Getting an RV is a huge investment and there’s still a lot to learn about before we hit the road safely.
For instance, electricity is necessary to utilize and enjoy an RV fully. You might be here to know more about an RV’s electrical system. You are probably going to install an electrical outlet in the RV and wondering ‘are RV Outlets the same as house outlets?’
The direct answer is Yes! Travel trailer electrical outlets are different from house outlets due to their smaller sizes and less complicated wiring system. This article will discuss more RV outlets and their electrical system.
Table of Contents
What are RV Outlets?
RV electrical outlets are used to connect the electrical equipment in the RV to the power grid. Because an RV battery is a 12V DC system, it must be powered by a generator, inverter, or shore power to power the outlets.
RV outlets use the same voltage (at 120V) and amperage (15 amps) as home outlets. However, they are quite smaller and shallower, thus to keep them in place in the plywood, there should be a plastic clamp for installation.
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Camper Electrical System
An RV electrical system’s electrical system relies on its batteries and on plugging it down in a campsite or a permanent parking space.
The RV’s batteries run a direct current system of 12V which powers the essential appliances in an RV like the water pump, lights, and heater. The batteries charge once you plug it in an electrical hookup.
Meanwhile, the larger appliances can be powered by a more stable electrical supply, a 120-volt alternating current system through an electrical hookup.
RVs normally have limited RV receptacles which also aim to prevent overloading. RV outlets may overload more easily, leading to the RV losing power altogether. You will have to prioritize which of your appliances has to be plugged. Hence, it is also ideal to be aware and skilled in RV outlet replacement.
A camper’s electrical system most likely runs is a single circuit hence, it is recommended having a GFCI outlet. You can plug your camper in a 110 outlet or 120-volt outlet to charge your batteries or to hookup for electricity. However, it is not advisable to plug it into a 220-volt electrical hookup.
Similarities and Differences Between Rv Outlets and House Outlets
Here is a summarized similarities and differences between a house outlet and an RV outlet.
Both outlets are designed for the same function. Hence, an RV outlet is also recommended to be a GFCI outlet. However, an RV GFCI outlet may also be smaller since the RV has thinner walls.
House outlets are wired and screwed in the walls, while RV outlets are more shallow and attached by a plastic clamp. RV outlets are designed to be more durable to resist different weather conditions and movements due to frequent traveling, which is not the same with house outlets.
120V power house and RV outlets. When an RV is plugged into an electrical hookup in a camping ground, outlets run in a 120 V alternating system similar to a house outlet. The only difference is that the RV’s batteries that power the outlets, when unplugged from an electrical hookup, run in a 12V direct current system.
Since the power supply in an RV is limited it is always important to check in with the RV seller and technician to see if your RV outlets and electrical system can handle the appliances you have in your RV. Otherwise, it could lead to overloading.
- Power Source
House outlets are mainly powered by being directly connected to electrical grids. Hence, a house loses electricity when there is a problem with the power grid. Meanwhile, RV electrical outlets are powered by plugging in or charging the batteries through electrical hookups.
Tips to Replace an RV Outlet
There are complicated steps involving many tools and accessories to replace camper outlets, including a faceplate, a new outlet, voltage tester, and various pliers, screwdrivers, and more.
Here’re some tips and steps you should note if you wish to replace the outlet on your own:
Always turn the power off, first and use a voltage tester before removing the outlet.
- You need to use the screwdriver to take the old faceplate out of the outlet and take off the back box.
- Safely remove the outlet from the wall and make sure that you are familiar with the wiring of an RV outlet. This is important so that you’ll know if you will have to cut the wires and separate them from the outlet.
- Install the new box and feed the wire through your new box. Now, secure it using screws.
- Then, expose the wires and strip their ends.
- Finally, install the electrical outlet in your RV.
Hiring a professional is highly recommended if you are not adept in electrical systems and wiring.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I add more electrical outlets?
If you need more RV power outlets, while being sure that your electrical system can handle it, you can use an extension cord instead. You may also opt to change the outlets to RV outlets with USB. However, it is still best to keep your outlets manageable to avoid any electrical problems.
What Powers the Outlets in a travel trailer?
The travel trailer outlets can be powered by directly plugging in or through the RV’s batteries which can be charged in an electrical hookup found in camping grounds. The RV’s batteries, charged through electrical hookups, can power the outlets through electrical inverters.
Do I Need a GFCI Outlet in an camper?
It is not necessary but is recommended to have a RV GFCI outlet for better safety.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a safety precaution as it automatically “interrupts” the flow of electricity in case of short or faulty circuits. RV GFCI is the same as home GFCI since its function is the same – preventing a ground fault.
Therefore, these outlets are especially advised to be used in areas with more moisture, like the bathroom and kitchen.
There are also places or areas that require RVs to have GFCI outlets, so it is best if you check local rules or laws.
Can you convert an RV outlet to a regular outlet?
Yes, you can use a regular or a house outlet in an RV. However, you will have to use a smaller box to fit it in the RV wall. Since this may be a tricky process, it is important that you are skilled in electrical wiring or, better yet, let a professional do that for you.
What are RV plugs?
RV plugs are different depending on the RV and, at times, where you are located. RV plugs in the US are not the same as those in Europe.
Most RVs have a rating of 30 to 50 amps. This means that the RV’s electrical system can handle an electricity flow of up to 30 – 50 amps, and anything more will cause an overload.
There are also RVs that only have a rating of 15-20 amps, meaning fewwer appliances can be plugged in.
When plugging in an RV, you will also have to consider the voltage. 15-30 amps can be plugged into a 120V electrical supply, while 50 amps can be plugged into a 220V.
To sum up, Are RV outlets the same as house outlets? Basically, they function the same yet have some differences tailored for different uses. However, it’s always more than just the outlet.
You have to learn more about the electrical system and wiring of an RV outlet. Keep in mind that your RV is also your home, and safety is always your priority. Get help from professionals if necessary. Ask for details about where you bought your RV.
Okay, so I’m Philip Lopez. I join Riverside Trailer as an editor, where I will be doing research for both content and reviews. I contribute to studies aimed at understanding the most typical problems encountered by RVers on the road. I also keep up with the newest RVing gadget innovations so that I can promptly evaluate and recommend the best options.