3 Ways to Avoid RV Electrical Problems

3 Ways to Avoid RV Electrical Problems

When it comes to your RV, it’s important to understand how the electrical system works, especially considering all the appliances you’re probably running on a regular basis.

As long as you stay within your available wattage (overall power) then things should run smoothly. If your voltage is too low or too high, then you’ll have problems like a power surge, which could seriously damage your RV, ruin your appliances, or even cause an electrical fire.

These three simple steps will help you avoid a serious electrical issue:

1. Know Your RV’s Capacity

Protecting your RV means buying one with adequate power for your needs. RV veteran Rob Lily suggests leaning towards a 50-amp RV if you plan to run a lot of amp consuming appliances. “You need at least 50 amps, which have two legs, giving you 100 amps’ total,” he says. “Considering that the average RV’er spends at least 30.8 amps on their A/C unit alone, a 30-amp RV may not give you enough power over time.”

If you have a 30-amp RV you may experience some electrical woes, especially if you want to run a lot of electrical devices like a microwave, A/C, fridge, hot water tank, and lights.

2. Monitor Your Power Usage

Even if you have a 50-amp RV, you’ll still need to monitor your power usage. “You should get a meter that will plug into a 110 outlet in your coach, it will tell you how much power you’re really using,” Lily advises. You’ll also need to be aware of how much power the appliances you’re using are drawing from your RV and ensure you don’t exceed your RV’s capacity.

Most of your appliances come with manuals that detail the required power (in watts or amps) needed to run it, but you can also find general outlines on the Internet for the most common appliances and electronics that RV’ers commonly use, like this list:

  • Coffee maker – 8.3 amps
  • Converter – 8 amps
  • Hair dryer – 9 to 12 amps
  • Microwave – 13 amps
  • Refrigerator – 2.8 amps
  • Roof A/C 13.5 amps
  • TV – 1.5 amps
  • Toaster – 8 to 10 amps
  • VCR – 2 amps
  • Electric skillet- 6 to 12 amps

You may be surprised by some of the items on this list – would you think that your electric skillet uses more power than your fridge? That your hairdryer uses more than your TV? If you’re not aware of how much power each electronic device uses, then you run the risk of operating too many things at once, which could cause an electrical issue.

3. Use a Surge Protector

A surge can fry your microwave, electrical oven, or even your battery. Surges aren’t always caused by using too much power. The campground could lose a neutral in the ground or lose part of a hot line, which can cause a surge. With a surge protector, as soon as that excess power, loss of power, or excessive power drain is noticed the protector will kick in and shut everything off, to protect your appliances and electrical components from damage.

That’s why it’s so important to always use a surge protector. “I would never run my RV without a surge protector,” Lily says. “The first reason is safety. It’s just not safe to run your RV without one. I’ve seen lots of RV electrical fires, and a surge protector should shield you from that. The second reason is to protect your coach from damage. The cost of a surge protector is small in comparison to the cost of replacing a damaged microwave or A/C unit,” he says.

Troubleshooting Problems

“If the surge protector picks up any problems, it will shut everything off and give you a code to tell you what has happened,” Lily explains. “You should get used to checking the surge protector and your meter every day,” he says.

Surge protectors are portable units, or you can get one hardwired into your RV. Both types do the trick and can be found at your local RV store. In addition to protecting your RV from a power surge, your surge protector will show you how much voltage you’re getting from the RV park. “With 6-8 RV’s hooked up on to the same box the person who is closest to the box generally has the best source of power,” Lily says. In other words, if you’re furthest from the box you may not be getting as much power as your neighbors.

If you’re having problems with your power, go to your park’s maintenance manager and have them check the box to see if there is a problem. Ensure that the maintenance manager also goes into your RV and turns off the main appliances and then checks the box again, Lily advises. “It’s important to see if there is a problem when the RV is underloaded, not just when it’s running at full capacity,” he says.

High voltage and low voltage are both problematic for your RV. Anything outside the range of your RV’s capacity (usually between 108-132 currents) can cause problems. To protect yourself, your family, and your RV, it’s important to understand and respect your RV’s power capacity, to monitor your power usage, and to protect your RV from electrical issues with a surge protector.

Meet Carlos From Capri RV Resort in Yuma, Arizona

Profile:
Name: Carlos Paredes
In position since: November 2016
Title: Resort Manager
Work Location: Capri RV Resorts
Favorite hobbies or sport: Talking & Listening to people

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a Park Manager?
Turning my park into a “place called Home” for our guest.

What’s the most challenging aspect of being a Park Manager? How do you overcome these challenges?
Having guests trust you as you put your vision in place for the future of the park. I gain trust with action – I share what we have done and what we are doing to do in our monthly newsletter, showing our improvements and changes.

How do you help make guests vacations at Capri special?
By making sure they feel welcomed. I go out of my way to go meet them when they come in and continue with my park walks to insure each guest feels that we care.

Can you share something you’ve learned from your guests?
They appreciate someone that listens to them – they want to be heard. I started getting involved in their activities – I can get lots of information as we play or interact. If you listen, you can learn a lot about their needs and of course about future stays. They see me as one of them.

What accomplishment at Capri are you most proud of? Why?
Able to get separate groups of people to work together in activities with one goal in mind – having fun.

What does a typical day at Capri look like?
Lots of activities – walking around and talking to my guests and listening for issues that I can prevent from getting bigger. And run the office of course.

What’s your favorite funny story to tell from Capri?
First day on the job, I was about to open my new office and a customer came by and asked me what I was doing (he might have thought I was trying to break in). I took that and ran with it – security is very important. So I introduced myself as the new manager and we had a good laugh about it.

Can you share your favorite memory at Capri?
I was walking out of my office and next to our shuffleboard court – they were missing a player. I was asked if I wanted to play with a group. Even though I had never played the game, the team embraced me and showed me what to do. Everyone was surprised that I was doing pretty good! They asked me how long I had been playing and I surprised them by saying it was my first time. We ended up winning and beating our park’s best players.

Can you recall a time when the guests at your property surprised you?
I have a logo of mine – a face with a hand over his ear – my saying is “I’m here to listen.” One day a customer that engraves things came to my office and said “I have something for you.” He engraved the logo on a glass cup and now it sits on my desk.

Can you tell us about some of the friendships that have developed between guests at Capri?
There have been plenty of friendships developed Capri. Every Monday late afternoon, there is a group that waits on me to go to the Recreation Hall and participate in their card games. The “Tuesday Jammers” always invite me me to sing Feliz Navidad with them during the holidays.

I also have a special bond with the Morton family. Kathy Morton fell and broke her arm one day and they were having issues finding a place to get x rays they could afford. My wife and I met them in Mexico and were able to get them an appointment to get x rays at a very reasonable price. After that we went out to eat and now we have become close friends.

RV communities look out for each other. Can you share an example of how Capri exemplifies the idea of community?

We are starting a neighborhood watch program on our property – having each neighbor look after those that are out for the season and during the season for each other.Why do you think your veteran guests keep coming back to Capri?
It comes down to feeling like they are coming home not just to a park. as well as forming friendships here from different parts of the U.S.A and Canada. As I get involved with them they become part of a family.

Do you have any last words or thoughts for your guests?
As my staff and I continue to make improvements. I will never forget that I am here to listen and to continue to make Capri RV Resort “a place called home.”

Discover the FUN at Forest Lake Village in Zephyrhills, FL

Your Winter Home

When you’re looking for a place to call home for the winter, head to Forest Lake Village. It’s a peaceful oasis away from noisy cities, nestled in the countryside around Zephyrhills. Nearby are some well-known springs and it’s near here where Crystal Springs bottled water comes from. With clean air and crystal clear streams, it’s no wonder so many Snowbirds call this place home in the colder months.

Canuckville

This is Floridian lifestyle at its finest. It’s home to over 100 Canadians every winter, and they keep coming back time and time again. Stephen Bagiardi, manager of Forest Lake Village, knows why they keep coming back. “We have 274 sites in this RV park and I would say we have about 100 Canadian guests each year. They love that they have so many friends here from all over Canada. It’s their central meeting spot. When newcomers arrive, the first thing they notice is the comradery. There’s a strong family like atmosphere here.”

It also helps that Forest Lake Village is 30 minutes from Tampa, 45-50 minutes to the Gulf Beaches and 45 minutes to Orlando.

Great Activities and Amenities

Guests at Forest Lake can be as relaxed or as active as they choose. “We have lots of events for our guests,” said Bagiardi. “We have Bingo and card nights multiple times a week. There’s water aerobics, line dancing, shuffleboard clubs and tournaments. People get together to shoot pool three nights a week. There are ping pong games and a library.”

Around the holiday season they have Christmas, Valentine’s and Thanksgiving dinners and dances. Also at Christmas, they have a parade that goes throughout the park and for those who want to work off some of those pesky seasonal calories, there are runs. Come join in the fun with the Turkey Trot and a Reindeer Run throughout the park. “You don’t have to run,” said Bagiardi. “Many of our guests prefer to walk, and some use it as a fundraiser.”

The RV resort comes complete with a clubhouse, swimming pool, laundry, horseshoes, library, shuffleboard, hot tub, a billiards/games room and a picnic and barbeque area. You can even get your own private mailbox, and yes, you can bring your furry friends with you.

For those who just want to relax, there’s a lake right on the property. Thirty of the sites back onto the small lake. There are no boats allowed, but you can cast or fly fish from shore into this fish filled lake.

Get Out and Explore

The biggest draw in this area is golf. There are six golf courses within 15-20 minutes of Forest Lake Village, and a dozen more about 30 minutes away. “There’s always a group heading out to one of the nearby courses every day,” said Bagiardi. And with this many great golf courses, why not!

As the RV resort is located between Tampa and Orlando there are plenty of sporting events to go to as well. Then there are the 20 theme parks in the area including Knott’s Berry Farm, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Busch Gardens.

Head out shopping to one of the outlet malls in the area and find something unique at one of the local specialty stores. When you’re done exploring for the day, there are dozens and dozens of restaurants within 15 minutes of Forest Lake Village.

Parks at the Gulf

Hop in the car and head west to Gulf. Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs has 155 acres on the Gulf of Mexico. Walk the white sandy beaches or go for a swim. You’ll see nesting ospreys and eagles above you and dolphins and manatees in the gulf. Bring your kayak or canoe (or rent one locally) and spend the day on the water.

Walls Springs Park is south of Tarpon Springs and is a great place to take a hike in nature. The park is 210 acres with a natural spring, with water temperatures at a nearly constant 23C (74F). There’s a 10 m (35 ft) observation tower that you can climb for some amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico. Bring your bike, or pack a picnic and spend the day exploring.

At the end of the day, head back to the Forest Lake Village, your winter home away from home.