What Gauge Extension Cord Do I Need for an RV?

An RV is a recreational vehicle that usually comes equipped with its own electrical system. However, if you are planning to use your RV away from a campground or other hookup, you will need an extension cord to connect it to a power source. The different types of extension cords available include:

  • 15 amp extension cords – these are the most common and typically used for smaller RVs or for powering smaller appliances.
  • 30 amp extension cords – these are the most common type of extension cord used with RVs. They are thicker than standard household extension cords and can handle up to 7,500 watts of power.
  • 50 amp extension cords – these are heavier-duty extension cords that can handle up to 12,500 watts of power. They are typically used with larger RVs or those that have multiple air conditioners.
  • 100 amp extension cords – these are the heaviest-duty extension cords available and can handle up to 25,000 watts of power. They are typically used with commercial RVs or those that have multiple air conditioners and other high-powered appliances.

When choosing an extension cord for your RV, it is important to select one that is rated for the same amperage as your RV’s electrical system. Most RVs come with a 30 amp electrical system, so a 30 amp extension cord would be the best choice. If you have a larger RV or one with multiple air conditioners, you may need a 50 or 100-amp extension cord.

How to determine the gauge of an extension cord

The gauge of an extension cord is determined by the thickness of the wire inside the cord. The thicker the wire, the higher the gauge. A higher gauge extension cord can carry more electrical current than a lower gauge cord. For example, a 12-gauge extension cord can carry up to 20 amps of current, while a 14-gauge extension cord can only carry 15 amps.

When choosing an extension cord for your RV, it is important to select one that is rated for the same amperage as your RV’s electrical system. Most RVs come with a 30 amp electrical system, so a 12-gauge extension cord would be the best choice. If you have a larger RV or one with multiple air conditioners, you may need a 10-gauge extension cord.

What are the different types of plugs and connectors?

There are three different types of plugs and connectors that are commonly used with RVs:

  • NEMA 5-15R – this is the standard household plug that is typically used with 120-volt appliances.
  • NEMA 5-20R – this is a slightly heavier-duty version of the NEMA 5-15R and is often used with 240-volt appliances.
  • NEMA L5-30R – this is a 30 amp plug that is typically used with RVs. It has two hot wires, a neutral wire, and a ground wire.

When choosing an extension cord for your RV, it is important to select one that has the same type of plug and connector as your RV’s electrical system. Most RVs come with a NEMA L5-30R plug and connector, so an extension cord with a NEMA L5-30R plug and connector would be the best choice.

What factors to consider when choosing an RV extension cord?

When choosing an extension cord for your RV, there are a few factors that you will need to consider:

  • The length of the cord – you will need to make sure that the cord is long enough to reach from your RV to the power source.
  • The gauge of the cord – you will need to make sure that the cord is rated for the same amperage as your RV’s electrical system.
  • The type of plug and connector – you will need to make sure that the cord has the same type of plug and connector as your RV’s electrical system.
  • The price – you will need to find a cord that fits within your budget.

The best way to use an RV extension cord

When using an RV extension cord, it is important to follow these safety tips:

  • Inspect the cord before each use to make sure that there are no frayed wires or damaged plugs.
  • Do not use the cord if it is wet or if there are any signs of damage.
  • Make sure that the cord is not kinked or tangled.
  • Do not overload the cord by plugging in too many appliances.
  • When unplugging the cord, be sure to pull on the plug, not on the cord itself.

How to store an RV extension cord

When not in use, it is important to store your RV extension cord properly to prevent damage:

  • Wrap the cord around a spool or coil.
  • Do not kink or bend the cord.
  • Store the cord in a cool, dry place.
  • Do not allow the cord to become tangled.

FAQs about RV extension cords

Yes, you can use a longer extension cord than you need. However, you should only use the length of cord that is necessary to reach from your RV to the power source. Using a longer cord than necessary can cause the cord to overheat and become a fire hazard.

You should inspect your RV extension cord before each use to make sure that there are no frayed wires or damaged plugs. If you notice any damage, do not use the cord. Discard it and replace it with a new one.

Citations

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f449/extension-cord-gauge-requirements-207797.html
https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/29893578/print/true.cfm
https://www.forestriverforums.com/forums/f46/extension-cords-what-gauge-137144.html
https://www.jaycoowners.com/forums/f7/safe-extension-cord-54814.html

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