RVs are great for their ability to give you a taste of home life no matter where you are. Whether you need a cool retreat from the hot spring heat or a few minutes to enjoy your favorite TV show, your RV is your private getaway. But to do this, your RV needs power. Every time you plug your RV into a pedestal, you put yourself at risk for an RV power surge!
One surge can do significant damage to your vehicle or put your life at risk. But you can protect yourself. Read on to learn about RV power surges and how to prevent them so you can enjoy your next vacation in peace.
Risks of RV Power Surges & Spikes
Every time you hook your vehicle up to a power pedestal at a campground, you’re potentially at risk for a variety of power-related issues. And unless you’re always boondocking, chances are you plug in quite often. It only takes one of these issues to significantly damage your RV:
- Power surges
- Power spikes
- Low voltages
- Wiring faults
Campgrounds often do their best to maintain each hook-up, but frequent use and misuse from other campers can damage them as quickly as one overnight stay.
When you hook your vehicle up to a faulty power source, your entire RV is at risk. Think of all the devices, both those critical to the RV and the appliances inside that you use. A power surge is likely to impact all of them.
While something like a light may be easy and inexpensive to replace, your microwave, TV or air conditioning won’t be. This is why it’s critical to invest in RV surge protection. It only takes one unprotected surge to take out equipment valued at hundreds of dollars.
Investing in an RV Surge Protector
There are countless surge protectors available for purchase to upgrade your RV. Don’t be confused – your run-of-the-mill surge protector that you might buy at the hardware store for your home isn’t what you’re looking for. Even though they will work just fine with your RV and can be plugged in as you normally would, they will only protect the appliances plugged into the surge protector.
This is a major problem because your RV has electronics everywhere, not just the appliances plugged into the interior outlets. One surge can do severe damage to the whole unit. It can even start a fire in your RV!
There are two primary ways that RV surge protectors can be hooked up:
Connected at the Power Source
These surge protectors are similar to the type that you would use in your home. They are portable and can be attached to the campground power hook-up directly. This makes them easy to use but they do come with some issues.
For starters, because they’re external, they’re at higher risk for damage or theft. Since they can easily be seen from the power source, rain or other water sources can splash in them and potentially damage them. Likewise, it only takes a few seconds for someone to walk by and steal it.
That said, many external ones come with ways to lock them that can prevent theft. They also avoid the issues of heat generation that some devices can cause, which could potentially damage something if they generate too much heat.
Mounted Inside the Vehicle
One of the more popular styles of surge protectors, these types are mounted in your vehicle’s lower compartment. By mounting it inside, it avoids some of the common disadvantages of the external types.
Because it’s always connected, you never have to worry about it when you’re at a campground. You can hook your RV to any power source and know that you’re protected. It’s also safe from rain, snow and theft, since it’s safely inside your RV.
The only downsides to internal surge protecting devices is that they aren’t as easy to install and the heat they sometimes produce. However, these are small concerns, and it’s no surprise that they’re a popular option for RV owners looking to protect their vehicle.
What is an Electrical Monitoring System (EMS)?
Another type of device that can be incorporated into your electrical safety is an electrical monitoring system. While surge protectors exist to help neutralize the damage from a surge, an EMS can completely shield your vehicle from one.
They identify incoming power levels that are too high or too low and will disconnect your vehicle from the incoming voltage. Surge protectors function through their metal oxide varistors, or MOVs. These “take the hit” from a surge – essentially destroying themselves as they protect your electronics from a surge. When an EMS disconnects your vehicle before the surge hits, it can save your MOVs from unnecessary damage.
Not all EMSs come with surge protectors built in. Make sure to find out when you’re shopping if it does or not – you may need to separately install a surge protector with it! This is because, in some cases, an EMS can’t disconnect your vehicle in time. Having the additional protection from a surge can save you thousands.
Protection from Low & High Voltage
Not all electrical damage comes from surges. Heavy usage at a large campground or faulty wiring can lead to issues where a power pedestal has high or low voltage. In some cases, they can even be wired with reversed polarities!
While low voltage may not sound like a problem, some appliances need “start-up” currents to help kick on, such as your air conditioner. When they’re being supplied with low voltage, it can cause them to malfunction. High voltage, on the other hand, can overstress appliances or electronics. This isn’t like the sudden jolt of a surge. The damage is done over time due to overloading the devices.
Most EMSs will identify voltage that’s under or over a pre-set limit and shut down your RV’s power. Because the damage isn’t from a power surge, it’s another type of risk that a standard surge protector can’t defend against.
Is an RV Surge Protector Necessary?
While your RV can function without one, the cost of an RV surge protector or EMS is negligible compared to the cost of repairs and replacement from a surge. Appliances in your RV can cost hundreds or thousands – and the electronic components of the RV aren’t cheap either!
If you consider electrical protection to be like insurance, the returns are easy to justify. Even a high-quality EMS won’t run more than a few hundred dollars, and if it only protects your RV’s fridge or TV, it’s paid for itself! You’ll enjoy peace of mind when camping with your family, too.
Start Your RV Life Today – Contact RV Wholesale Superstore
The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you! We can answer your questions and help you choose the perfect RV for you! Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (844) 601-1171.
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