Do you go RVing without a surge protector? If so, you’re living on the edge. Here’s an obvious reason why you need a RV surge protector:
RV surge protectors are insurance against the unexpected. Nobody ever expects their RV to catch fire, but accidents happen.
What RV Surge Protectors Do
RV appliances and electrical systems require a consistent level of voltage to operate safely and effectively. Sometimes that doesn’t happen, like when you plug into a defective RV park pedestal, get hit during a lightening storm or downed power lines affect electricity going into your campground. When voltage drops too low or swings too high, your RV appliances, computers, TVs and more can be severely damaged.
I’ve had 2 motorhomes (over the years) hit by lightning while parked on the pad behind my house. Damaged wiring on both. Once it hit a tree and came in through the ground wire, other came in through the house and the power lines. Since hard wiring the “50amp Surge Guard” HW-RV50, lightning has taken phones and a TV in the house but not affected the MH. It has also dropped low or fluctuating voltage at RV parks. At one dog show it would not connect, voltmeter showed 90 volts at their panel…
iRV2 Forums: Surge Protectors
Which Kind of RV Surge Protector to Buy?
You can buy two types of protection: RV surge protectors and RV energy management systems (EMS).
RV surge protectors are an entry-level way to protect your rig. They protect your RV from shore power problems at the pedestal and shut down if power supply is dangerously low or high.
For more extensive (and higher-priced) protection, a RV energy management system (EMS) will do the above in addition to managing how and when your appliances use power in order to keep from overloading your RV’s electrical system.
Choosing the right RV surge protector or EMS product is pretty easy. If you have 50 amp service, buy a surge protector for 50 amp RVs. For RVers with 30 amp service, a 30 amp surge protector is sufficient. Costs vary but start at about $100 and go up from there depending on the level of protection. Considering that RV surge protectors can save your RV from electrical problems and even fires, it’s a small price to pay.
The hard part is deciding if you want to hardwire the surge protector into your RV electricity panel, or purchase a portable unit that gets plugged at the end of your RV power supply cable and into shore power. They both have drawbacks and benefits: hardwiring takes some electrical skills and DIY initiative, but it’s practically theft-proof because it goes inside your RV. An exterior RV surge protector-type product that gets plugged into shore power runs the risk of getting stolen unless you purchase an additional product-specific cable lock. You’ll have to decide which one is best for your RVing lifestyle.
Often called “The O.G. of full-time RVing,” Rene Agredano and her husband Jim Nelson hit the road in a fifth wheel trailer in 2007, after their dog Jerry lost a leg to terminal cancer. Sixteen years later they are still traveling and sharing their nomadic adventures at LiveWorkDream. As a self-employed wordsmith, Rene shares her expertise for many RV industry videos, publications such as the Escapees RV Club Magazine, and has authored numerous books, including the Essential RVing Guide to National Parks, and Income Anywhere, a guide to earning money on the road. She has been featured in global media outlets including the PBS documentary “NATURE: Why We Love Cats and Dogs,” The Guardian Sunday Edition, and the Dan Pink book Free Agent Nation.