What many RV owners discover after they buy an RV or trailer, is that they cannot plug it in when they are at home. The reason for that is that homes are not wired for RVs. There usually is not a 30-amp outlet in a residence.
When you hire an electrician to do the work for you, do not be surprised to find out that they may not have seen a 30-amp RV plug before. It is to be wired as a single pole 120-volt outlet and not a 240-volt option. That is the biggest concern you will have with this project.
To learn more about this project, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about before you get started. Take a few minutes to see how this information helps you avoid any mistakes and get the project done right.
Technically, yes you can. You will find many websites saying that you can with no problem. That is their initial statement, and after that, they start telling you what needs to be done to do this action.
In other words, you really can’t just plug your RV straight into your home’s outlets. The first reason you can’t is that the outlet designs are different. The plug won’t fit.
The second reason you can’t plug straight in is that your RV will only receive 15 to 20 amps of power. Any more than that and the breaker will trip. There are two things you need to do and you can do one or the other to get the power to your RV.
The first is to buy a 15 to the 30-amp adapter. You plug your RV into the 30-amp side and the 15-amp side plugs into your home’s outlet. The other option you have is for you to wire a new 30-amp outlet from your power box.
The latter is the best way even though it can be a little bit costly. Unless you are a trained electrician, this is not a DIY project. You need to hire a professional electrician to wire this outlet.
Yes and no. Your RV will only get between 15 to 20 amps when you do this. What that means is that your RV will not receive enough power to operate all the features and appliances you have installed in your RV
There is just not enough power coming to your RV for it to work like normal. You would only be able to run those appliances, etc., that can work with 15 to 20 amps. To have a normal operation you will need to send your RV 30 amps all the time.
If you do try to run different electrical devices in your RV, you can only do it one at a time. You won’t be able to run 2 at the same time as that will trip the breaker.
If you try this to save money, it won’t work. It just takes longer to do anything inside your RV so you are using a lot of power anyways. It is better to spend the money and wire in a new 30-amp outlet. That way you may not use the power for as long and save money that way.
Over the long run, your savings should pay for the installation expense. It is also safer to wire in a new 30-amp outlet.
If you are not going to wire in a new 30-amp outlet, then you will need a 15 to the 30-amp adapter. One reason for this is that your RV’s 30 amp plug is not designed to fit into a 20 amp outlet.
Even if your 30-amp plug is the same design as your 220 or 240 outlet, you cannot plug it into that outlet either. The 30 amps are AC and the 240 is DC current. The adapter is the only way to go when you are not wiring in a new 30-amp outlet.
These adapters are cheap and tend to cost under $20 at Amazon. They are specially made for this task and have the wiring and protective covers to make sure the power transfer is safe.
Some come with a locking connector to make sure the connection is not pulled apart accidentally. They also come in different designs so you can match your hook-up situation with the right adapter.
While less expensive, this is the second best way to connect your RV to your home’s power grid. This and wiring a new outlet are the only two options you have. You will find the adapters at hardware stores or wherever Rv supplies are sold.
The costs will vary as every state has its own regulations. The licensed electrician you hire to do this work will have different fees for their time and their experience. The best that can be done is to give you a ballpark figure so you have an idea.
The cost will range between $200 and $1000 approx. You may be able to save some money and buy the breaker, the outlet, the wiring, and the connectors yourself. Just make sure to get the right ones.
Plus, you may need to get permits to make the installation and pay for the inspections. Other hidden costs may be a pole to hang the outlet on, concrete to secure the pole, and leveling a place for your RV to sit.
Before you get started, make sure to call your state’s permit office and see if you need a permit and how much it will be. Then call around to different electricians to see how much they will charge.
Again, this is not a DIY project due to the great risk involved, the different regulations that need to be met, and the fines you may receive if you do it yourself. Think it through first before you get started.
This is not a difficult project to do, for a licensed and professional electrician. The first step will be finding a place to put the outlet. You may be able to escape having to have a power pole if your home is set up right.
That is usually when your RV’s parking spot is next to the house. Your parking situation will also dictate how much wire you will need. After you have a safe location picked out, call in your electrician and walk him through what you want to be done and where you want everything to go.
The electrician will advise you if those are good ideas or not. Adding the extra outlet takes electrical skills you probably do not have. Let the electrician handle it and try not to cut corners or costs.
If you do, you are only putting your home, your RV, and your family at risk. Then make sure you get the work inspected when the permit office wants those inspections. You want to stay on their good side so you do not have to redo the work.
The work should not take a long time unless there are complications. But once it is done, your RV can function like normal.
Basically, everything we said about the 15 to 30-amp connection will apply to the 30 to 50- amp or 50 to 30-amp connection. You can run your 30-amp RV with no problem if you connect to a 50-amp electrical system.
The only thing you will need, and this is a mandatory act, is a 50 to the 30-amp adapter. You would burn out your RV’s 30-amp system if you did not use the adapter. That is just one scenario.
If you have a 30-amp outlet put in for your 30-amp RV then trade that RV in for a 50-amp model, then the situation is exactly the same as the 15 and 30-amp one, save there is more power involved.
If you want to put in a 50-amp outlet, then again, that is a job for a skilled licensed electrician. You will still need permits, inspections, and the right materials. There is just no getting around that requirement unless you are a retired electrician.
The thing to do before you start is to research what regulations your state has. Those are the rules you will need to follow, regardless. Then the only way to save some money will be to buy the materials yourself.
Just do not buy inferior products to save even more money.
The materials you need are as follows: 30 amp RV outlet (NEMA: TT-30R), #10 wire, a weatherproof electrical box, and a new breaker. The key is to make sure you buy enough wire so you do not have to go back to the store to make another purchase.
It is okay to have some wire left over as you never know when you will need it. Next, the outlet should be housed in a weatherproof box and that box needs to be attached to your pole or wall 24 inches above the ground.
Before you start, TURN OFF THE POWER. Some people do forget this step. If you are running the wire longer than 25 feet, you will need to use heavier wire. This protects you from the normal voltage drop that occurs normally. Here is a guide on wire thickness:
- up to 25 feet: 10-gauge wire
- 25-50 feet: 8-gauge wire
- 50-100 feet: 6-gauge wire
- more than 100 feet: 4-gauge wire
From this point, it is a normal wiring task. No matter what amperage you are working with, the wiring is the same. The only difference will be the breaker size and any connectors you may use.
Stay away from using electrical tape to hold wires together. Use the proper wire nuts, etc.
To be honest, there are very few tips that can be given for this task. One good one is to watch the weather. You only want to do this project when it is sunny and warm.
But if that can’t be done, make sure you have good rain and moisture protection over your work area. The next tip is something you are probably tired of hearing-- TURN OFF THE POWER.
If you are not sure, make sure to use a multimeter to test the connections for any power before you get started. Electrical shocks are not fun, just ask anyone who went through electrical shock therapy.
The third tip that needs to be reinforced is, this is not a DIY project. You will have regulations, laws, and standards to meet. Let the licensed professional electrician handle all the details for you.
They already know what must be done and how it is to be done. Letting them do the work makes the project go faster and safer. Plus, the connections should be right and there is no risk to you or your family.
Finally, use the right materials. Don’t cheap out. If you do the latter, you are only putting everything at risk. It may be more expensive but buy the best materials so you can have peace of mind.
This project is a good one. It allows you to power your RV, recharge the batteries and use the features like normal. Plus, it is not a hard project to do if it is done right.
As we have said throughout this article, this is not a DIY task. It is best to leave this work up to licensed professionals. That way, you get the best job possible and the wiring will be safe for everything involved. Just buy good materials so you can use this outlet for years to come.