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It’s Time To Power Up: Plugging an RV into House Power

Plug RV Into House Power

Not all RV trips need to take you far from home. Whether your mobile home or one of your camping trailers is parked in your driveway or in someone else’s, you may be able to plug your RV into a nearby home’s electrical system for a temporary period of time.

Is it Possible To Plug an RV Into a House Electrical System?

While it’s not recommended to plug RV into house power for extended trips, it is possible for a short amount of time. However, to do so, most RVs will require at least a 30/50 amp and a 15/20 amp electrical outlet.

You might also not have all the capabilities you normally would have—and may only be able to use one appliance at a time without tripping your house’s breakers. Certain RV appliances, like toasters, microwaves or even air conditioning, tend to use up a lot more electricity than laptops or TVs.

Even if it is possible, trying to plug your RV into a home’s electrical system might not be a great idea if it’s the middle of summer and you know you’ll need to crank the A/C, or if you already know you’ll need to run multiple appliances at once.

How To Plug an RV Into Your Home’s Power

If you do need to plug your RV into an electrical system, the process to do so is fairly simple. The first step is to make sure you have everything you need. If your RV is 30 amps, you’ll require a 30a female to 15a male adapter (which tends to run around $10 to $20).

 A 50 amp RV, on the other hand, will need a 50a female to 30a male, which can then be connected to a 30a female to 15a male. 

If you’re running off of 30 amp service, all you need to do is connect your cable to an extension cord (preferably one that you already know is durable and heavy-duty). Depending on the length, some extension cords may be as cheap as $10 or as expensive as $30.

For 50 amps, it’s a much better idea to connect it to a 30a to 15a male cable rather than just a regular extension cord.

Before you do so, however, you’ll need to remove the 50a plug from the generator plug (much like you would do at an actual campground). Once you do that, you can then plug it into the 50/30 amp adapter, which will then connect to the second adapter (30/15a). After everything is connected, you can finally add a heavy-duty extension cord to the mix.

Keep in mind that, before you connect anything, you should always turn off the electrical appliances in your RV as well the breakers to the home you plan on plugging into. If you don’t, your breaker will most likely trip before you’ve even made it back inside the RV.

Even with a successful setup, sensitive breakers can still trip sometimes. If this happens, you’ll need to unplug everything and double-check to make sure that every appliance in your RV is still turned off. If you can’t find anything that’s causing the breaker to trip, it might be time to refer to the manual or contact the RV manufacturers to see if they can help.

If it’s a brand new RV or camping trailer, the manufacturer may be able to provide more help than you might think.

Even if you have managed to plug RV into house power successfully, you may not want to use all the appliances at the same time. Not only will this most likely result in a huge electric bill, but you may even overload the system and trip the breaker. If you’re able to, running inside to use a hair dryer, toaster or microwave can save you a lot of time and energy.

Safety Tips and General Advice To Remember

Anytime you’re dealing with electricity, it’s important to stay safe—not only for your sake but also to avoid breaking or overloading your electricity panel or appliances. If you plan on doing the work yourself, there are few tips to keep in mind.

The first thing to do is always check your RV manual first. This can tell you whether or not you’ll need a 50 or 30 amp service (which can determine any other supplies you need). You’ll also need to figure out what kind of amperage your home’s receptacle is too. Generally, you can do so by taking a peek at the circuit box, which should have a mark for how much amperage it controls for that specific circuit.

Knowing exactly what kind of cables, adapters, and cords you’ll need before you actually try plugging your RV in will save you a lot of hassle and potentially a hefty electrical bill too.

It’s also a good idea to consult forums, online RV communities, or even dealerships before you begin. Not only can these sites provide a lot of input and advice, but they may be able to offer their own safety tips too.

However, if you really aren’t sure whether or not you can plug your RV in or where to start the process, consulting a local electrician may be a great way to clear up any confusion you still have. An electrician should be able to answer any questions you have about wiring or amperage, and if you can afford it, can even complete the setup for you.

While this might cost money, it might be a better option than trying to figure it out yourself and damaging your RV or home’s electrical system.

If you are confident enough to handle it on your own, do not forget to check if your A/C is off. While it might be easy to unplug the fridge and microwave, many owners—especially those who recently used their RV—might forget about turning off the A/C. Leaving it on when you try and plug your RV up will only trip the breaker.

Another thing to double-check before you spend your time or money on this process is the legal requirements. If you’ve recently purchased an RV or are planning to hook it up on someone else’s property in a different state, you’ll always want to make sure the zoning laws in that particular area will allow you to do so.

Certain cities or urban areas are stricter on whether or not you can park an RV in someone else’s driveway, whereas rural states tend to be more relaxed. It may be impossible to hook your RV up to a house in a large city like New York or San Francisco without infringing on the city laws.

Even states like Nevada still have restrictions on RV parking (and may require you to get a permit before you park it in the driveway or on the property). Depending on where you’re going and where you plan to hook up, even just a quick call to that state’s Department of Transportation can ensure you aren’t breaking any laws. 

Although plugging an RV into your home’s power might not always be the easiest task, it is possible—and even easy enough for you to do yourself. After you’ve figured out the amperage on your RV and home, you’ll need to purchase the needed supplies and connect the necessary adapters together.

As long as the appliances and electricity are completely turned off, you shouldn’t trip any breakers. The good news is that, if you do, you can always start over or contact a local electrician and pay the fee for them to do the job for you. Once you’re set up, you should be able to fully enjoy outdoor living without having to actually leave the driveway.