Safely Connecting RV to Shore Power
Electrical safety is critical when connecting your RV to shore power. Just a few precautionary steps can increase your protection from accident or injury while potentially saving you from costly repairs if done correctly. Here are some steps we suggest to increase your safety when connecting an RV to shore power.
1. Always inspect the post, your cords, and connections.
- If the post is not stable, rocks easily or looks to have burn marks around the plugs do not plug-in.
- If your cord has cuts, kinks or the prongs are damaged service those items.
- If something at the site needs fixed call maintenance, never try to fix someone else’s electrical issue on your own!
2. If breakers are present, verify all switches are in the “OFF” position.
- Plugging into an outlet with a 30 or 50 amp plug while energized could cause short or a spark. Especially if the connectors are large, awkward, or need a lot of pressure to make a good connection. If you can de-energize the power, then do so. If breakers are not present, then be sure-handed and connect while you’re in a good working position.
- Keep in mind, “A loose connection is a bad connection.”
3. Connect your surge protector and verify a good connection.
- I’ll assume most RV’ers have surge protectors, but I know some do not, and that’s a personal choice. However, I highly recommend you spend the “1% or less” it cost to protect your RV investment from power post electrical problems with an RV surge protector.
- Most RV surge protectors will indicate if there is a problem with the power post by showing a display. Here are a few examples below of light/led indicators:
- As you can see in the image above, several issues can be identified by merely using a surge protector.
SIDE NOTE: After visiting over 40 parks, I can confidently say my surge protector identified at least three instances (or 7.5%) where connecting directly to the power post could have damaged components in our RV. Personally, that number is too high for me to risk it.
After a ton of research, we chose to go with the Southwire Surge Guard 34950. Although it cost slightly more than the average RV surge protector – the features it offers are worth it. They have both 30 and 50 AMP models.
4. After verifying a good connection, turn the power OFF. Say what???
- While it may not make sense, we still need to make another connection to the RV itself. Turning off the power will reduce the same danger discussed in step 2.
- If breakers are present, you can turn those off.
5. Make your connection to the RV and turn the switch on.
- Ensure the plug as been firmly inserted, twisted, and the coupling tightened down so no significant movement can happen. Again, a loose connection is a bad connection.
- At this point, the surge protector should do “its thing,” and your connections should be safe.
Here are other surge protectors we found appealing during our research.