Safely Connecting RV to Shore Power


Safety is Paramount!

Electrical safety is critical when connecting your RV to shore power. A few precautionary steps can increase your protection from accidents or injuries 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 a 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 with electricity, “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 protecting your RV investment from power post electrical problems with an RV surge protector.
  • Most RV surge protectors will indicate 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 images above, several power pole issues can be identified by merely using a surge protector, and that’s why they’re worth the money.

SIDE NOTE: After visiting over 60 parks, I can confidently say my surge protector identified at least four instances where connecting directly to the power post could have damaged components in our RV. That percentage is a little high to not have one if you ask me.  

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.   

Quick note:  While most RV surge protectors are available at Amazon or Camping World, consider buying from an RV specialty site (frequently at a lower price) such as TechoRV.  You’ll get access to their supplemental product information guides on RV products and specialized technical support.

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 has 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.
  • Check the readout for any errors and if all indications are green/good.  You’re done!

RV Safely!

About the author


We are a full-time RV family who said “a hui hou” to our beloved Oahu home to travel the mainland USA to see all the National Parks.

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