15amp Outlet on a 20amp circuit for air conditioner

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  #1  
Old 07-18-11, 03:17 PM
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15amp Outlet on a 20amp circuit for air conditioner

Hi, I'm new to this site and need some help. I am a pretty avid do-it-yourselfer but do not have much experience with electrical issues so before I burn the house down I wanted to get some advice.

I bought a new air conditioner that runs off of a 15amp outlet but there was an old unit in the wall that ran off of 20A. There was a single 20A outlet with a double 20A breaker for the old unit and from what I had read on some sites I could put a 15A outlet on this circuit and have no issues. I did however just read that it couldn't be a "single" 15A outlet so maybe that is the issue. Long story short is something isn't right as the air conditioner will not fully kick in. It doesn't trip the breaker or anything but it isn't working properly and it is brand new.

What are my options to get this right. This is a dedicated circuit for just the air conditioner and like I said it is a single outlet but the breaker is a double breaker.

Thanks for the help
 
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Old 07-18-11, 03:39 PM
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Does the new air conditioner require a 120V or 240V circuit? Which receptacle matches the plug on the new air conditioner?

 
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Old 07-18-11, 03:41 PM
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A double breaker would be for a 240 volt unit. Is your unit 120 or 240 volt?

A standard receptacle in your house is called a duplex as there are 2 places to plug into. A single receptacle would be one half of a standard receptacle. If you can only plug one cord into the circuit you would need a 20 amp rated device. If you can plug in two cords a 15 amp slotted device can be used.
 
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Old 07-18-11, 04:50 PM
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the new air conditioner is 15A 120V. So, if that is my problem, can I convert that outlet/circuit to what I need? The air conditioner says you should use a dedicated circuit and that is the only one I have, it just happens to be set up for 20A 240V.
 
  #5  
Old 07-18-11, 04:53 PM
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its the 125v 5-15r plug and that is what I hooked up to the circuit thinking I would be ok from what I read but again I'm not exactly a licensed electrician and I can see now that I should have done further research before tackling this issue. So, if I have that outlet plugged into a 20A circuit its not going to work. Can I convert that entire circuit so I can run this AC unit on it or what are my options? I really appreciate the help. Especially since we are in a middle of a heat wave where I live!
 
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Old 07-18-11, 05:50 PM
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Your a/c needs a 120v circuit. Your old a/c needed a 240v circuit. When you changed the outlets, you wired the 120v outlet into a 240v circuit. You can change the circuit to 120v by removing the two pole 20A breaker you have now and replacing it with a single pole 20A breaker. You would wire the black wire to the new breaker and the white wire to the neutral bus in the breaker panel. Make sure you can a plate to fill in the hole left in your panel from removing the double pole breaker. Do not run your a/c the way it is hooked up because you can damage it.
 
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Old 07-18-11, 06:03 PM
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its the 125v 5-15r plug and that is what I hooked up to the circuit thinking I would be ok
No. Do not attempt to use the receptacle you installed. The circuit must be converted to 120v. As you have it wired it will burn up the air conditioner.

Following assumes you are comfortable working in the panel. If you use a duplex receptacle you can use the existing breaker.

Turn off the main breaker.

Carefully remove the panel cover. Warning: Even with the main breaker off there are live areas around the main breaker.

Turn of the breaker to the AC receptacle.

Remove the white wire from the breaker.

Connect the white wire to the neutral bar. That is the one with a bunch of other white wires.

Replace the panel cover. Turn on the main breaker.

Check that at the receptacle black to brass, white to silver, bare to green screw.

Turn on the breaker.
 
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Old 07-18-11, 06:12 PM
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Great! Thanks everyone for the help. I will get some help replacing the breaker so I can get this thing up and running.
 
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