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What Size Breaker for 4 and 5 Ton Ac? (Explained)

Air conditioners, also known as AC, come in different shapes and sizes. The variance in shapes and sizes allows it to serve rooms of varying areas. Since air conditioners have various sizes, not all can use the same type of wires and run on the same capacity circuit breaker.

Breaker size for 4 and 5 ton ac

For a 4-ton air conditioner, you should use a 30A breaker, and for a 5-ton air conditioner, you should use a 35A circuit breaker. Generally, 4-ton air conditioners use about 22A, so a 30A breaker will be safe. A 5-ton air conditioner uses approximately 28A; therefore, you should use a 35A breaker.

People can categorize 4-ton and 5-ton air conditioners as industrial or commercial air conditioners because of their size and ability. You will frequently see 4-ton and 5-ton air conditioners in modern shopping malls, large centers, and commercial buildings. 

These are not suitable for homes as they are large and can pull significant power.

 The efficiency of an air conditioner determines the amount of power it requires. Air conditioners that are not highly effective will require loads of wattage to cool a room. However, a better air conditioner will work more effectively while using less wattage.

4 ton: 

On average, 4-ton air conditioners use approximately 4800W. However, less efficient air conditioners may pull about 5600W or more, depending on the usage and efficiency. You can expect a 4-ton air conditioner to use around 28A.

Since 4-ton air conditioners draw 28A of current, the most suitable circuit breaker capacity will be 30A. But you should select a circuit breaker after considering its efficiency. 

If the air conditioner is very efficient, you can use a 25A circuit breaker, but if it is not so efficient, you can use a 30A or 35A rated circuit breaker.

5 ton: 

Similarly, 5-ton air conditioners use about 6000W. As mentioned earlier, efficiency plays a crucial part in wattage usage, so 5-ton air conditioners that are highly effective can use as little power as 5200W. 

But less effective air conditioners will use 6800W or more, depending on efficiency and usage.

As 5-ton air conditioners require roughly 35A or less, the most fitting capacity for a circuit breaker will be 40A or 45A. Here, efficiency will determine the rating you should install. 

If the air conditioner is highly effective, a 40A circuit breaker will do the job just fine, but if you see the circuit breaker trip frequently, switch to a 45A circuit breaker.

Choosing the correct circuit breaker is necessary as it can help avoid many electrical dangers. For example, if the circuit breaker is too large for the air conditioner, the current will overflow in case of malfunction, and the wires will melt, resulting in electrical fires. 

Again, if the circuit breaker is too small, it will trip frequently and may hurt longevity.

Does 4 and 5 ton ac need same size breaker?

No, 4-ton and 5-ton air conditioners do not need the same size breaker. Both air conditioners have different power intakes and pull varying levels of current. Therefore, experts do not advise using the same capacity circuit breaker for 4-ton and 5-ton air conditioners.

The main job of a circuit breaker is to restrict any current surge in case of a malfunction. If too many amperes overflow in a circuit, the wires will heat up significantly and melt the insulation. As a result, you may experience mortal danger, such as electrical fires.

A 4-ton and 5-ton air conditioner requires a 30A and 40A circuit breaker, respectively. The 10A difference is significant, so the same circuit breakers cannot be used for the two air conditioners. 

It is noteworthy that the circuit breaker ratings may vary depending on the air conditioner you have.

However, there is an instance where you can use the same circuit breaker of the same rating for both 4-ton and 5-ton air conditioners. If the 4-ton air conditioner has low efficiency and the 5-ton air conditioner has high efficiency, you can use a 35A or 40A circuit breaker. 

No matter the circumstances, you should stick to using different circuit breakers for different size air conditioners.

How many amps does a 4 and 5 ton air conditioner use?

In general, 4-ton air conditioners use about 22A, and a 5-ton air conditioner uses approximately 28A current. Though these are the average amps for both the size of air conditioners. Because, this can change according to their brands. 

Both the air conditioners need different amps as the size of them are different from each other. 5-ton air conditioners are heavier and powerful than a 4-ton air conditioner. Thus they need higher amps to run smoothly. 

You should ensure the correct size breaker according to the amps of your air conditioner.

4 things that affect breaker size for ac

Several factors determine the circuit breaker size. If you know them, you will be able to calculate the circuit breaker size yourself. The points below describe these factors.

Maximum wattage:

The maximum wattage is the amount of power the air conditioner uses while. If you know the maximum wattage, you can figure out your monthly electricity bill for the AC and also which circuit breaker will be best suitable. 

The maximum wattage may vary depending on the circuit voltage and usage of the air conditioner.

Minimum circuit ampacity:

The minimum circuit ampacity is the lower boundary of the breaker range. For example, if the minimum circuit ampacity is 25A, you must not install a circuit breaker that does not allow 25A to flow through. 

Therefore, you will have to choose a 30A breaker. The 30A breaker will prevent any overflow of current in case of machine malfunction.

Maximum fuse value:

The maximum fuse value acts as the upper boundary of the circuit breaker range. For instance, if the maximum fuse value is 50A, you should not use a circuit breaker with a greater capacity than 50A. 

Instead, you should use a circuit breaker that has a 40A or 45A rating.

NEC requirements:

The 80% NEC rule requires you to use a circuit breaker that will allow an additional 80% of current to pass. For example, if your air conditioner pulls 35A, you should install a breaker with a rating of more than 44A. 

In this scenario, the closest circuit breaker rating will be 45A.

These are all the points that you need to remember before choosing a circuit breaker. Considering all the factors, you can select the best-fit circuit breaker for your air conditioner.

How to calculate breaker size for 4 and 5 ton ac?

One of the most important things to prevent electrical hazards is choosing the right size circuit breaker. If the circuit breaker chosen is inappropriate for the machine, you will experience hazardous consequences such as electrical fires. 

If you want to effectively select the best-fit circuit breaker, follow the steps below:

Obtain the maximum wattage of the air conditioner:

To find the maximum wattage, you can try setting the max power on the air conditioner and recording the wattage of the circuit. The wattage you will obtain will be what the air conditioner draws while performing at its maximum potential.

In some cases, the power drawn remains usual despite the air conditioner working at its peak. Such cases happen if the air conditioner is highly efficient.

Find the voltage value:

Finding the circuit voltage is simple. In most cases, you can find the voltage rating on the outlet. Usually, the circuit voltage is in the range of 220V to 240V.

But if you do not know the circuit voltage, you can find it using a voltmeter. Turn on the voltmeter and insert the measuring prongs into a power outlet. The voltage reading on the voltmeter will give you the amount of voltage flowing through that circuit.

However, be careful, and wear safety gloves to insulate yourself from high electric voltage. The measuring prongs may become live and shock you.

Compute the current flowing through the circuit:

We can compute the amount of current flowing through the circuit. All you have to do is divide the maximum wattage obtained with the circuit voltage value. The result will give the amount of current required by the air conditioner.

As an illustration, the maximum wattage is 4800W, and the value of voltage you obtained is 240V. To calculate the current in the circuitry, divide the 4800W by 240V. You will find out that the air conditioner requires approximately 20A to function.

Choosing the most suitable circuit breaker:

The last step includes choosing the most suitable circuit breaker size. For the following math, we will consider the amount of current the air conditioner requires is approximately 20A.

To avoid the amount of current overpowering the circuit, we will have to stick to the NEC 80% rule. So, we will have to multiply 20A with 1.25. The product obtained is 25A. Therefore, you can use a 25A or 30A circuit breaker.

Final Thoughts

4-ton and 5-ton air conditioners are highly capable and require heaps of power. So, they need large-capacity circuit breakers to handle the current and prevent overflowing current. Although their required breaker ratings are close, please use different rated circuit breakers to ensure your safety.