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Are RV Surge Protectors Safe?

by Don Sommerville
(West Jordan, Utah)

How to Choose the Right Surge Protector for Your RV

How to Choose the Right Surge Protector for Your RV

Are surge protectors safe? I would like to install one in my Motorhome rather than hang a $500.00 unit on the utility post.

I saw a letter once where a person said they found smoke and their surge protector on fire. They put it out, and all was well other than the now destroyed surge protector. They learned that a spike had destroyed many other campers’ appliances, but all theirs were safe. That's great, but had they been away at the time, their entire coach and appliances would have been burnt to the ground. Your comments, please. thanks.

Don Sommerville

Good Sam Travel Assist

ANSWER: Hi Don can RV Surge Protectors or Electrical Management Systems catch fire, yes under very rare conditions they can. Most good RV Surge Protectors and Electrical Management Systems have built in safeguards to prevent this from happening. In the event of a severe power spike you have a greater chance of having a fire in your RV if you do not have a surge protector.

One thing you have to understand about RV Surge Protectorsicon and Electrical Management Systems is that you get what you pay for and a little bit of research on your part will make sure you get the right surge protector for your RV. There are two important Surge Protector Ratings you need to
keep in mind when shopping for one.

1. Joule Rating: this is the amount of energy that the surge protector or Electrical Management System can absorb before it fails. The higher the Joule Rating, the better.

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2. Clamping Voltage: basically, this is the voltage that the RV Surge Protector will allow into your RV's electrical system before it starts to suppress it. In this case, a lower number is better.

There are two different types of surge protectors that you can buy.

The first type plugs into the shore power source and then you plug your RV into the surge protector or electrical management system. One of the concerns you had was that you did not want to leave a surge protector outside so it would get stolen. There are lock boxes that you can buy for these outside surge protectors to prevent theft.

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The second types are surge protectors and electrical management systems that can be hard-wired into your RV's electrical system.

I hope that this information has been helpful to you.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here To Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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There was an exception....
by: Will B.

We once hooked up at a Harvest Host. As I got out my external surge protector, the host indicated that everyone who used one would trip the main breaker (GCFI) on the 50amp pole they had installed. Undaunted, I used the surge protector anyway. Sure enough, it tripped the GCFI on the pole. I removed it, no problem. (Yes, I was VERY hesitant to do so.)

If I had an internal surge protector, I don't think there would've been a way for me to use that power pole.

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Portable V. S. Installed
by: Anonymous

How is a permanent surge protector installed. Does it mount in the compartment where the plug wire is located?? How does this affect an extension cord( ours is a 50amp service) what is the price difference between the two?? Can you do the hardwired one yourself?

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Interior surge protector thrice saved us.
by: Anonymous

We also got lucky and bought an installed interior surge/monitor at half price. It has saved us from serious damage three times. 1) a lightening strike wiped out all or part the electrical systems on an entire street of a campground except us. We had nothing except our plug was damaged.

2) A squirrel got into a transformer connection and caused a power spike. Three rigs near us suffered some damage. We had no damage at all.

3) There was a strange drop in power when we were at an older campground and the plug actually began melting from overheating when the current monitor part our protector shut the connection off. Second new plug, nothing else damaged.

We actually find the current monitor to be more frequently used because when we first plug in the monitor checks the current for about three minutes before letting power in and at older campground with faulty wiring, this has resulted in us changing sites. This is not something to skimp on.

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Installed can be less than portable.
by: Anonymous

We had an internal surge protector installed on our travel trailer within the first month. It has done it's job many many time time both with power spikes an outlets with low voltage in old or overlaoded private campsites. Our installed surge protector was less than the cost of one of those portables even with the installation charge because we got lucky and hit a half price sale.

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Surge Protector
by: ReadyToGoFullTimeRVing

We refuse to plug in without a surge protector. . .and have used a portable one for the past eight years. . .never been stolen. . .no lock!

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