Your RV generator can be very convenient when you need to power something in the RV and aren’t near shore power and solar is out of the question. While convenient, there are some things you should do to keep your RV operation safe.
This is where the question comes in: Does an RV generator need to be grounded?
The answer is generally yes, but the answer isn’t just for your RV generator. A generator should be grounded as often as possible since it produces electricity.
Grounding your RV generator
Your RV generator does not absolutely “need” a ground. Grounding is more often used for a home or a large generator used to power several RVs. In this context, a copper rod is driven in the ground so that excess energy can be pushed into the dirt and away from people or objects that could be harmed.
OSHA, which is the government agency in charge of occupational safety laws, says that you should ground generators when possible. As a result, generators could come with a ground plug that lets you drive the electricity somewhere.
What if it’s plugged in?
RVs that use underpowered extension cables or aren’t plugged into anything while running are in greater danger of having problems. If you are running your generator and it’s plugged into your RV, you are less likely to have a problem.
Some generators also come with an earth contact that has the built in ability to act as a ground in the event of a problem.
When to use a ground plug
Most RV owners don’t want to drive a rod into the ground at every RV park they go to. A ground plug is more useful when you are planning to be in one place for a long time, or if your RV generator has potential electrical issues. In the case of the latter, we would suggest getting a new generator instead of going through the effort of driving a stake into the ground.
If you are planning to sit at an RV park for a day or two, it’s not likely worth burying the rod and putting in the ground plug. The risk isn’t high. Of course, you can do it if you feel the need. Also, ensure that you are not slamming the rod into electrical wires or water pipes.
What are the chances of a problem?
Not especially high. Just like buying insurance, most everything about your generator and usage will probably be just fine. If something does go wrong, the generator has the power and potential to cause bodily harm if you are fidgeting with it, or to hurt appliances or your RV electrical.
What else can I do to stop problems?
The next thing to do is get a surge protector for your RV. A surge protector helps stop the flow of electricity to the RV in the event that a sudden, excessive or low amount of power is present.
While grounding a generator might be appreciated by some, in most cases, a generator has an element touching the ground to make it safer anyway. If you are planning to stay in one spot for a while, it’s certainly worth lowering your risk of electrical problems by plugging into the ground outlet and staking your generator.