Reactive loads can cause some confusion. Typically, a reactive load contains an electric motor. This type of load may require from three to six times as much power (wattage) to start as it does to keep it running. Examples of reactive type loads are air conditioners, refrigerators, well pumps, bench grinders, air compressors, etc.
Motors require additional power and current when initially turned on because the rotor of the motor and the shaft driven load (fan, pump, compressor, saw, etc.) is initially at a standstill. It requires more energy to accelerate these rotating parts to operating speed than it does to keep them rotating. Therefore, during the period of acceleration, the demand on the power supply is greater. It is the ‘starting’ wattage value that we use to calculate the power requirement for reactive loads.
The power required to run an air conditioner is commonly measured in BTU’s (British thermal units). To convert BTU’s to kW; 3413 BTU’s = 1kW.
Please... no emails pointing out that these values don't match those of your own appliances... we know; they are provided as a rough guide only and may differ from the actual power requirement of your household appliances. If you can get nameplate data from your appliances, your calculations will be more accurate.