What Size Generator to Run 13,500 Btu Air Conditioner

Navigating the open road in your RV can be a thrilling adventure, but comfort is key. Amidst the backdrop of nature’s beauty, you’ll want the reassurance of a cool and comfortable RV interior, powered by your reliable 13,500 BTU air conditioner. Luckily, the majority of RVs come standard with this type of air conditioner, making it a common and dependable choice.

Understanding the power needs of your AC unit is important for ensuring a comfortable journey. Specifically, a 13,500 BTU air conditioner requires a starting wattage of 2800 watts and a running wattage of 1800 watts. To fully accommodate these needs, a 3000-watt generator proves to be the ideal choice. This perfect pairing ensures that you’ll always have the power you need to keep your RV air conditioner running smoothly and efficiently, contributing to an enjoyable and stress-free travel experience.

What Size Generator for a 13500 Btu RV Air Conditioner - rvbeast.com

Understanding Your RV Air Conditioner

When talking about an RV air conditioner, it’s important to understand that it operates differently compared to the air conditioning system found in homes. Typically, RV air conditioners are roof-mounted and are more compact than residential units, designed to optimize space in an RV.

The function of an RV air conditioner is simple – it cools the air inside the RV to maintain a comfortable temperature, especially during hot weather. It works by pulling in warm air from the RV interior, cooling it down by passing it over an evaporating coil, and then circulating the cooled air back into the RV.

Types of RV Air Conditioners

There are two main types of RV air conditioners: ducted and non-ducted.

  1. Ducted Air Conditioners: These types of air conditioners use a system of ducts to distribute cooled air throughout the RV. This type provides more uniform cooling and is typically found in larger RVs where there’s a need to cool multiple areas or rooms.
  2. Non-Ducted Air Conditioners: These air conditioners blow air directly from the unit itself, providing immediate cooling to the area around it. These are ideal for smaller RVs or in situations where the focus is on cooling a specific area.

Decoding the BTU and Watts Connection

Before we move forward, let’s clarify what BTUs and watts mean. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit and is a measure of thermal energy. In the context of air conditioners, it indicates the cooling capacity of the unit.

On the other hand, watts measure electrical power. Generators are rated based on the maximum power they can deliver, measured in watts.

In the case of a 13,500 BTU air conditioner, the starting watts (the power needed to start the unit) is around 2800 watts, and the running watts (power to keep the unit operating) is around 1800 watts.

Choosing the Right Generator: Ensuring Seamless Power and Comfort

Selecting the appropriate generator for your 13,500 BTU RV air conditioner can seem challenging, but understanding your power needs simplifies the process. Here’s a more in-depth look at what to consider when choosing your generator:

1. Power Requirement

As mentioned earlier, a 13,500 BTU air conditioner has a starting wattage of about 2800 watts and a running wattage of around 1800 watts. This means that when your air conditioner first kicks on, it requires a brief surge of power (2800 watts) before settling down to its normal running wattage (1800 watts).

Therefore, a generator with a power output of around 3000 watts would be ideal for a 13,500 BTU RV air conditioner. This ensures your generator can comfortably handle the starting wattage and continue to power your air conditioner, along with other small appliances you might use in your RV.

2. Generator Type

Generators come in different types, including inverter generators, portable generators, and standby generators. For an RV, a portable inverter generator is the most suitable choice. These generators are not only compact and easy to move around but also provide clean, stable power that won’t damage sensitive electronics.

3. Fuel Type

Consider the generator’s fuel type. The most common options are gasoline, propane, and diesel. Each has its pros and cons, but for most RV users, a dual-fuel generator (gasoline and propane) offers the most flexibility.

4. Noise Level

Your generator shouldn’t interfere with the peace and tranquility of your RV experience. Inverter generators are generally quieter than traditional generators, making them an excellent choice for RV use.

5. Brand and Warranty

Choose a reputable brand with a solid warranty. This not only ensures a quality product but also gives you peace of mind knowing that the company stands behind its products.

Remember, choosing the right generator is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable RV experience. It enables you to maintain a comfortable temperature in your RV and power other appliances, ensuring your journey is as enjoyable as possible.

Learn More: What Size Generator To Run Air Conditioner?
Learn More: How To Run RV AC Without Generator?


Frequently-Asked Related Questions (FAQs)

1. Can a 2000-watt generator run a 13,500 BTU air conditioner?

While a 2000-watt generator might be able to handle the running wattage of a 13,500 BTU air conditioner, it might struggle with the initial starting wattage. For optimal performance, a 3000-watt generator is recommended.

2. Can I run other appliances alongside my air conditioner with a 3000-watt generator?

Yes, a 3000-watt generator should handle the running of a 13,500 BTU air conditioner and some small appliances. However, you should always be aware of the total power consumption of all devices being powered by the generator to prevent overloading.

3. What size generator do I need for a 13500 BTU RV air conditioner?

The most suitable generator size needed for a 13500 BTU RV air conditioner is one with nearly 3000 watts of starting wattage capacity. During operation, the air conditioner will consume less power, but a higher starting wattage is needed to get the unit running.

4. How many amps does a 13500 BTU RV AC use?

The amps used by a 13500 BTU RV AC can vary depending on the model and efficiency of the unit. Some units may use around 20 amps for a few seconds during startup, then drop to around 12 to 14 amps when running. More efficient models may start with only 16 amps and then drop to 11 amps when running. However, less efficient models might require 22 to 28 amps for a few seconds at startup

5. How long can you run an RV AC with a generator?

You can run your RV AC with a generator 24 hours a day, depending on the capacity of the generator’s fuel tank. For instance, if your generator has a 2-gallon gas tank, it will keep the AC running for about 8 hours. Similarly, a generator with a 6-gallon tank can keep the AC running all day and night​

6. How many watts does a 13,500 BTU air conditioner use?

A 13,500 BTU air conditioner, on average, uses approximately 2800 watts during start-up and around 1800 watts for running time. Please note that these numbers can vary depending on the specific model of the air conditioner and its efficiency.


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