Understanding Mini Split Amps Draw and Why It is Important

Josh Mitchell

Written By

Josh Mitchell

Expert Reviewed By

Holly Curell

Last Updated On

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Mini-splits are an effective way to keep your home comfortable, but only if installed correctly. That's only possible if you know the amp rating.

Most homeowners are familiar with the wattage and voltage of their appliances but not the amperage.

In this guide, I'll explain why amperage matters, how many amps your mini split uses, and how the amps link to the heating and cooling output so you can choose the best mini splits for your home.

Key Takeaways

  • An average mini split can draw anywhere between 4-10 amps. 
  • The amp draw depends upon factors like voltage rating, efficiency rating, the model of the AC, and most importantly, the BTU capacity of the AC.
  • Large commercial mini splits can draw as high as 36 amps.

Why Understanding Amp Rating Is So Important

Amps (or Amperes) measure the flow of electric current in a circuit.

It's different from voltage and wattage, and important for 2 key reasons:

1. It Helps In Sizing The Wire And Breaker

Different wires and breakers have varying amp capacities. 

Electrical wires have a maximum amount of current (amps) that they can carry safely, and circuit breakers are rated to specific amperages that, if exceeded, will trip.

Understanding the Amps of your mini split is crucial for your electrical safety as it allows you to wire it safely.

If your wires or breakers have inadequate amp capacity, it can lead to fires, damage, or other electrical hazards.

ACLAB Notes:

If you are unsure, consult an electrician before adding a new AC to a circuit.

2. It Determines Energy Consumption

Amps are an essential part of the equation for determining the power consumption of your mini-split system. 

Understanding the Amperage will help you to determine the run costs and help you optimize energy efficiency.

TL;DR: Amperage helps determine the breaker and the cable size required for the circuit. It is also a crucial element in determining the power consumption of an AC.


How Is Amperage Of Mini Split AC Determined?

Through Reading The Manual/Spec Sheet

The easiest way to get an accurate Amp rating is to check the manufacturer's specifications.

They should list the Amperage, Voltage, and Wattage clearly in the spec sheet, and I recommend checking there first. 

If you no longer have the spec sheet, check the manufacturer's website or contact customer support. 

You may also be able to google the make and model to find it online. 

Through Simple Math

If you don't know the Amp rating, but you have the Wattage and Voltage, you can use the following equation: 

Amperage = Wattage / Voltage

For example, if the mini split Wattage is 600 and the Voltage is 110:

Amperage = 600 / 110
Amperage = 5.45

Voltage is typically easy to find on the wiring, but if you don't have the Wattage, you can use the BTU and SEER to work it out:

Wattage = BTU / SEER

For example, if the mini split BTU is 12,000 and the SEER is 20:

Wattage = 12,000 / 20
Wattage = 600

You can then use this figure with the Voltage to determine the Amperage. 

TL;DR: The easiest way to determine the amperage is through the specsheet. Otherwise you can rely on simple math for calculating amps. You can also use a device called a watt meter.


Amps Used By Mini Split Per BTU Explained

To properly understand your mini split, there are 4 terms you need to know:

  1. 1
    Amperage: this is the flow of electric current in a mini split AC and how quickly the electric charge flows from your power source into your appliance. Think of it like water running through a pipe. 
  2. 2
    Voltage: This is the electrical potential difference. Essentially, it's the size of the force driving the Amps through the electrical circuit. Think of this like pressure pushing the water (Amps) through the pipe. 
  3. 3
    Wattage: this is the energy consumption of your mini split (sometimes described as the power requirement). 
  4. 4
    BTUs (British Thermal Units): this is the heating and cooling your mini split AC can provide. 
The measures above do not directly correlate, but they are linked. 

A higher Amp rating will usually mean there's more power required (Wattage) and more cooling output (BTUs). 

An average residential mini-split will range from 4-20 Amps.

Typically, the higher the BTU of the mini split, the higher the Amp rating, as a larger mini split system requires more current.

Remember, the voltage and mini-split technology also heavily impact the Amperage, so you'll need to refer to the manufacturer's specifications for accurate information. 

The table below shows a rough guide of the relationship between Mini Split BTU, Voltage, Wattage, and Amperage.

BTUs

Wattage

Voltage

Amperage

6,000

500-1500

110V/220V

4-13

9,000

800-2000

110V/220V

7-17

12,000

1000-2,500

110V/220V

8.5-20

15,000

1,500-3,000

220V

6.5-13

18,000

1,800-3,500

220V

7.5-16

24,000

2,400-4,000

220V

10-17.5

36,000

3,000-5,000

220V

16-35

TL;DR: The higher the BTU of an AC, the higher the Amps it draws.


110V Vs 220V Mini Split Current Draw

Mini split AC systems may use different voltages depending on their design, capacity, and how they are used. 

Typically, larger mini splits use higher voltages and have higher BTU ratings - but it's not a strict rule.

Voltage has a direct impact on Amperage and how power is delivered to your mini split. 

If you think of electricity as water flowing through a pipe, Amperage is amount of water flowing and voltage is the pressure pushing the water. 

When the voltage is increased, it's like turning up the pressure in the pipe, and even without adding more Amperage (current) we can still get the job done. 

That's why larger appliances often use more voltage and less Amperage (as shown in the table above). 

The wiring is different for each voltage and needs to be done appropriately. The most common voltages are 110V (for residential) and 220V (for commercial), but it can vary depending on the region.

ACLAB Notes:

Always check the manufacturer's specifications to see the voltage.

The tables below show the Amperage differences for 110V and 220V mini splits:

TL;DR: Voltage rating of a mini split depends upon your location/region, whether the model is residential or commercial, and also on the cooling capacity of the AC.

Current Drawn By 110V Mini Splits

 

14 SEER Rating

17 SEER Rating

20 SEER Rating

22 SEER Rating

6000 BTU

4-8 Amps

3.5-6.5 Amps

2.75-5.5 Amps

2.5 -5 Amps

9000 BTU

6-12 Amps

4.75-9.5 Amps

4-8 Amps

3.75-7.5 Amps

12000 BTU

7.75 - 15 Amps

6.5-13 Amps

5.5-13 Amps

5-10 Amps

18000 BTU

12-24 Amps

10-19 Amps

8.5-16 Amps

7.5-15 Amps

24000 BTU

15.5-32 Amps

13-25 Amps

11-22 Amps

9.5-19 Amps

36000 BTU

23.5-47 Amps

20-38 Amps

17-33 Amps

15-30 Amps

Current Drawn By 220 Volts Mini Splits

 

14 SEER Rating

17 SEER Rating

20 SEER Rating

22 SEER Rating

6000 BTU

2.5-5 Amps

1.75-3.5 Amps

1.35-3 Amps

1.25-2.5 Amps

9000 BTU

3.5-7.5 Amps

2.75-5.75 Amps

2-4 Amps

1.75-3.75 Amps

12000 BTU

3.75-7.75 Amps

3-6 Amps

2.75-4.5 Amps

2.5-5 Amps

18000 BTU

6-11.5 Amps

5-9.5 Amps

4-8 Amps

3.75-7.5 Amps

24000 BTU

7.75-16 Amps

6.5-13 Amps

5.5-11 Amps

5-9 Amps

36000 BTU

11.5-23 Amps

9.5-19 Amps

8-16.5 Amps

7.5-15 Amps

TL;DR: ACs that are rated at 220 volts use lower current as compared to ACs that are rated at 110 volts.

Comparing Single Zone Vs Multi Zone Split Current Draw

Mini-splits come in a range of sizes, and the number of amps you need will vary depending on the overall BTUs of your mini-splits and how many zones you want them to cover.

Single Zone Mini Splits

These cool or heat a single area, and the typical Amperage is 2.5-10.

I recommend them for individual rooms where independent climate control is needed. 

Multi-Zone Mini Splits

These are split across your home with several handlers to control the temperature across large homes and multiple rooms.

Each indoor handler will need 2.5-10 Amps, with a total Amperage of 15-30 Amps (the sum of all units).

Remember, the Amperage varies depending on make and model (Daikin mini splits generally need less than Mitsubishi, etc.). Always check the manufacturer's specifications to get the exact Amp rating. 

TL;DR: Multi-Zone mini splits are part of a larger HVAC system and hence draw more amps as compared to Single-Zone mini splits.


Factors That Affect Amperage Draw

  • Size And Capacity
    Higher capacity units (higher BTU units) typically draw more current because they have larger electrical components (like compressors) that require more Amps. 
  • SEER Rating
    More efficient units typically draw less current for the cooling output. Generally, the higher the SEER rating, the lower the Amp rating.
  • Compressor Having Issues Starting Up
    If your compressor is struggling, it may draw more current to compensate. If the compressor draws too much power, it can trip the breaker, so you need to resolve this quickly. 
  • Faulty Parts Putting Strain On The System
    Accumulated dirt on the coils or fans can increase resistance, causing your mini-split system to draw more current to maintain operation. 

Regular checkups and maintenance can help to stop these issues, optimize performance, and prevent excessive Amperage draws - helping to protect your mini split. 

ACLAB Notes:

If you're concerned, I recommend contacting a technician to inspect your mini-split.

TL;DR: Factors such as voltage rating, size and capacity, and SEER rating can affect amperage draw in normal conditions. Abnormally high amperage draw is often caused by a fault.

FAQs

What Size Wire Do You Need?

The wire size you need will vary depending on the Amperage and Voltage of your Mini Split. The thicker the wire (lower the AWG rating), the more Amperage it can carry safely.

The wire should support the Amp requirements of your Mini Split system. Below is a rough guide, but always check the specifications and any local codes, and consult a professional if you're unsure.

  • 14 AWG - Up to 10 Amps
  • 12 AWG - Up to 15 Amps
  • 10 AWG - Up to 20 Amps 
  • 8 AWG - Up to 30 Amps
  • 6 AWG - Up to 40 Amps
  • 4 AWG - Up to 55 Amps
What Breaker Size Do You Need?

Your breaker should also match the Amperage requirements of your Mini Split but should cover 125%-150% of the Amp rating (for example, if the Mini Split is 10 Amps, your breaker should be 15 Amps).

Typically, a 6,000-10,000 BTU mini split needs a 15 Amp breaker, whereas an 18,000-24,000 BTU mini split should have a 20 or 25 Amp breaker.

Do Mini Splits Use A Lot Of Electricity?

No, mini Splits are more energy-efficient than traditional HVAC systems, with precise temperature control and inverter technology to use less electricity. They typically use 300-1500 Watts.

Is 100 Amps Enough For Mini Split?

Yes, 100 Amps is far more than most residential mini splits require, and a 15-30 Amp circuit would typically be enough.

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Josh Mitchell

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Josh Mitchell
My name is Josh and I am obsessed with home appliances. From portable AC units to heaters and air purifiers, I enjoy testing, learning and using these devices to improve the air quality inside my family home.

My Favorite Home Appliance?

Midea U Shaped Window Air Conditioner

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