Will A 2200 Watt Generator Run An Rv Air Conditioner

If you’re planning a road trip in your RV and wondering if a 2200 watt generator can handle running the air conditioner, you’re in the right place. We all know how crucial it is to stay cool and comfortable while exploring the great outdoors, and having a reliable power source is a must. In this article, we’ll explore whether a 2200 watt generator is sufficient to power your RV’s air conditioner, providing you with the information you need to make an informed decision for your next adventure.

Factors to Consider

Power Requirements of the RV Air Conditioner

When considering whether a 2200 watt generator can run an RV air conditioner, it is crucial to understand the power requirements of the AC unit. The power requirements are typically specified in terms of starting watts and running watts.

Starting vs Running Watts

Starting watts refer to the power needed to start the air conditioner compressor, while running watts indicate the power required to keep the AC unit running once it has started. Starting watts are generally higher than running watts and last for a short duration during the compressor startup.

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Efficiency of the Generator

The efficiency of the generator is an essential factor to consider when determining if a 2200 watt generator can run an RV air conditioner. Higher efficiency generators convert a larger portion of the fuel they consume into electricity, allowing for more power output.

Other Appliances Running on the Generator

It is vital to take into account any other appliances that will be simultaneously running on the generator. Other appliances draw power, and their combined power consumption must be within the generator’s capacity to ensure everything operates smoothly.

Understanding Power Requirements

AC Unit Size and BTU

The size of the RV air conditioner and its BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating play a significant role in determining its power requirements. Larger AC units with higher BTU ratings generally consume more power, requiring a generator with ample wattage to handle the load.

Low or High Profile AC Units

Some RV air conditioners are designed as low profile units, while others are high profile units. Low profile units may have lower power requirements compared to their high profile counterparts, making them more compatible with a 2200 watt generator.

Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)

The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is a measure of an air conditioner’s efficiency in converting electrical input into cooling output. A higher EER rating indicates that the AC unit can deliver more cooling per watt consumed, which can be beneficial when trying to run it on a 2200 watt generator.

Power Consumption in Watts

Understanding the power consumption of the RV air conditioner in watts is crucial in determining if a 2200 watt generator can handle it. The power consumption can often be found in the product specifications or manual provided by the manufacturer.

Starting vs Running Watts

Difference between Starting and Running Watts

Starting watts are required during the initial startup of the RV air conditioner, while running watts are needed to keep the unit running smoothly once it has started. Starting watts are typically higher to handle the motor’s initial surge, while running watts are relatively lower as the motor operates more efficiently.

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Surge Power and Inrush Current

Surge power and inrush current are terms used to describe the initial spike in power needed to start the air conditioner compressor. These spikes can be significantly higher than the generator’s rated capacity and may require additional considerations when determining if a 2200 watt generator can run the AC unit.

Managing Power Surge

To manage power surges during the startup of an RV air conditioner, it is recommended to use a generator with a higher wattage capacity or consider using a soft starter or a delay timer. These devices can help reduce the initial power spike and make it more manageable for a 2200 watt generator.

Generator Capacity and Efficiency

How Generator Capacity is Measured

Generator capacity is commonly measured in terms of maximum wattage output, such as a 2200 watt generator. This indicates the maximum power the generator can supply and is an essential factor when determining if it can run an RV air conditioner.

Efficiency of 2200 Watt Generators

The efficiency of a 2200 watt generator refers to how effectively it converts fuel into electrical power. Higher efficiency generators produce more power with less fuel consumption, making them more suitable for running power-hungry appliances like RV air conditioners.

Noise Level Considerations

While not directly related to the generator’s capacity, it is worth considering the noise level of the generator when running an RV air conditioner. Ensure that the noise produced by the generator is within an acceptable range, especially in camping or residential areas where peace and quiet are desired.

Power Consumption Calculation

Calculating Power Consumption of RV Air Conditioner

To calculate the power consumption of an RV air conditioner, multiply the running watts by the number of hours it operates. For example, if an AC unit consumes 1500 running watts and operates for 6 hours, the total power consumption would be 9,000 watt-hours or 9 kilowatt-hours (kWh). This calculation helps determine if a 2200 watt generator can handle the load.

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Additional Power Consumption by Other Appliances

Be sure to consider the power consumption of any other appliances running simultaneously with the RV air conditioner. Include them in the power consumption calculation to ensure the total power requirement does not exceed the generator’s capacity.

Testing a 2200 Watt Generator

Matching Generator Capacity with Air Conditioner

Before running an RV air conditioner on a 2200 watt generator, it is advisable to perform a test to determine compatibility. Connect the air conditioner to the generator, ensuring that no other appliances are running, and observe how the generator handles the load. Monitor the generator’s performance and assess if it can adequately power the AC unit.

Alternative Power Sources

If a 2200 watt generator is unable to run an RV air conditioner, considering alternative power sources can be helpful. Portable solar panels, battery systems, or hooking up to a more powerful generator may provide the necessary power to operate the AC unit efficiently.

Additional Considerations

Consider factors such as geographical location, temperature, and elevation when testing a 2200 watt generator’s capacity to run an RV air conditioner. Higher temperatures or elevations may decrease the generator’s power output, necessitating a more powerful unit.

Additional Tips and Recommendations

Considerations for Hot Climate Regions

In hot climate regions, RV air conditioners often need to work harder to provide optimal cooling. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the 2200 watt generator can handle the increased power demand during hot weather conditions.

Maintenance and Proper Usage

Regular maintenance of both the RV air conditioner and the generator is essential to keep them running smoothly. Clean or replace air filters, inspect fuel systems, and follow proper usage guidelines to maximize performance and longevity.

Upgrading the Generator

If consistently running an RV air conditioner on a 2200 watt generator proves to be challenging, upgrading to a generator with a higher wattage capacity might be necessary. Assess your power needs and consider investing in a generator that can handle the load comfortably.


While a 2200 watt generator may be sufficient for running certain RV air conditioners, it is crucial to consider various factors such as the power requirements of the AC unit, starting vs running watts, generator capacity and efficiency, and other appliances running simultaneously. By understanding these factors and performing tests, you can determine if a 2200 watt generator can run your specific RV air conditioner or if alternative power sources or upgrading the generator is necessary.

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Albert Stein

Starting this site about today's portable power options was an easy choice as it's one of my passions. Tech changes constantly so you need to make an informed decision before purchasing the wrong products. -Thank you.-

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