What Can You Run On 30 Amps In An RV?

If you are running an RV, then electricity will be a big issue for you. You’ll need to make sure that your generator is more than capable of running all the electrical devices in your motorhome.

If you run too many appliances at once, then you run a real risk of tripping all the power.

This is why knowing the wattage of your appliances will come in handy when you are trying to calculate how many you can run at any one time.

This way you can avoid powering too many items in any one area, which could lead to a serious blowout.

So what items run on 30 amps or less? Which ones can you use in your RV?

How can you avoid tripping out the electricity in your RV? Well, we have compiled a list of electrical items that you can use to run on 30 amps.

How Can I Calculate Amps?

There is a very easy equation that will allow you to calculate the watts, amps, and volts of any electrical device.

For example, if you have a shower that runs on 1400 watts, then all you need to do is divide the number of watts by the number of volts.

These are the calculations you need to make when you are trying to work out watts, amps, and volts:

  • Amps x volts = watts
  • Watts/volts = amps
  • Watts/amps = volts

So if you need to calculate how many watts your 30 amp system will be able to cope with using a 120-volt system, then all you need to do is the following equation:

30 x 120 – 3600 watts

This means that your 30 amp system will be easily able to run a 1400-watt shower.

However, you’ll need to make sure that the collective wattage of your electrical devices does not exceed the 3600-watt maximum.

How Much Can A 30 Amp System Run?

You should be able to run a lot of electrical appliances with a 30-amp system.

However, as we have stated above, you’ll want to make sure that you are not exceeding the maximum wattage of your RV. This is because it could lead to your electrical items becoming damaged permanently.

When you are thinking about your electrical appliances, it is worth bearing in mind that you can’t just add up the total sum of the wattage that each item will require.

Different devices will consume electricity at different rates, so you’ll need to be aware of this before buying your appliances.

It will be worth bearing in mind the average amount of watts that certain devices will consume.

This will not be the same for all appliances and it is worth checking your specific model of device, as it might be higher or lower than the average.

List Of Electrical Devices And Wattage

Here is a list of electronic devices with the average amount of electrical equipment that they will need:

  • Clothes washer – 400 – 500 watts
  • Hair dryer – 1250 – 1875 watts
  • Clothes iron – 900 – 1800 watts
  • Microwave oven – 800 – 1100 watts
  • Refrigerator – 725 watts
  • LCD television – 120 watts
  • Toaster oven – 1230 watts

You’ll have to check the model that you are using to get the specific wattage that your hair dryer or clothes iron will require.

You should make a list of all the electrical items and their wattage and total it up to get an idea of how much wattage your devices will need.

Can I Run My AC On 30 Amps?

Most air conditioning units will be able to run on 30 amps, although you’ll have to make sure that you have the right size of an air conditioner.

If you have a larger air conditioning unit, then it will run on more BTUs, which will require more amps.

You can also get RVs that come with 2 air conditioning units, both of which will require their own individual power supply to get going.

You should make sure that this factors into the final output and that you add each one to the wattage tally.

Here is an example of the BTU level of various AC units and how much power you will need for them:

  • 10500 BTU = 25–27.5 Amps
  • 14000 BTU = 32–35 Amps
  • 18000 BTU = 36–40 Amps

The AC is an important part of an RV, as it will often be the only source of cool air. RVs are very cramped environments and overheating is a very real risk, so it is important to have at least one AC in your motorhome.

How Do The Electrics In An RV Work?

Usually, there are 2 separate parts of an RVs electrical system: the generator and the converter.

The generator is what supplies the power to the other devices in your RV, with the converter maintaining the voltage for your appliances.

The electrical system in your RV will use 110-volt AC power, which is very similar to the level of current that you might find in your home.

If you do not have any appliances that cannot run on 12 volts DC, then you won’t need a converter.

You won’t find as many power points in an RV as you would find in a house. There will usually be anywhere between 4 and 8 electrical outlets in your home.

This is because the electrical outlets in your RV are designed to power each other.

If you have a lot of appliances and not enough power outlets, then you can always buy an extender that will increase the number of plug sockets that you can use.

However, you’ll need to make sure that you don’t overload these sockets, as you might exceed the power levels of your RV and cause the power to trip.

You will be able to run small appliances like a hair dryer or a coffee maker from your 30 amp system quite easily.

However, larger items like microwave ovens or clothes driers might be harder to run with 30 amps. We would recommend getting a 50-amp system if you are thinking of installing larger appliances like this.

How Can I Prevent The Power In My RV From Surging?

As we have mentioned above, make sure that you are using as few electrical items at one time as possible. This is to prevent the circuits from overloading and shorting out.

You can also get a surge protector, which will stop any power surges, which can often happen during lightning storms or power outages.

This will also protect against general power surges that occasionally occur in most generators. You should buy a surge protector that is designed to be used with a 30-amp system.

When you are using a surge protector, make sure that it comes with a waterproof cover. If you leave it out in the rain, then you will run a risk of it becoming permanently damaged.

What Is The Difference Between Starting Watts And Running Watts?

This is the difference between how many watts an electrical device needs to start and how many it needs to keep running.

For example, a refrigerator might need a starting watt of around 2,200, but this will drop to 700 watts once it starts running.

There aren’t many items in an RV that will require a large starting wattage.

Only generators and air conditioning units will need a large starting wattage to get up and running. These devices will also need more power overall.

Tips For Running A 30-Amp RV

The thing that you will need to remember is that you are only running 30-amps, not 50-amps, which means that you will be a lot more limited when it comes to what you can run and how long you can run it for.

Here are some tips for limiting your power supply:

Know What Saps The Most Power

Items like your refrigerator, microwave and shower will be some of the things that will require the most power to run.

They will usually require anywhere between 23 and 25 amps to run properly. This gives you a few amps spare to run very small electrical devices such as the radio or television.

You’ll also need to be aware of devices that are going to need to run continuously like your fridge and possibly your air conditioner.

You’ll have to add this to your tally and bear it in mind even when you are running smaller appliances.

Use Power Sparingly

Make sure that you are not running too many appliances at one time and that you are not overloading your sockets.

For example, if you are cooking food on the electric hob, then turn off the AC, as these two running together will be very taxing for a 30-amp generator.

If you are going to get an extender cable to create more sockets in your RV, then you’ll need to make sure that you are not overloading them, as this will be a sure way to cause a power surge.

Keep Track Of Your Circuits

You should make sure that you are keeping an eye on which sockets are connected to what circuits.

You can do this by applying a colored marker to the outlet and matching it up with the corresponding RV fuse panel on your dashboard.

Conclusion

If you are running a 30-amp RV, then you should be fine running most of your appliances simultaneously.

It is only if you are running larger devices like an AC or refrigerator that you might have to be careful with how many devices you are running at once.

Eddie Meyers
Scroll to Top