I just bought a De'Longhi portable air conditioner, 14,000 BTU. I live in a high- rise apartment in Maryland, USA. We are not supposed to install window AC units here. I'm not sure what the reason is, if they just don't want you to use too much electricity (incl. in rent), or because they don't like the look of typical window AC units hanging out, or some other reason I don't understand. The building is old (1966), poorly maintained, and the AC here is completely inadequate. At times my apt. on the top floor is 80-90 degrees F., and because of health issues I cannot tolerate the heat and high humidity here. (Our AC comes from the radiator and provides NO dehumidification. A lot of people here get mold on their units, mine was black!)

The portable 14K BTU AC I got requires a "single circuit outlet". How can I tell if I have the right kind of outlet by a window in my apt.? The De'Longhi AC is inside, but it has an exhaust tube that needs to vent out a window. Is it OK to use an outlet that has something else plugged into it, as long as I don't use both the AC and the other thing(s) at the same time? Should I unplug one thing while the other is being used? Could something bad happen if I don't do this right? I'm afraid to ask the buildings maintenance guys, because I don't know if I'm allowed to have this AC in my apt., and they could report me to the management. If you know about these kinds of things, please help. Thanks.

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    There should be a bunch of numbers on a nameplate on the air conditioner, you will have a few of these: Watts, W, VA, Amps, A, Volts and V. See if it lists any of them and share them here. Jun 19, 2017 at 1:07
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    It sounds like something is seriously out of sorts with the air handlers in your building -- you should have the management address the root cause as it seems to be a building-wide issue. Jun 19, 2017 at 1:31
  • A lot of high rise buildings do not allow window units, especially in the upper floors because of the danger to the people and equipment below. Units have fallen out of windows during installation, and improper maintenance. This happened around here, no one was hurt but the renter was responsible for the damage to equipment below. Had it hit a person below it would have been charges filed. Also, as you indicated, building owners do not like the look.
    – d.george
    Jun 19, 2017 at 9:54

1 Answer 1


A single circuit outlet is one that is wired to the panel and does not engage or connect to any other outlets or appliances using electricity. The purpose is to eliminate/reduce additional current draw preventing breakers from popping from overload, or fires from starting caused by faulty breakers.

You can determine if you have a genuine single circuit outlet by plugging lamps into all of your outlets. Flip each breaker off in turn. If only one lamp goes out, you might have found your objective.

You can "work around" the single circuit restriction if you identify with certainty the outlets shared with the one you've chosen to use with the unit. Turning nothing else on while the A/C is in use will prevent the overload, possible breaker trip or circuit failure/fire.

If, for example, you discovered that your television is connected to the same circuit you've chosen for the A/C, it may draw enough total power (A/C and TV) to pop the breaker. It's a sure thing that you would not use a 1500 watt hair dryer while operating your A/C on the same circuit. Some televisions draw very little power, so that appliance may have been a poor choice.

Because the second option involves human engineering, it is more prone to human error. An example from my world is the kitchen circuit. One microwave oven running in convection mode and one toaster oven running in baking mode is more than the non-single-circuit breaker can handle. We know not to do this, yet it happens often.

Regarding the use in your building, it's less certain, but the A/C unit is merely blowing hot humid air out the window and would not be visible as a protruding box, as would a window unit. It seems likely you would be able to use it without complications in that respect.

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