An AC compressor will not start using only a couple of amps more than running amps. A 13,500 BTU unit pulls more like 40 or 50 amps on startup, but for much less than one second. Small generators have a hard time handling this magnitude of startup current, which is why they will often trip off on startup. The instant current at startup will be the same as the locked rotor amps rating. Locked rotor amps is often specified in the product literature. I suspect you got the 17 amp startup current using your multi meter. Only a high priced specialized multi-meter will have the capability of measuring peak start up current accurately. As others have recommended, a soft start kit will help immensely with the peak startup current. Note that most generator names are misleading and not a continuous rating. For example the Honda EU2200i is only rated for 1800 watts continuous and the EU2000 will only make 1600 watts continuous. Another solution is to get a high efficiency AC unit. I have a Coleman Mach 3 Power Saver AC (13,500 BTU) and it only draws 1100 watts running vs. 1400 watts for the standard Mach 3. The cost is less than the cost of an additional EU2200i. I have no problem running this AC with my Honda EU2000.