Close this search box.

rv trips & travel

Do RV Air Conditioners Run On Electricity?

After purchasing your RV, you’re probably going to want to take it out as soon as you can- and if it’s during the warmer months, you’re going to want an air conditioner.

When planning a trip in an RV, many people start to wonder: will RV air conditioners run on electricity? The answer is yes, they do run on 110 electrical power- but you will not be able to run anything else at the same time.

You must understand that an RV does not have an unlimited amount of electricity. You are limited in the amount you have, depending on the RV. If your RV has 110 electrical power, you’ll use almost all of that by running your AC. Therefore, you can’t use your coffee maker, microwave, hairdryer, or anything else for that matter that requires electrical power. Therefore, you’ll need to find balance in how often and how long you run your AC.

Can I Use My RV Air Conditioner While Plugged Into My House?

If you want to run your AC while you’re getting the RV packed up and ready to head out on a trip, yes you can plug into your home and do this. However, again, you must understand that is all you will be able to run. The average household plug puts out approximately 15 amps and your AC will use approximately 13.5 of those amps.

Can I Use My RV Air Conditioner While Plugged Into My Generator?

While most campsites will have a place for you to plug into for shore power, you’re going to want to have a generator in case there is a power outage. Your generator works a lot like shore power, as it plugs into the AC system, providing it with electricity to run. However, a generator doesn’t provide as much electricity as shore power does.

Shore power is rated in amps, but generators are typically rated in watts instead. The bigger your RV, the more watts your generator will need to be capable of. Generally, a 1,000-watt generator works well in a small RV if you’re not going to run the AC. If you plan to run the AC, you’ll need a larger one.

So, yes a generator will run your AC, as long as it’s at least 110-volt power.

Can I Use My RV Air Conditioner On Battery Power?

No, you cannot run your RV air conditioner on battery power, unless you have a lot of it- which isn’t feasible for most people. After all, your AC requires a lot of power to start up and even more to keep it running.

Can I Plug My RV Into A 110-Volt Outlet?

When you’re at home, you might think you want to plug your RV into an outlet in your house. While this would be okay for a short period of time, it’s not recommended for long periods, as this can have detrimental consequences.

Quick Explanation Of 110 Power

There are several ways to measure electricity: amps, electric power, watts, and more.

Usually, electric power is used to measure the power coming out of the outlet and amps are used to measure the power required to use an appliance. The most common is 110 electric power because that’s what a typical outlet puts out. This is the same as 15 amps.

Following is a list of the amperage draw for common RV appliances/electronics:

  1. Roof AC: 13.5
  2. Coffee maker: 8.3
  3. Converter: 8
  4. Hair dryer: 9-12
  5. Fridge: 2.8
  6. Television: 1.5
  7. Toaster: 8-10
  8. DVD: 2
  9. Electric Skillet: 6-12

30 Amp Versus 50 Amp

If you don’t know much about electricity, it can be easy to get confused when it comes to amps, watts, and electric power. However, here are a few things to know after purchasing your RV:

  1. 30 amp generates 30 amps of 120 volts on a single line
  2. 50 amp generates two separate 50 amp lines for a total of 100 amps

While at first glance, 50 amps are only slightly more powerful than 30 amps, it’s actually more than three times more powerful.

Do I Need A Surge Protector?

Yes, it is a good idea to have a surge protector. After all, it’s better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it, right? You should definitely have some sort of protection for your electrical devices in your RV. If you don’t and experience a voltage spike, it can cause lots of monetary damages. This could have been avoided if you simply bought an inexpensive surge protector before going out for the first time.

Bottom Line

Hopefully, we have provided you with the information you need regarding the electrical needs of your RV air conditioner. Yes, you can run your AC on electrical power and even on a generator (if you have the right one)- but you cannot run your AC on battery power, as the electrical demands are too great.

Your AC is one of the most important things on your RV- especially if you plan to be traveling during the hot summer months. After spending the day exploring the area outside, you’ll want to be able to come back to your RV and cool down. Be sure to check it before heading out and if there are issues that you can’t fix, call in a professional.

Scroll to Top