Window air conditioner surge protector

Everyone in the USA is getting the air conditioners ready to fight the upcoming blazing summers. Fluctuations in the current and voltage level are one of the major threats to all the electrical appliances at your home including the window air conditioner unit.

The voltage can suddenly surge up and down at any moment and eventually damage the window air conditioner unit. Is using a surge protector for the air conditioner the best solution to protect it from fluctuations in the voltages? Or is it even safe to use a surge protector for the air conditioner? What are the most crucial things you must keep in mind while using a surge protector for the AC? We will discuss it all in this article.

When you spend your hard-earned money on buying an air conditioner, you want it to last longer and keep providing you maximum cooling for a long time. If you also want to keep your air conditioner safe and have a longer life then this article is for you.

What is a power surge?

First of all, the most important thing for you here is to understand what exactly a power surge is. Only then you can understand the impact of the power surge of your air conditioner and how using a surge protector can save your air conditioner from a power surge.

A power surge is known as a condition where the electricity flow gets interrupted due to some reason and then starts again or the appliance consuming the electricity starts sending it back to the system again. A power surge leads to fluctuations in the voltage levels which can damage the electrical appliances permanently.

Causes of Power Surge

Multiple factors can lead to a power surge and some of them are given below:

  • Technical Errors

Several different types of technical errors in the electrical grid station can stimulate a power surge. Even some sort of malfunction in the transformer can also trigger a power surge.

  •  Accidents

Another common cause of power surge is accidents. For example, accidents like a tree falling over the live transmission lines, a vehicle crashing with the transmission tower, or a strong windstorm making the transmission tower or transmission lines collapse and collide with each other. All such incidents can cause a power surge.

  •  Lightning

The most common and natural cause of power surge is lightning. It can strike anywhere at any time and trigger a power surge.

  •  Faulty Appliances & Wiring

If you are using a faulty electrical appliance in your home or there are some serious flaws in your electrical wiring then it can also cause a power surge. 

How power surge impacts your AC?

The next thing that comes into mind is that how does this power surge impacts your air conditioner?

Well, all the modern electrical appliances like your window air conditioner have a lot of sensitive stuff inside them such as microprocessors, transistors, sensors, compressors, and wiring, etc. All of these things have a limited capacity of voltage that they can process through them. During a power surge, when a high voltage (exceeding their limit) will pass through them, it will completely damage them.

Impact of Large Power Surge on Window Air Conditioner

Whenever a large power surge occurs such as due to lightning or transformer blast then a very high voltage will travel all across the transmission lines to your window air conditioner. The high voltage will destroy all the wiring and other stuff inside the window air conditioner such as transistors and sensors, etc. A large power surge usually fries everything inside the window air conditioner.

Impact of Short Power Surge on Window Air Conditioners

Short power surges are more dangerous for your window air conditioner than large power surges. It’s because large power surges such as due to lightning occur very rarely whereas short power surges occur every day.

Short power surges are the biggest threat to your window AC. A short power surge will not burn or damage your window AC unit at once. Instead, it will keep degrading the internal parts gradually like a slow poison. It will keep weakening and damaging the internal parts of your window AC unit without you having you even noticing. Eventually, the lifespan of your window AC will decrease and it will no longer work properly.

You just read about how power surges can damage your air conditioner and waste all the precious money you have spent on it. Now let’s take a look at what a surge protector is & how it can protect your window air conditioner from power surges.

What is a surge protector?

A surge protector is a device that will protect your window air conditioner from power surges. Whenever there’s a fluctuation in voltage, a surge protector will ensure that your window AC gets the safe amount of voltage only. It will prevent the extra voltage from going into your window AC unit & damage it. This way your window AC unit will be safe and protected from power surges.

How surge protector will save your window AC?

Here’s a basic understanding of how a surge protector will save your window AC unit:

The HVAC Surge Protector

This surge protector is specially designed & developed for air conditioners. It can be installed at the condenser of the window AC unit. During a power surge, the HVAC surge protector will block the extra voltage from entering the window AC unit & direct it into the ground.

The Full-Home Surge Protector

This type of surge protector is designed & developed for all the electrical appliances of your home. It is installed into your main electrical wiring and whenever a power surge occurs, it will block/prevent the extra current from damaging your electrical appliances and direct it into the ground.

How to install a surge protector on AC unit

Before I go into details on how to install a surge protector, it is highly imperative that you switch off the AC unit before you start the process.

The installation of a surge protector on air conditioner only take an hour and the process involved 5 steps.

Total Time: 1 hour

  1. Confirm the surge protector system voltage

    Measure the L-N, L-G, L-L, and N-G if the alternating current system. Ensure that the surge protector is in tandem in terms of voltage with the system about to be connected to. The measured voltage must not be higher than the mcov (maximum continuous operating voltage) of the surge protector.

  2. Find an appropriate location for the surge protector

    The power surge must be located at very close proximity to the panel of the AC unit and also almost as close as possible to the electrical connection.

  3. Green wires should be connected to the ground bus bar

    It is common to connect the green wire to AC neutral in an AC circuit, and the white sleeving Ensure must be installed on the green wire while doing this. The green wire gets to the earth’s ground taking the shortest direction.

  4. Join phase conductors

    The phase has black and red wires. Join a wire to AC HOT IN (line) and other wire to the AC HOT (load). Join the black wire to PV+ and red wire to PV-

  5. Add voltage to the surge protector

    The led’s in the surge protector should indicate blue as a sign of successful installation of voltage and surge protector.

How to tell the difference between a surge protector and a power strip

The major difference between a power strip and a surge protector is that Powerstrip provides multiple socket outlets with no protection, while surge protectors offer protection against spikes and surge. Other distinguishing factors include;

1. Warranty: Surge protectors offer a warranty that helps users protect the investment.

2. Master port: Surge protector has a master port that helps regulate the flow of current to other ports. Once the master port is turned on, other ports are automatically turned on, and when the master port is switched off, other ports switch off too.

Things to keep in mind while using surge protector

Here are a few very important factors you must keep in mind while getting a surge protector for your window AC unit:

Choose the Right Joule Rating

The joule rating of a surge protector refers to how much voltage it can take in. If the joule rating is higher, then it means it can take in a lot higher voltage, and hence offers more protection.

If you want the surge protector to protect your window AC unit properly then you must get a surge protector with the right joule rating.

A surge protector with a joule rating ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 will be the perfect choice for a window AC unit.

Check the Safety Rating

Before you get a surge protector, make sure it’s a trusted one and does the job it is supposed to do. You can check its safety ratings and reviews on different forums to verify its safety.

Check the Clamping Voltage

Clamping voltage means how much voltage can pass through the surge protector.

If the clamping voltage is high then more voltage can pass through the protector during a power surge which will eventually break down the AC.

Instead, we recommend you get a surge protector with optimal clamping voltage according to the size & type of your window air conditioner to ensure that it stays safe.

Diagnostic System

If the surge protector will have a LED diagnostic system on it, then it will be easier for you to identify what’s going on.


You are buying a surge protector to protect your window AC unit, right?

But what if it fails to perform the job it is supposed to do? What if your window AC unit still gets damaged despite using a surge protector?

That is why it is important to get a surge protector with a bigger warranty so that you can make a claim and recover your loss in case of any mishap.

Air conditioner surge protector FAQs

  1. Are AC surge protectors waterproof?

    Yes, most AC surge protectors like Eaton chspt2ultra ultimate, Leviton 51120-1, Intermatic AG3000 surge protectors are designed to keep out dirt and water.

  2. Can a power surge damage your air conditioner?

    Yes, a power surge can have a damaging effect on your air conditioner. This damage may be so severe that you will have to replace your AC unit. A power surge could cause damage if you short circuit your compressor or the component supplying energy to the refrigerant.

  3. Are surge protectors necessary for AC units?

    Yes, a surge protector is important for your AC unit as they help protect your air conditioner from sudden surge or spike. If you don’t use a power surge for your AC unit, you risk exposing your AC components like the compressor, thermostat, fans, and some other electrical parts to power surge damage. A power surge is more like you are insuring your AC unit.

  4. How does the power surge protect my AC unit?

    Whenever a spike (a spike is a short sudden increase in electricity voltage) happens, the surge protector will respond by diverting the extra voltage to the system’s grounding wire, thereby keeping the AC running and protected simultaneously.

  5. Should I get a surge protector for my air conditioner?

    Yes, it is advisable to get a surge protector for your air conditioner to protect your unit from power spikes or surges.

  6. Why does the air conditioner keep tripping the surge protector?

    This is happening as a result of certain electrical problems. The problem may arise as a result of a faulty capacitor, detached connection, or faulty wiring.

  7. How much does an AC surge protector cost?

    An AC unit surge protector cost less than 150$. But a full home surge protector cost between 300$ to 800$. That does not include the cost of installation if you are employing the use of a professional.

  8. Is our AC unit surge protector worth it?

    Yes, an AC surge protector is worth every penny spent on acquiring and installing one.

    In the past, HVAC technicians always recommend surge protectors for commercial air conditioners because they are considered to be more expensive and deserve to be protected. In modern times, most homeowner’s AC units we see today are also equally expensive, and your warranty does not protect against damage caused by lightning or power surge.

    So It is highly recommendable to install a surge protector to protect your expensive investment in an AC unit.

Can you plug an air conditioner into a surge protector?

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