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Can I Plug In A RV To A Home Electrical System?

by Ronnette Adams
(Los Angeles, CA)

How to Plug Your RV Into a Home Electrical System

How to Plug Your RV Into a Home Electrical System

How to Plug Your RV Into a Home Electrical System
How to Plug Your RV Into a Home Electrical System
50 AMP RV Plug
30 AMP RV Plug

My sister has an RV pad at the side of her home behind a gated fence. I've been laid off from my job for the second time this year. In order to help me out she said I can put a travel trailer on the pad to stay as long as I need to. Would I be able to plug into electricity at the house? Does a trailer and a regular home use the same voltage/amps (whatever?). I already figured out how to handle gray water, but I need to know about the electricity. Thank you.

ANSWER Greetings Ronnette, I am so sorry that you are going through these circumstances right now and I hope that you get back on your feet quickly.

Now to answer your question, Yes you can hook up the Travel Trailer to electric in the house but, you are going to be severely limited on what appliances can be run and you will not be as comfortable as you could be if the Travel Trailer was hooked up to a proper source of electricity.

I would strongly suggest that you contact an Electrician and get an estimate on installing a 30 or 50 Amp receptacle close to the RV pad. This may be a better option.

That being said, here are the steps to follow to setup the trailer to work on a 3 prong household plug.

Determine if the Travel Trailer is set up for 50 Amps or 30 Amps

If you have the owner’s manual for the travel trailer it will tell you if you require 30 amp or 50 amp service. Either way you can run some of the appliances (with limitations) off of a 15 or 20 amp household 3 prong receptacle. If you do not have the manual, the easiest way to determine the setup is taking a look at the male plug in the electrical compartment of the trailer.

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The pictures I have included show what a 50 Amp and 30 Amp plug looks like.

Now that we know what setup you have look below to find out what adapters you will need.

30 Amp Setup The setup is pretty straight forward; all you need is a 30 Amp Female to 15 Amp Male Adapter. Either one of the adapters listed below will work.


Camco 55165 RV 12" PowerGrip Dogbone Electrical Adapter with Handle

Camco 55223 15M/30F AMP PowerGrip Adapter

50 Amp Setup You will need one of the 30 amp to 15 amp adapters listed above and you will also need a 50 Amp Female to 30 Amp Male adapter. Either one of the 2 adapters listed below will work for you.

Camco 55185 RV 18" PowerGrip Dogbone Electrical Adapter with Handle

Dogbone Adapter with Handle, 30 Amp Male to 50 Amp Female

Now you would plug your RV into the 50 Amp to 30 Amp adapter and plug the other end of the adapter into the 30 Amp to 15 Amp Adapter and plug that adapter into your home electric.

Determine What Amperage The House Receptacle Is

The 3 prong receptacle in the house could either be on a 15 or 20 amp circuit. The way to find out is by looking at the circuit breaker box. Hopefully, the Circuit Breakers are properly marked so you know which breaker is for the particular circuit that you will be plugging into. The circuit breaker will be marked with how many amps it controls for that circuit. The number 15=15 Amps and the number 20=20 Amps.

Also understand that the circuit for plug you are using may have other plugs on it as well. If the circuit you are using is a 15 amp circuit, it means that the total amps on that circuit cannot be greater than 15 amps or the breaker will trip. So you may not actually have 15 amps available to you depending on what else is operating off of that circuit.

Plugging In The Trailer

Once you have installed the three prong adapter on the power cord from the travel trailer it is time to plug it in.

Special Note: If for some reason the power cord on the RV does not reach the receptacle you are going to plug into on the house, you may want to use an extension cord. If this is the case, it is important to understand that you cannot just use any extension cord that you buy at a hardware store.

The extension cord should be at least a 10 Gauge Vinyl Outdoor Extension Cord and should be just long enough to reach the receptacle you are plugging into. Using a longer extension cord can create more heat and also becomes more inefficient.

Here are the steps to take the first time you plug in.

1. Make sure all electrical appliances in the Travel Trailer are turned off.

2. Turn off the breaker on the house circuit you are using.

3. Plug the travel trailer electric cord into the house receptacle you have chosen.

4. Reset the house circuit breaker, you should now have electric to the Travel Trailer. If the circuit breaker goes off again, double check to make sure that all electrical appliances in the Travel Trailer are turned off.

Limitations On Running Appliances

Just because you are now plugged in, does not mean you can run all of the electrical appliance at one time like you could if you were hooked up at a Campground or RV Park. You have to limit your usage to be below the 15 or 20 Amp limit for the circuit you are hooked up to. If you exceed the amperage limit you will continually trip the house circuit breaker.

Here are some Amp usage numbers for common electrical items found in an RV.

AMP HOGS

These appliances should not be run at the same time or you will trip the circuit breaker;
Roof Air Conditioner, Hair Dryer, Microwave, Toaster or Toaster Oven.

OK To Run Together

These appliances can be run safely together, TV, VCR, Laptop Computer and RV Refrigerator.

If you are not sure how many amps an appliance uses here is a simple formula to determine amps.

Divide the Watts by the Volts and that will give you the Amps for that appliance.

You can now see that this may not be the ideal way of using the Travel Trailer, but, if you are only planning on using it for sleeping, it can be done.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

Comments for Can I Plug In A RV To A Home Electrical System?

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Extremely helpful
by: Anonymous

Finally answers to all my questions! I can now make one trip to Lowe's and get the proper adapter and extension cord. Thanks for the friendly advice so I can have my RV plugged in the correct way to my garage outlet.

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Shocked
by: Mike

I had my 30 amp plugged into garage outlet with female adapter. When wife turned on AC in camper I was kneeling in grass with metal crank and cranking feet down and got a real good shock. But later after checking everything and being told not to run Roof Ac and I was just running fridge there was no shock anywhere I could tell is this normal?

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Pop up camper
by: Anonymous

I have a pop up camper does it have to be pluged in to the car to raise the roof or can I plug in to a house receptical to raise the roof

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small homes in rv slots
by: jack

I am considering buying a rv park. Would like to build some small homes on some of the rv pull thru slots. will the rv hookups, electric and sewage, support the homes adequitely?

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30 am to 110 plug
by: Anonymous

I have a 72 vw bus. It has standard plugs for gaining power. Can I buy a 30 amp to 110 v standard plug adaptor to pull power from a 30 amp source or will that be too much power in the circuit of my vw?

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110 T0 220 OUTLET
by: Anonymous

I HAVE A CAMPER THAT WAS 110 AND I DID NOT HAVE THE RIGH PLUG SO I PLUGED IT INTO 220 OUTLET CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT WOULD HAPPEN

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putting in an outdoor post like at the Campgrounds
by: Yavonchafon

We plan to go to Menards and buy everything we'll need to run electricity under the ground and to a post in our yard (just like at the State Campground) so we don't have drop cords across the yard. Husband knows what he's doing as far as electricity and he's run underground electric before. Before we head to the store- I want to know every component we are going to need to accomplish this. The plug in box for the post, that has covers that close and the conduit encasement, pipe, proper wire, separate breaker for our breaker box....anything else?

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cost
by: Anonymous

my landlord has his RV plug into our house I was just curious how much is costing me even though he's not living in it?

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Buy a second extension cord
by: Anonymous

Use only fully rated extension cords to provide power to your trailer. You can run multiple lines using separate circuits in the home. If a breaker trips, both cords are probably on the same circuit.

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What Else Can Run
by: Bobby Ratliff

You mention what not to run with the roof air at the same time, but I was wondering other than what you have mentioned can I do lights, water pump, TV, with the roof ac on 15 amp?

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Careful
by: Anonymous

Just because your Electric Clothes Dryer plug looks like your 50 AMP Camper plug doesn't mean you can use it. The dryer plug is usually 220 VOLTS. every camper is 110 VOLTS. So be careful.

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Thank You!
by: Billy

Very invaluable information. You answered my question to the "T," meaning exactly what I needed to know. Unfortunately, I was told by an RV Tech, that all I needed was a 12 gauge extension cord. So I went out and bought the 12 gauge, hopefully, I can return it. When I bought the RV, they provided me with the CAMCO 15-30-RV-A adapter, which I should be able to use once I buy the correct extension cord. Again thanks for your assistance.

Billy

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electric bill
by: Anonymous

Generaly a camper will not increase your electric bill by more than a dollar or two per day. If it's hot and the air conditioner is running constantly it may be a little more.

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plug in costs to a residential house
by: Anonymous

what do you think the average cost per night is when our family comes and plugs in their RV to our outside electrical outlet? We recently had this unexpected situation and have not seen a bill yet and hope it won't be extreme since we did not get any compensation and are in no means ready for a large bill....????

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