When you take a trip in your RV or camping trailer, you do not always have to take a long-distance trip. Some people prefer to camp out in their own driveway or take their travel trailer to a friend’s house.
Part of the fun of using an RV of any type is having the comforts of home while being away from home. This means that you need electricity to power appliances. This leaves many campers asking, “Can I plug my travel trailer into my house’s power?”
So, can you plug your travel trailer into your house?
You can plug your travel trailer into your house. There are several different methods for plugging your travel trailer in at home but for most methods there are draw-backs and precautions that you must consider. For instance, using a dog-bone adapter from a 110 volt 20 amp outlet will only be ok if you are using bare minimums like lights and a refrigerator. Using the A/C will throw the breaker and can be a fire hazard.
We will give you the complete low-down, so be sure to read all the great information below.
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Plugging a Travel Trailer into Your Electrical System: What You Need to Know
Though it is possible to plug your travel trailer into your house’s electrical system, there are certain conditions that need to be met.
- Required Outlets
The first thing you need to know is that most RVs/travel trailers require at least a 30/50 amp and 15/20 amp electrical outlet. If you do not have these, you can’t properly use your home to power your RV.
- Recommended Time for Power Usage
When you do plug your travel trailer/RV into your home’s electrical system, you need to understand that it is not recommended for you to do so for an extended period of time. When you do not need electricity, remember to unplug. It’s best for you to plug your trailer in only for weekend trips. Though the time limit is not specified, you should use your best judgment.
- How Much Power You Can Use
As a general rule, you shouldn’t try to power up every appliance in your trailer when you’re using a house’s electrical system. If you try, you are likely to trip the breaker. Depending on the adapter that you are using, you may only be able to use one thing at a time.
This can be frustrating if you are using your RV during the summer or winter, as you need heat/AC. If you work from home and have taken your laptop with you, keep in mind that charging your computer can take up a lot of electricity. Unplug that before you use other appliances.
Plugging a Travel Trailer into a House’s Electrical System: How To
Plugging your trailer into your home’s electrical system isn’t as easy as finding an outlet and using it. There are certain steps that you have to take for this to work smoothly.
- Check Your RV Manual
In order to find out exactly what you will need to use (i.e. adapters), you have to check your RV manual and see which service yours will require. You will either need a 30amp or 50amp service.
- Check Your Circuit Box
Next, you need to know the amperage of your home’s receptacle. You can usually do this by checking your circuit box. The amperage that it provides to that certain circuit should be listed.
- Grab Your Supplies
Once you have taken note of both the RVs required amp service and your home’s amperage, you need supplies that will allow you to properly plug your trailer into your house. You will need cords, cables, and adapters that match these specifications.
If you don’t know which supplies you need for your specific trailer and home, you should always ask other experienced RV campers and even electricians if you have to. It’s always better to ask questions if you are confused. If you don’t and you plug it in on a guess, the result could be dangerous.
- If you are using 30amps for your RV, you will need a 30a male to 15a female adapter.
- If you use a 50amp RV, you need a 50a female to 30a male adapter which can be connected to a 30a male/15a female adapter.
- Plug It In
Once you are sure of what you need and you have followed the advice of experts on the matter, only then should you plug your travel trailer into your house.
For more information on how, exactly, to safely do this, please click on this link (see “How To” section.)
Is it Possible to Power All Appliances When Using Your Home’s Electrical System?
The only way to be able to use more power safely is if your trailer uses 50amp service and your home can provide that 50amp service. A perfect 50-50 match will allow you to use more power for several appliances, but not all of them.
Also, there is no safe way for you alone to modify your house’s power system to provide 50amp service. You will either fry your RV’s electrical system or damage your home’s wiring system. You could even catch your house on fire! Always consult an electrician before trying this.
In some cases, a home will need to be required to be modified like this and an electrician will be able to determine whether or not such drastic measures are necessary as well as whether it is possible for you to do so at all.
Unfortunately, completely powering an RV/trailer with a house’s electrical system isn’t always possible. Homes simply aren’t equipped to handle both tasks at one time.
You’ll be experiencing some of the comforts of home but in moderation.
Tips for Plugging In
Any time that you are working with electricity, you need to be careful. This includes plugging your trailer/RV into your home’s electrical system.
- Be Confident in Your Supplies
As stated earlier, always be sure that you have the right equipment before plugging your travel trailer into your house. If you are unsure, ask the experts. Using proper gear will save you the frustration of extra rigging, save money, and stay unharmed. If you do use incompatible equipment, you could damage your RV’s electrical system permanently.
- Hire a Professional
If you still are not confident enough to do the job yourself, you may be able to hire an electrician to do it for you. They are experts in their field, and they will know exactly how to hook up an RV/travel trailer without damaging either system. You will be paying for their services, but this will save money in the long run because you won’t be wasting power or damaging your property, which costs considerably more to repair.
- Make Sure that Appliances are Off
Before you plug in your travel trailer, check and see that all appliances in the RV are turned off, especially the air conditioning unit. If anything is left on, you will almost certainly trip the breaker. While this isn’t necessarily dangerous, it’s a hassle to get everything up and running again.
- Don’t Go Overboard
Depending on the power that you have to work with, you only have enough to power certain appliances at one time. Be mindful of what you’re using, what is plugged in, etc. If you do go overboard and use too many appliances at once, you will again trip the breaker in the house and possibly fry your RV’s electrical system.
- Confirm Legality
Believe it or not, it’s not always legal for you to plug your RV or travel trailer into a home, especially one that is not your own.
If you are planning to use someone else’s home for your travel trailer’s power source, you need to know that you won’t be prohibited by zoning laws.
In urban areas, you may not even be able to park your trailer in someone else’s driveway whether you plan to use their electrical system or not. This is due again to zoning laws. There simply is not enough space for your trailer in some instances.
In rural areas, the laws are fairly relaxed on the legality of parking on someone else’s property and using their electricity. Just be sure that you have their consent first, of course. After all, the electricity you will be using isn’t free.
To sum it up, yes, you can plug your travel trailer into your house, but you need to do so with great caution and care. Consider the steps that need to be taken, be sure of what you are doing, and hire someone to do the job if you can’t. There’s no shame in getting help!
When you have plugged your travel trailer in and you have the power that you need, don’t overload the system by turning on everything at once. Realize that sometimes, it’s better not to plug it in at all (i.e. extreme weather.) Enjoy what your RV/trailer has to offer, but do it one or two things at a time. Take note of what requires more power, and adjust your expectations accordingly.
If you are considering taking your next RV trip to your own driveway or over to a friend’s house, you can do so without roughing it as long as you are safe and mindful of your limits. Now you can hit the road (or not) confidently. Happy trails!
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