What Would Cause RV To Shock You? (How To Stop RV Shocking)

A shocking experience. A bad start but we could not resist. There may be times when your beautiful and expensive RV responds to your touch. It is not a loving touch but something that may cause you or your family members some harm if not taken care of.

This is not a normal event and one of the causes for this problem could be reverse polarity. The shock you receive will come when you plug an electrical device into an outlet whose wires have been crossed.

To learn more about this, Uhm, shocking experience, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about and it will leave out any bad puns, etc., to provide this important information. Take a few minutes to get the information so you are prepared when it happens to you.

Why is My RV Shocking Me?


There are about 20 reasons more or less why you would be experiencing a shock every time you touch something electrical in your RV. As you already know, when you get a shock it has something to do with your electrical system.

The exact source may not be known until you do a lot of investigative work and have the right tools on hand to do this type of work. As usual, if you are afraid to investigate or work with electricity, it is best to call in a professional and let them do the work for you.

The next section will provide you with about 18 possible sources for this problem. Most of them can be fairly easy sources to repair. It will just take time and a little electrical knowledge to do the work

What Would Cause RV To Shock You?

Here is the list of 18 possible sources and this list provides you with great places to start. The location of the shock should let you know what you need to look for during your investigation.

1. Short circuit- this is a problem with your wiring. There may be a loose wire somewhere causing the problem.

2. Damaged RV extension cord- the insulation may have been burned off by the electricity flowing through it. Replace the extension cord if you are shocked when touching it

3. Electrical short circuit due to faulty wiring- same as #1 but instead of a loose wire, the wrong wires may have been used or connected to the wrong terminals

4. Wires are not grounded- grounding is essential for almost every electrical application. Your RV needs to be grounded or you will have problems when you use the electricity

5. Increased Humidity in RV- moisture conducts electricity and when it is higher than 30% be prepared to endure some shocks till you reduce the humidity levels in your RV

6. Hot skin issue- this source will be explained later on in the article, so keep reading. It is an important source to know about so do not skip that section.

7. High-voltage power lines- this is a parking situation and you may get shocks when you park near high-voltage power lines. Your recourse is to change your parking spot to a safe distance away from those power lines

8. Use of 30 Amp power- this source is tied to other sources like reverse polarity, faulty wiring, or plugging the plug into the wrong outlet or the wrong way

9. Power supply surge- unless you have a surge protector attached to your electrical supply, you could get shocked when these take place. The problem is, you never know when a power surge will take place so take a protective measure and add a surge protector to your RV’s electrical system.

10. Reversed polarity- wires have been crossed and connected to the wrong terminals. Just change the wires back to where they are supposed to connect to but make sure you turn the breaker to that outlet, etc., off first.

11. Damaged fuse- the fuse is supposed to stop the electrical current from flowing, but there will be instances where it will hold an electrical charge and you get shocked when you touch the fuse. Change the fuse to solve this problem.

12. Technical problem- this is like the miscellaneous category. Anything that does not fit in the other 17 sources goes here. Diagnose the issues carefully so you do not get more shocks.

13. Broken electrical switch or melted- this can happen through some roughhousing or moving heavy items near the switch. There are a number of sources for this problem and you get shocked when you do not realize this has taken place. Replace the switch and check the wiring and electrical flow.

14. Wet shoes or barefoot- this is more of a situation that comes with most issues on this list. Wear proper shoes inside your RV to avoid this situation

15. Broken switchboard- when you get shocked, it could be the result of a damaged switchboard. Replace it to solve the problem

16. Loose connection between the socket and plug- happens all the time and more often than you may think. Just make sure all your plugs are plugged into the outlet securely to avoid this problem

17. During the rainy season- like the bare feet source, you can get shocked when it rains. But it is not the rain that is shocking you but one of the sources we have listed here. The rain just makes it easier to get a shock

18. Outdated and old RV switches- This happens a lot as well as some RV owners do not do good maintenance on their outlets and switches. The older they get, the same goes for wiring, these items wear out and can expose you to the possibility of a shock.

Keep in mind that we are only mentioning sources that are in your RV. Shore power shocks are a different topic and usually the result of bad maintenance by the campground.

Can You Be Shocked Unplugging an RV in The Rain?


Yes, this is a possibility but it is a minor one. More experts are concerned with lightning strikes while you are plugged into shore power. In both situations, you can take proper steps to avoid being shocked.

Before the storm hits, you should unplug from shore power to protect your electrical systems from power surges. Surge protectors help some but most may not be rated to handle the power of a lightning strike.

As for unplugging in the rain, just be careful and watch where you put your fingers. If at all possible, turn the breaker on the shore power pole off to cut the electricity then pull the plug.

This should keep you protected from any shocks that could possibly occur. The best way to avoid getting shocked is to keep an eye on the weather. Then unplug your RV before the rain starts. If the rain doesn’t come it does not take long to plug your RV in again.

Static Electricity in RV

Static electricity is defined as ‘an imbalance of electrical charges within or on the surface of a material or between two materials’ (source). You know how it works, you rub your bare feet on the carpet and then touch someone.

You get a kick out of this action but it is not fun for the other person. But when static electricity has built up in your RV, you may be doing that activity to yourself when you walk around and touch something inside your RV.

The way to rid your RV of static electricity is to open a window or use a humidifier to increase the moisture level inside your RV.

RV Shocks Me When I Touch Metal


This is bound to take place when your RV is improperly grounded. During your routine maintenance, you should be checking all your ground wires to prevent this situation.

Properly grounding your RV will also help protect your RV from power surges that can occur from time to time. Also, it will protect your RV’s electrical system when you have to ride out a lightning storm in your campground’s location.

With an improper ground system electricity will use any direct path back to its source. That means it will use any metal it can reach electrifying it. So when you touch it, you get a shock.

The next section will explain this more fully as this is also known as a hot skin problem.

What is The Hot Skin Effect On RV?

This situation is where your RV becomes electrified. It is usually electrified when there is a ground problem. The electricity starts flowing to the chassis and then to every metal part on the RV’s exterior and interior.

When you touch door handles, wheels, to other metal objects you can get a shock. This situation starts when the electricity cannot find its way to the ground because of broken or damaged wires.

In that situation, electricity uses any shortcut it can find to reach ground. Those shortcuts are the metal items in your RV. Most RV owners may not experience this phenomenon because their rubber tires act as an insulator.

But if you touch the metal skin of your RV while standing on the dirt, etc., you complete a circuit and you get a shock. How much of a shock depends on the current level flowing through your RV.

A low voltage current level should just give you a light shock, but a high voltage level can injure you or your family or worse. The problem with a hot skin issue is that you will never know when it occurs.

If you get a light shock, then start investigating the problem and fix what is causing it.

How do I Stop My Camper From Shocking Me?


The obvious methods are the best methods to use. Those methods include fixing every electrical problem you come across. Change fuses, repair or replace damaged or loose wires, and make sure the right thickness of wire is being used for specific applications.

Also, do routine maintenance work on your RV. This will ensure that your RV is grounded properly and you will avoid many electrical issues. Add a surge protector to your electrical system and make sure your exterior power outlets have some rain protection.

Use your multi or volt meter to do your tests to help you find possible sources before they become a problem. Check your outlets to make sure they have not been cross-wired, melted, or damaged in some way.

If in doubt, call in a skilled RV electrical technician to do the investigation for you. They will know where to look and have the right tools to handle any problems.

How do You Ground an RV?

It is very dangerous to not ground your RV when you are camping but there are exceptions to this rule. If you are plugged into shore power at a campsite, your electrical extension cord should be equipped with a ground wire.

Campgrounds are required by law to provide hook ups that include a ground wire. If you are at a campground and plugged into their system, then you are grounded.

The need for grounding comes when you are boondocking. To ground your RV correctly, attach a wire to a bare metal patch on your RV’s chassis and then attach the other end of that wire to a ground rod.

If you do not have a ground rod, use a metal post or rod already sticking out of the ground.

Some Additional Words

Electrical shocks coming from your RV can and do happen often. The trick is to not let that situation remain for very long. Once you or your family members get a shock, start searching for the source right away.

Once you find the source, take the correct repair steps for the specific source. Different sources will have different repair methods and materials. Don’t play around with electricity, as someone in your family will get hurt.

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