Most of us will not think about electricity when we think about our RV kitchens. However, the fact still remains, if we don’t have the power(electricity) that we need to run all the appliances we want and need to run…..we won’t be a happy camper. If you haven’t purchased your RV yet, this article will be most important to you. If you own your RV but don’t understand why we need adequate electricity…then this article is for you, also.
Please stay with me while we explore RV electricity – 30 Amps vs. 50 Amps. We all have different needs and wants….when it comes to how much electricity we require. Electricity is important to all of us but the question is: “How much do we need/want?”
Recreational Vehicles come with one of two power cords. The power cord is either rated at 30 Amps or 50 Amps.
- 30 Amp power cord– 120 volt AC with a limit of 30 amps of power or 3,600 watts or 3.6 KW.
- 50 Amp power cord – 2 each legs of 120 volt with each leg being 50 Amps with the cord having a limit of 12,000 Watts or 12 KW.
It is surprising how fast your AMPS add up which cause your circuit breaker to trip. Sometimes the individual circuit breaker for the appliances will trip, other times it is the main circuit breaker that goes.
Here are some ‘electrical’ terms we find on the data plate of the small and large appliances that we use:
- Voltage – is the push that the electricity has. Voltage is the same to electricity that water pressure is to a water system. In our RVs the Voltage is either 12 volts DC (direct current) or 120 volts AC.
- Amperage – is the flow of electricity. Amperage is the same to electricity as gallons of water flow is to a water system. The size and length of the wire carrying the amperage or current determines how much flow we can have.
- Wattage or Watts – is the power of the electricity. Watts is figured by taking the voltage and multiplying with the amperage. 120 volts AC X 20 amps = 2400 watts or 2.4 KW (kilo-watts). We rate our generators by the wattage they put out.
Save yourself a service call and big $$ by simply flipping the circuit breaker to the OFF position then back to the ON position. Many times the breaker won’t look tripped but resetting it corrects the problem.
Remember that our 15,000 BTU Air Conditioners will take as much as: 20 amps x 120 volts = 2,400 watts EACH*
(*your air conditioner will pull 20 to 30 amps to get started then drop back to 15 to 20 amps after it begins to cool)
The Electric Water Heater (6-10 gallons) 12.5 amps x 120 volts = 1,500 watts
If the power cord you have is capable of handling only 30 amps which is 3,600 watts of power ….right? Then from our calculations…you are now past your watts allowed! So…..forget about the microwave, coffee pot, crock pot and electric skillet. It’s not going to happen. You can see from this scenario above… that RV Electricity – 30 Amps vs 50 Amps is a very big deal.
Do this little exercise to see how much electricity you are currently drawing (OR want to draw) if these are some of the appliances that you are choosing to use.
- Microwave Oven _______ amps X 120 volts = ________watts
- Electric Coffee Pot _______ amps X 120 volts = ________watts
- Toaster _______ amps X 120 volts = ________watts
- Electric frying pan _______ amps X 120 volts = ________watts
- Crock Pot _______ amps X 120 volts = ________watts
- Blender _______ amps X 120 volts = ________watts
- Bread maker _______ amps X 120 volts = ________watts
I know you will come to your own conclusion as to which power cord is right for you!
Lady E Cooper
P.S. Taking the time to become educated about your RV is vital so you can be successful in understanding and maintaining about 80% of the issues you will encounter in ownership. The Professor and I teach so much more about the 3 Electrical Systems, Propane Systems and Water Systems courses (which are ALL foundation courses) in the RV Maintenance For Ladies Only Program and the Take Home Technician Series Program.
There are a total of 8 topics to learn in each of the programs listed about. Be successful in your RV experience and invest in yourself today!!