What Gauge Extension Cord Do I Need For An RV? Key Tips You Must Know

what gauge extension cord do i need for an rv

I get plenty of questions about “What gauge extension cord do I need for an RV”

Well, it is very important that you know the right gauge of extension cord you should get for your RV or camper.

This way, you can power your appliances and the like using the correct unit.

So, if you are wondering what you need to get, keep reading this post. I explain more about key things you should know before you buy that extension cord for your RV.

What Gauge Extension Cord Do I Need for an RV? Essential Things To Know

First of all, your camper gets its power from either the 12 or 120-volt electrical system.

Your batteries supply the 12-volt while the 120-volt is possible from a generator or some type of external power source.

In your RV, you may be relying on these two systems. This largely depends on how long you are camping.

But do take note of the fact that campgrounds have varied power connections.

There are usually different shapes and sizes for your power receptacles. With this in mind, the amperage ratings differ, as well. Thus, you need to use the right power source that suits your needs.

In an RV, it could be a 30 or a 50-amp plug that you need to use. This will allow you to connect your cable to a power source to run electrical power to your appliances.

However, another concern is in buying an extension cord.

The distance between your power source and appliance may be too far. So, you will need to get the right extension cord to use. This way, you can easily reach your power supply without any hassle.

After all, it is a big deal to obtain power from your 120-volt electrical source.

Tips When Buying an RV Extension Cord

No matter what happens, always stick to high quality.

An RV extension cord is the last thing you want to be cheap when making a purchase. Keep in mind that you are working with high amperage and high voltage. Thus, you do not want to expose yourself to safety risks by opting for the cheapest RV extension cord you can find in stores.

Let us talk about how to buy the right kind since many people get confused about it.

If you have a 30-amp simple circuit, then you need to use the right one that passes this much amperes of electrical current in a safe manner.

At Home Depot, you should be able to find those cheap extension cords that are 16 and the 14 gauge. If you are able to hook this up to your camper using some dog bone adapter, keep in mind that you are not in the clear yet.

For instance, a 14 gauge extension cord only has a 15 amp current rating. But what you are actually trying to do is to pass 30 amps using it.

What happens then if you insist on using this type of cord?

This drops the voltage to under 110 volts – may even go down to 100 with a long extension cord – and the concern continues…

Your extension cord will heat up, which increases the risk of a fire hazard. Therefore, you are exposing yourself to great dangers by going cheap and using the wrong gauge extension cord for your RV!

The solution – you should opt for a minimum of 10-gauge cord for your RV’s 30-amp electrical circuit.

By doing so, you can minimize the chances of heating and fire in your camper.

Here are more tips on how to buy the right extension cord for your RV. Be sure to watch it to know exactly what you should get.

Additional Information You Should Know

I would like to add one more thing when buying the correct gauge extension cord for an RV.

Let us say you are looking to power your air conditioning unit in the RV.

If you are using that 14-gauge extension cord, it is unlikely to start up in the first place. Usually, the length is 50 or so feet, which may not be long enough.

And the most important thing – the increase in voltage drop once the compressor kicks in will not cause the unit to start.

Instead, you can only hear your motor humming or encounter a rotor lock.

So there are two things to this scenario:

Your compressor is highly likely to break down.

And yes, you won’t get the cooling effect from this unit, rendering it useless in the high heat.

That is why you need to make it a point to get yourself a 10 gauge extension cord when you have a 30 amp circuit in your RV. Or, for a 50-amp power, you can use your 6-gauge cord.

While the initial cost may be steeper with these extension cords, the result is much more satisfactory. You will no longer have to worry about dangerous risks in your camper. And the best thing – you can be sure that all your appliances will be working just as expected.

Read More: How to Recharge a Dometic RV Air Conditioner: Easy Steps to Follow

Final Thoughts

What gauge extension cord for I need for an RV?

Depending on your RV, you will have to use the right extension cord.

If you have a camper that requires 15 amperes of power, a 10 gauge cord is for you. The jacket is durable and the length is optimal. You can also use a 12-gauge as an alternative.

When it comes to a 30-ampere circuit, your best bet is the 10 gauge. This is perfect for your needs and there will be no problems to worry about.

Lastly, we have the 50-ampere circuit. These bigger vehicles require an equally bigger power running on 125 to 250 volts of power. So, you should go for the 6/3 + 8/1, which is the most common. It is also good to opt for the 6/4 but this is just not as popular.

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