All 30A outlets are not created equal. Does your electrician know?

All 30A outlets are not created equal. Does your electrician know?

by Steve Savage, Mobility RV Service

Here’s a common mistake. An RV owner decides he wants to be able to run everything in his RV including the air conditioner. It’s convenient, to be sure, so he wants that ability at home. The next call is to a local electrician who then wires a new receptacle for the RV.

Sounds good so far, but most electricians think wiring a 30-amp receptacle is a 240-volt job, like they would for a welder. The problem is an RV needs 120-volts, not that higher, welder-friendly 240 volts. That is to say, they wire the receptacle with a black, red and ground, rather than a black, white and ground.

When having a new 30-amp receptacle installed, be sure to make your electrician aware of what you need. Plugging into 240 volts rather than 120 volts makes bad things happen quickly. Normally, any 120-volt appliance that is turned on or powered at the time — think the power converter and microwave — will go up in smoke instantly when hit with 240 volts, as they are always “on.” How much else is damaged depends — although I have seen high-end entertainment systems fried, to name another common finding in these cases. Just remember, most electricians do not routinely wire for RVs, so there is no reason to assume they will automatically know what is necessary. Just say “120-volt, 30-amp circuit” and you should be free of any disaster.

photo: OpenClips on, public domain image