play!

A generator is a great way to ensure that you can still keep your home cool during an outage. They also play a vital role in other situations, such as camping trips or tailgating parties. But how much power do you need to run a central air unit? Will a 5500 watt generator be enough to run central air?

Will a 5500 Watt Generator Run Central Air?

The average Central AC unit uses around 3,500 W of electricity or 12,000 BTUs every hour. While a 5500 running watt generator will run a small central air, that’s the only job it will be able to do, or it’ll be maxed out all the time to keep the AC running. So opt for something with about 6,000 to 6,500 Watts of output to be safe.

will a 5500 watt generator run central air

Here are the 3 Best 5500 Watt Generator for Air Conditioners

To determine if a 5500-watt generator will efficiently run your central air conditioning unit, there are some considerations you should put in place. However, one deciding factor is the required power for your unit’s cooling needs.

In terms of central air conditioning units, the required amount of power the unit needs to function and deliver its cooling services. The power draw is usually determined in watts or kilowatts, with the average central air conditioner requiring around 3500-4500 watts to operate.

This means that a unit will require a generator that can provide at least 3500 watts of power output for it to function.

To find out how many watts your particular unit needs, look at the nameplate on the condenser (the outdoor part of the AC system). It should have two numbers: the voltage it uses (120 or 240) and then either 15 or 20 amps.

Other factors that you must put into consideration include;

Starting wattage; Starting wattage is the power required by your unit to start up. The average central air conditioner will require around 3500-4000 watts of power to start.

Running wattage; Running wattage is the power required by your unit to keep it running once it has started. The average central air conditioner requires around 2000-3500 watts to run.

A generator with more than enough power will also help to ensure that your central air conditioning unit does not put too much strain on the generator itself, which could lead to damage or early wear and tear.

With these figures in place, it is fair to say a 5500-watt generator could run a very small central ac unit without strain. However, the central air unit should be modern and power-efficient. In addition, a 5500-watt generator will efficiently run a small window ac unit.

Is It Safe to Run Central Air on a Generator?

Generators come in handy during power outages. But you may be wondering, is it safe to run my central air conditioner on a generator? The answer is yes! It is completely safe to run your central air conditioner on a generator, as long as it has enough power to handle the load.

For most homes, a generator with about 5500 watts will suffice. However, if you have a larger central air unit or need to power other essential household appliances like a refrigerator in addition to your air conditioner, you may need a generator with more power.

It is important to consult an expert to determine the right size generator for your needs.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Running your Central Air on a Generator

First, check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if your A/C unit is approved for use with a generator. Some units are not designed to work with generators and could be damaged if you try to run them on one.

Next, consider the size of the generator. A typical central air conditioner needs about 3500 watts to start and 2000 watts to run. So a 5500-watt generator should be sufficient to power your A/C unit.

But keep in mind that the starting wattage requirements of other appliances you might want to run on the generator, such as a refrigerator or TV, will need to be factored in.

Also, make sure you have enough fuel for the generator. Depending on the size of the generator and how long you plan to run it, you may need to refuel it several times. It’s always a good idea to have extra fuel on hand just in case.

Finally, it is important to practice safety when using a generator. Follow all the manufacturer’s instructions and keep the generator dry and away from any open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

What Will a 5500 Watt Generator Run?

It is estimated that a regular household consists of about 15 to 20 essential household appliances that use electricity.

If we take the average wattage of those appliances, it will come to about 2000 watts. This does not include high wattage items such as hair dryers, irons, or ovens which could be used less frequently.

A good rule of thumb is that a generator should be able to provide at least 3500 watts for a household.

Below is a list of some common appliances and their wattage requirements:

  • Washing machine: 500-1,500 watts
  • Dishwasher: 1200 watts
  • Dryer: 1600 watts
  • Microwave oven: 1000 watts
  • Ceiling fan – 60 watts
  • Small heating system – 500 watts
  • Portable electric heater – 4,000 watts
  • Window AC (10,000 BTU) – 1,200 watts
  • Fridge with a freezer – 700 watts
  • Sump pump (1/2 HP) – 1000 watts
  • Vacuum cleaner – 200 watts

Nevertheless, before running all these appliances on your 5500-watt generator, ensure to check the starting and running wattage of each. Some items like the central air conditioners have a higher starting and running wattage than other appliances.

Calculating the total wattage of your appliances before running them on your 5500-watt generator will help you prevent overloading the generator. Overloading a generator can damage the appliance or cause an electrical fire.

If you are ever in doubt about whether or not your generator can handle a certain appliance, it is always best to err on the side of caution and not overload it. Consult the owner’s manual for both the appliance and the generator when in doubt.

Determining your Generator Wattage Requirements

Determining the wattage requirements of your generator is essential to purchasing the right one. It will also help you prevent overloading the generator, which can cause damage.

Here are a few steps to determining your wattage requirements:

1. Determine the appliances, tools, and equipment you need to power

The first step is to determine which appliances, tools, and equipment you need to power using your generator. For example, if you want to use it for emergency backup power, you’ll need to list everything that needs electricity in your home or office. This could include lights, a fridge, a TV, a computer, etc.

2. Identify the staring and running wattage of each appliance, or equipment

Finding this data is pretty simple! The starting and running wattage will be listed on a sticker or plate somewhere on the appliance for most appliances. A quick Google search should do the trick if you didn’t find it there. If the running wattage has not been listed on the plate, you can calculate it using this simple formula;

Watts (W or kW) = Volts (V) x Amps (A)

Amps (A) = Watts (W or kW) / Volts (V)

You can also avoid the math by simply using an appliance load tester. A load tester is a device that will test the wattage draw of an appliance. You can check out one of the best load testers from amazon here.

3. Sum up the running watts of your appliances

This one is simple, just add up the watts of all the appliances you need to power to get your total running wattage.

4. Sum up the starting watts of your appliances

Not all equipment must have the starting wattage. Equipment like air conditioners, well pumps, etc., will have a starting wattage that is usually two times the running watts. Add together the starting watts figures of the appliances to get your total starting wattage.

5. Add the running and starting wattage to get the required wattage

This is the last part and also the most important. You need to add your total running wattage with your total starting wattage to get your total! This is the number of watts you will need in a generator to power all your appliances adequately.

Note; You should not run your generator on maximum power for more than a few hours. Doing so will damage the generator. Try to keep your total wattage requirements at 80% or less of the generator’s maximum power output to extend its lifespan.

Best 5500 Watt Generator

A generator is a costly investment! A good quality generator should last for years, provided it is well-maintained. So, you want to make sure you get the best possible option when choosing a generator.

Here are key things to keep in mind when looking for the best generator for your needs:


Generators come in a variety of sizes. The size you need depends on what you will be using it for. If you only need it to power a few small appliances, a smaller generator will suffice. However, if you plan to use it to run central air or other large appliances, you will need a larger generator.

Fuel Type

Generators can run on either gasoline, propane, or both. Gasoline is more common, but propane is a good option to avoid fumes.


You also want to consider how long the generator can run on a full gas tank. If you plan to use it for extended periods, you will need a generator with a longer runtime.

Top 2 Best 5500 Watt Generators

1. DuroMax XP5500HX Dual Fuel Portable-5500 Watt Generator

DuroMax XP5500HX Dual Fuel Portable Generator-5500...
  • With 5,500 watts of power, the XP5500HX Dual Fuel generator will keep you powered at home or on the go, while keeping your family safe from harmful fumes with CO Alert
  • Enjoy the freedom and flexibility of running your generator on either gasoline or propane. Propane is cost effective, clean-burning, fuel efficient, low maintenance, has a long shelf life, and is a readily-available fuel source.
  • Built using a powerful 210cc OHV-V DuroMax engine and features ALL COPPER WINDINGS designed to make your generator last for years.
  • The XP5500HX comes equipped with a sleek digital control center and a wide variety of outlets to suit your needs, including our MX2 Switch which doubles the 120V power for your RV
  • The fully loaded power panel includes two 120V GFCI household outlets, one 120/240V 30AMP twist-lock outlet.
  • All-new control center with a digital multimeter, USB outlets, a front-facing fuel interface, and DuroMax exclusive MX2 switch that harnesses the generator's full power by combining the two 19-amp 120-volt circuits into one powerhouse 38-amp circuit.
  • The digital multimeter displays voltage, frequency, total hours run, and hours until the recommended maintenance.
  • Our innovative CO Alert eliminates the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning by automatically shutting down the generator when harmful fumes are detected
  • 100% Copper Windings - Unlike aluminum, copper is a superior heat conductor that extends the life of your generator
  • DuroMax portable generators are designed to be mobile and versatile, with the ability to provide power whenever and wherever you need it. DuroMax generators will power you whether you’re at home, on an RV trip, or at the jobsite

A DuroMax generator is a great option if you are looking for a durable and long-lasting generator. It features a cast iron sleeve that protects the engine, and it has a runtime of up to 12 hours on a full tank of gas.

The generator can run on both gasoline and propane, so you can choose the fuel type you prefer. It also has a built-in surge protector to protect your appliances from power surges.

The generator has a power panel that includes two 120V GFCI household outlets, one 120/240V 30AMP twist-lock outlet, and one 120/240V 50AMP RV outlet.

The Xp5500HX is also equipped with DuroMax “CO Alert Technology”, which will shut the generator down if carbon monoxide levels become too high.

The DuroMax generator has a digital multimeter that displays voltage, frequency, total hours run, and hours until the recommended maintenance. The USB outlets, the MX2 exclusive switch, and a front-facing fuel interface are all included in the control center.

2. PowerBoss 5500W Portable Generator

PowerBoss 5500W Portable Generator, Powered by...
  • 5500 watt generator with co guard technology
  • great for outdoor and rv use
  • easy to move and transport with included wheels and handle
  • Power source type: Gas Powered

PowerBoss is a gas-powered 5500-watt generator that can provide up to 11 hours of runtime on a full tank. It features two 120-volt outlets, one 240-volt outlet, and an RV-ready outlet.

The generator comes equipped with a co-guard technology to shut down the generator if carbon monoxide levels become too high. The digital multimeter on the control panel displays voltage, frequency, and total hours run. The PowerBoss also has a USB port to charge your devices.

The PowerBoss is an excellent option for those looking for RVs and outdoor generators. It is equipped with “Never Flat” tires that make it easy to move around, and it also has a fold-down handle for compact storage.

3. Briggs & Stratton S5500 5500W Portable Generator

Briggs & Stratton S5500 5500W Portable Generator...
  • Briggs & Stratton PowerBuilt 389cc OHV Engine - Durable, easy starting engine features Overhead Valve (OHV) technology to run cooler and last longer; ideal for portable generators.
  • CO Guard Carbon Monoxide Shutdown - All-new, patent-pending technology shuts down your generator when harmful levels of carbon monoxide accumulate in the generator's operating area, CO guard complies with ANSI/PGMA G300-2018 standard
  • (4) GFCI 120-Volt household outlets; (1) 120-Volt/240-Volt; 30 Amp Locking Outlet - Includes rubber outlet covers to protect against the elements
  • 12.5 Hour Run Time - Provides long 12.5-hour run times (at 50% load) for less refueling on 7 gallon metal tank
  • Never-Go-Flat Wheel & Fold-up Handle - Allows for easy transportation and mobility
  • Power Surge Alternator - Produces a short surge of power needed to start large motor-driven appliances and tools simultaneously
  • Power source type: Gas Powered

The Briggs & Stratton S5500 is a gas-powered generator that can provide up to 11 hours of runtime on a full tank. It features four 120-volt outlets, one 120/240-volt outlet, and an RV-ready outlet.

The generator comes equipped with a co-guard technology to shut down the generator if carbon monoxide levels become too high.

The digital multimeter on the control panel displays voltage, frequency, and total hours run. The Briggs & Stratton also has a USB port to charge your devices.

The Briggs & Stratton is an excellent option for those looking for RVs and outdoor generators.

Never-Go-Flat Wheel & Fold-up Handle features make moving around and compact storage easy.


Will a 5500-watt generator run central air? Most likely not. A central air unit requires a lot of power to start up and keep running.

Even if the generator is powerful enough to start the unit, it probably won’t be able to keep it running for long. However, a 5500 generator will comfortably run a smaller central air or an emergency window ac unit.

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