Informational Guide

How Many AMPs Does a Mini Split Use

Learn how many amps your mini-split AC draws and understand its usage levels better.

by Josh M

Heating and cooling systems allow you to control the environment in your home. Mini split air conditioners are one of the most effective solutions, but even the best mini splits need to be set up correctly to work. This makes it essential that you have the right power going to the device.

Amps or amperage are a unit used to measure electricity. Unlike wattage, amps measure how fast the electric current flows, and you need to have enough amps so that the mini split can function correctly. This will help you operate the mini split more efficiently and save you money on your energy bill.

This guide will explain how many amps a mini split uses and how to calculate it for yourself.

Mini splits come in a range of sizes to accommodate different homes. The number of amps you need will be influenced by the overall BTUs of your mini split and how many zones you want it to cover.

It will be different for every make and model, too, with Daikin mini splits generally needing less than Mitsubishi. We’ve provided some general guidance to the two main options below:

Single Zone Mini Splits

Single zone mini splits cover a single room or area in your home. You’ll need between 10 and 45 amps, but this will depend on the specifications of the unit. If it’s able to cover a higher square footage and has a higher BTU, then it will likely be closer to 45 amps.

Multi-Zone Mini Splits

Multi-zone mini splits are used to help heat or cool multiple rooms in your home. Each individual indoor vent will need 15-45 amps to function correctly, so you’re looking at roughly 200 amps for a 4-zone mini split.

Air Conditioner with Remote in Hand

Ways To Check The Amps A Mini Split AC Draws

There are a few different terms you’ll see a lot around mini splits, and you’ll need to understand them to work out the amps needed.

BTU

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, and it’s a measurement of how much energy it takes to heat 1 pound of water by 1 degree. BTUs are used to indicate the area a mini split can cover. The higher the BTU, the greater the coverage and the more amps needed.

Voltage

Voltage or volts is another measurement of electrical charge, but where amps measure the volume of electrons, volts measure the pressure that allows amps to flow. If you picture a river, the voltage is the angle or steepness of the river, whereas the amperage is the volume of water.

Wattage

Wattage is the combination of voltage and amps. You determine the number of watts by multiplying these two factors together.

Now you know these terms, there are two steps to follow to get the amps:

1. From BTU To Electrical Power (Measured In Watts)

Firstly, you need to determine the electrical power or watts required. For this, you need to use the following equation:

BTUs = Energy Efficiency Rating x Watts

The BTUs of the mini split should be clear when purchasing the unit, and the energy efficiency rating will be included in the specifications.

Typically, you would expect the energy efficiency rating to be between 8 and 12. This means you should have 2 of the 3 variables before you start, and you’ll need to determine the Watts.

From here, you can follow this equation to determine the amps:

Watts= Volts x Amps

Remember, the voltage will generally be 115V for smaller units, or 220V for larger ones.

2. From Watts To Electrical Current (Measured In Amps)

This is the much more straightforward way of determining the amps needed, but you will need to know the wattage.

Amps = BTU / (Energy Efficiency Rating x Watts)

If possible, you should always use this equation because it’s a lot easier to follow.

Electric Power Plug

How To Calculate The Number Of Amps Your Mini Split Needs

Following on from above, we’ve created some worked examples to help you understand how to calculate the number of amps your mini split needs. For these, we have assumed a voltage of 115 and an energy efficiency rating of 12, but this will obviously depend on your individual unit.

1. 5000 BTU mini split

Amps = 5000 BTU / (12 x 115V)

Amps = 3.62

2. 12,000 BTU mini split

Amps = 12000 BTU / (12 x 115V)

Amps = 8.7

The table below gives a breakdown of the amps needed for different sized mini splits.

BTUs Ton(s) Estimated Amp Draw
9000 1 6.5
18000 2 13
24000 2 17.5
36000 3 26

As you can see from the table above, this is where it pays in the long run to get a more energy efficient mini split. A 36000 BTU mini split with an energy efficiency rating of 8 instead of 12 would need 37.5 amps, a much higher draw that would impact your energy bills.

How Do You Determine The Size Of Circuit Breaker For Mini Splits Using Amps?

With all electricals, it’s important to have safeguards in place to prevent your wires from overheating and causing a fire. The two most common choices are fuses or circuit breakers. When there’s a surge of electricity, they literally break the circuit and switch the devices off.

If you have a fuse, you need to replace it, which can be annoying, but if you have a circuit breaker, you just need to flip the fuse box. This is why circuit breakers are generally preferred to fuses.

You need to make sure you have the right size circuit breaker for mini splits. These are measured in amps and indicate the maximum electric current surge that can be accommodated before they need to break the circuit and shut the device down.

There are equations to work this out, but for air conditioners, it’s a bit too complicated. The best thing to do is read the specifications and instructions for your mini split, as this will show the maximum circuit breaker amperage. It may even be written on the unit itself.

Switchgear Control Cabinet Electro

People Also Ask (FAQ)

What kind of wire do I need for a mini split?

Most mini splits need a 14-gauge wire with a dedicated ground between the indoor and outdoor units. These will need to be weatherproofed because they’ll have to travel outside.

Do you need 200 amp service for a mini split?

For a single mini split, you won’t need 200 amps, and you can make do with much less. If you’re installing a multi- zone mini split, then you may need to upgrade to 200 amps.

How many amps is a 5-zone mini split?

Depending on the BTU and energy rating, a 5- zone mini split may need up to 200 amps to operate. Typically you should expect each mini split to need 10-45 amps.

Are mini splits 110 or 220 Volt?

In the US, typically, mini splits up to 18000 are 110V, and over that are 220V. This will impact the amps needed for it to operate.

Conclusion

Mini splits are really useful pieces of equipment that, if set up correctly, will make your home a much nicer place to live in. It’s important you understand the amps needed for the mini split so it can operate correctly and so that you can be as energy efficient as possible.

This will help you save money on your electric bill and make the mini split much more affordable.

Hopefully, this article has given you a helpful overview, and you have a better understanding of how many amps a mini split will use.

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.

Top