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An RV Air Conditioner provides much-needed temperature regulation for your RV, especially in the hot summer months. Can you run an RV air conditioner on 110?

Should you have an air conditioner on your RV? What does it do? How much power does an RV AC use? How are RV air conditioners powered? Can you run your air conditioner on 110? What factors should you consider before plugging your RV into a 110 outlet? This article will look at the different options for powering your RVs air conditioner, determine whether you can use 110 power and provide some safety tips for doing so.

You can run an RV air conditioner on the 110/115 outlets found in RVs and homes. However, it will use up most of the electricity and you will not be able to use other devices. In addition, you will need to consider several factors before plugging in so as to avoid tripping the circuit breaker.

In this article, we will look at how both your RV and your RV’s air conditioner use electricity, determine whether you can use 110 power and provide you with safety tips for plugging your RV into a 110/115 outlet without tripping the 15 amp breaker.

Our well researched and impeccably written articles are designed to provide you with the content you need to make informed decisions. To this end, we only source information from credible sources and ensure that we present it to you in an easy to read and understand form.




There were 11.2 million households with an RV in 2021, representing a 62% increase from the total ownership in 2001. RVs are the ultimate road trip vehicle, allowing you to view spectacular sights across the country while enjoying the comforts of home. Travelling in an RV is also significantly cheaper than staying in a hotel room, especially if you are travelling with a large family.

In order to enjoy your RV and truly make it feel like a home on wheels, you need to ensure that everything is in place and that you have enough shore power, food and other items to ensure a smooth and safe ride.

How much power does an RV need?

The average RV uses an average of 20 KWh per day in order to power your RVs components and appliances. The amount of power your RV needs is determined by a number of factors including; the number of electrical appliances you have, how often you turn your air conditioner on and how well your RV is insulated.

RV electrical systems

Your RV is powered by three electrical systems i.e. a 12 Volt DC system, 120 volt AC system and Chassis Power. The DC power in your RV is supplied by rechargeable batteries. This system supplies power to your appliances through 12 volt outlets which are also known as cigarette lighters. The DC electrical system powers your lighting system, central fans and safety detectors such as smoke, propane and carbon monoxide detectors. 12 V refrigerators and some water pumps also run on DC power.

The AC system runs most of the appliances in your RV and also powers the power outlets. AC power is hooked up to an external power source proving 20, 30 and 50 amps. AC power is usually referred to as shore power and the type you hook up to depends on your vehicle’s size as well as the appliances you have. Campers and small RVs usually use 30 amp hook-ups while larger trailers and 5th wheelers us 50 amp hook-ups. Not all park sites have the required hook-ups for different RVs and it is therefore advisable to keep adapters in your RV in order to avoid a blowout.

Chassis power is provided by internal batteries and is used to start the RVs engine and power to vehicle lighting, windshield and other driving related accessories.

Which electrical system does an RVs air conditioner use?

Air conditioners, TVs, fridge, microwaves and other large appliances are powered by your RVs AC electrical system. The AC system is powered by an external power source that you can plug into at an RV park or from a line running from your own or someone else’s house. Charging from a house is a little different from charging from an RV park as a house can only provide 15 amps of power while most RV’s needs 30 to 50 amps of electricity. As a result, you will need an adapter to connect to most house outlets.

Running an air conditioner on 110 electric power

You can run an RVs air conditioner by connecting it through a power line to your house or a friend’s house. However, since 110 power only converts to 15 amps and an air conditioners uses 13.5 amps, you will not be able to use other appliances on the same wattage. Major electrical appliances use high amps that will use up most of a house’s electrical power. For instance; refrigerators and coffee makers use between 5-8 amps, portable ice makers use 19 amps while washer/dryers use 14-16 amps.

Factors to consider before running your air conditioner on 110

Running your air conditioner on 110 requires you to do more than just show up and plug into the power source. First of all, you will need to consider your conditioner’s power consumption. While most air conditioners use 13.5 amps while in operation, some have been known to go up to 18 amps when you start the RV and 16 amps while running it.

Overloading the power circuit will cause the circuit breaker to trip and shut down power in the entire circuit. If there is no circuit breaker, then the wires will overheat, melt the insulation and even cause a fire. A general rule of thumb when using 110 power is to avoid loading appliances that will use more than 80% of the available amperage.

Another factor to consider before using 110 power for your RVs air conditioner is how much power your RV uses upon starting up and during the running process. With most air conditioners, the cooling compressor and fan motor power up at the same time, leading to increased amperage draw. If this amperage is above 15, then your power source will overheat, shutdown and may even become damaged. To avoid this, always ensure that your air conditioners amperage is at least 20% less than your power source’s.

Using adapters to run your air conditioner on a 110 home circuit

One of the best ways to mitigate the problems that come with running a high amperage air conditioner on a 110 home circuit is to use a 30 amp adaptor. You will attach this to a heavy duty cable or dogbone before starting up your AC in order to protect your circuit. In addition, ensure that your air conditioner is running on a low setting i.e. below 15 amps in order to avoid overloading the circuit. Finally, do not use any other appliances while running your air conditioner.

If you must run an air conditioner that uses high amperage while plugged in to a home circuit, try and find out if the home has more than one circuit. Many homes today routinely have more than one 20 or 30 amp circuit which can help you run a high amperage air conditioner. This will help you avoid overloading the socket and prevent permanent damage to the circuit.