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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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Thanks
by: Anonymous

What a helpful and well written article! Thanks.

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Spot on
by: Anonymous

Spot on. Good and thorough answers.i agree.

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Different power....
by: Jessie V

You can run a 50amp off a stove, and a 30amp off a dryer. But remember you have to kill the 2nd line in the stove or dryer. So that instead of 240v youre only getting 120v of 50/30amps.

Also if you have a motorhome then you might have 2 batterries for lights and one for the starter.

You can buy electric car batterries online and you can actually wire them in place or with the existing batterries for the lights and stuff.

As long as your voltage between the batterries youre adding matches the prexisting voltage rating. Then when you plug in to your house your batterries will charge and youll have a batterry bank the exact same as a off grid cottage. So you could charge the batterries, take off and run the electronics (depending on your baterry size) twice as long with no power hookup.

You can use deep cycle batterries but actually if you want 9* or more it becomes cheaper to buy Electric Vehicle batterries. Also EV batterries are designed to be recharged 2000-3000 times where the same in deep cycle is 500, and they run smoother, charge cooler, and are overal better.

Later on run a few solar panels in on the roof and youd have a portable off grid house so good you could run the air conditioner/heater for 3-6hrs a day....

Cheers,

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Help
by: Anonymous

Very good explanation. I have my toyhauler plugged into my house but only half the wall plugs work unless I turn my inverter on but then I drain the battery by the time I've finished one movie. Are half the plugs not working on house power because I'm going from 50 amp to 15-20 amp or is it a different issue?

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Our first time living in a travel trailer/camper
by: Sansra and Erin

Our county does not welcome anyone that is living in a trailer/camper or RV...Orange County is not user-friendly. Three cities have sent us on the move. So our beginning was difficult. Now we are parked on someone's property in mountains. It needs work... Is there any suggestions on how to keep warm with less electricity? Any secrets PLEASE SHARE!!THANK YOU

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Excellent explanation.
by: Jennifer

Thank you for explaining this so well. Your instructions are outstanding. So clear and well written. Incredibly helpful! I just purchased a T@B teardrop trailer and want to park it in my brother's backyard for a few weeks before I leave on a big camping trip. This was exactly the information I needed. Much appreciated!

Note from RVing Al: Glad that it was helpful.

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Converter fans runs periodically.
by: Anonymous

For the fan on your converter to run periodically is normal. If the fan keeps running after you unplug your AC 220 shore line your battery is feeding back into the converter and it will run Your battery down. Your converter needs to be replaced.

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Trailer to house
by: Anonymous

Becareful when you get a electrition.
I worked on RV's as a tech and we've had a few customers come in with several appliances zapped because they mistake the 30 amp plug for a 220 volts and wire your out put for 220v instead of 120v. Ask first


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Plug my rv into my house to charge the batteries?
by: Anonymous

Can I plug my rv into my house to charge the rv house batteries?

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Question
by: Anonymous

My trailer is plugged in at home to a 20 amp circuit with the proper adapter. Now I know you can't run a bunch of electrical gear when doing this but in my situation almost nothing works. The fan on the ac unit works and the microwave but I have no lights and the fridge won't come on....... The breaker has nor tripped, just not much will actually even power up...... is this normal or do I have a bigger issue ?

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Noobie
by: Andy

Ok let me get this straight in my mind. If I purchase one of these "dog bone adapters" and purchase a 10 gauge or higher extension cord for the 5th wheel I can plug into my outside eletrical plug to my home, but would have to monitor what appliances to use in 5th wheel. is that correct?

Answer: Yes

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Converter fan
by: Anonymous


RV Power Converter


I have my pop up plugged in correctly like stated above. My question is why does my power converter fan keep trying to cycle? What is happening and how do i fix this situation? Thank you

Answer: What you are hearing is normal when your RV is plugged into 120 Volts. The RV Power Converter (Pictured Above) provides the 12 volt power to your RV's 12 volt accessories when it is plugged into 120 volts by converting the 120 volts AC to 12 Volts DC. In addition most RV Power Converters also charge your RV's house Batteries when the RV is plugged in.

An RV Power Converter needs to stay within a certain temperature range, so that is why the fan cycles on and off to maintain that temperature range.

I hope this helps.

Happy RVing!

RVing Al

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RV hookups
by: Anita

Wow that was very explanatory. Thank you for this I have been trying to figure it out.

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Extremely well stated
by: Anonymous

What a great explanation! You certainly laid out this so well that even I can pull this off. Thank you very much.

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Awesome!
by: Lee

I really appreciate this information. It's clear and detailed... exactly what I needed. Thank you!!!

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Plug RV to home electric
by: Roger


30 Amp 15 Amp Dogbone Adapters


I plug into my home electric when getting ready to go camping. Just use the adapter for my 30AMP plug (Pictured Above). All I need is the interior lights and I start the refrigerator. Good enough. Never had any problems.

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Family rv plugged into me
by: Anonymous

A family member is plugged into my house electricity. .He had been plugged in for 2 yrs now...my electric bill had gone up into the $300- $800s , when prior to him plugging in never went above $260...Please tell me an approximate ammount per month it takes to run the fifth wheel! !! Desperate

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Protect the connection
by: Marc

If you use an extension cord with your dog tail plugged into the main black cable to the RV, I strongly suggest you keep it covered and protected from the elements. I took a translucent storage box made of hard plastic drilled two holes in either in so I could run the cord in and put it in the box with a lid on it and it works great keep the rain and wet out.

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Very detailed
by: Anonymous

Thank you! As we use our RV to visit our families farm, we were unsure of plugging in. This has given me so much information that I'm so ready for our next trip.

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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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