How to Wire the Required Voltage to Power AC Condenser Units

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Central air-conditioner systems have an indoor unit called the air handler and an outdoor unit called the air condenser unit. Each of the units must be wired correctly to deliver the correct voltage and amperage to the unit. One of the problems with wiring an air condenser unit is there is no specific wire gauge or breaker size to use.

Things You'll Need

  • Electrical wiring
  • Wire stripper
  • Circuit breaker
  • Screwdriver
  • Read the name plate on the A/C condenser unit, and find the required voltage and amperage. Choose the appropriate wire depending on the amperage indicated on the name plate. Any unit that requires a 30-amp breaker must be wired with a 10/2 wire. A unit that requires 40 amps must be wired with an 8/2 wire. Any unit that requires 60 amps needs 6/2 wiring.

  • Turn off the main circuit breaker at the panel to avoid risk of electrocution while working near the panel box.

  • Run the appropriate-sized wire to the air condenser from the electrical panel box. Try to run the cable via the shortest route possible.

  • Strip half an inch off the ends of the wire with the wire stripper.

  • Insert the wire into the appropriate-sized circuit breaker. Use a breaker the same amperage as indicated on the name plate. Use a double-pole breaker if the unit requires 220 volts of electricity. Insert the black and white wire into the back of the circuit breaker, and secure it with a screwdriver. Connect the green wire to the ground bus, on the panel. The ground bus is the long metal bar with green screws.

  • Connect the other end of the wire to the electrical disconnect box of the A/C condenser unit as indicated by the unit's manual. Turn on the circuit breaker when all the electrical connections have been made.

Tips & Warnings

  • In most locales, only a licensed electrician may wire an air condenser. Check with the local building department before starting any work.

References

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