Can You Run RV AC On 110?Anthony Day
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RV power seems touchy because the wrong voltage can fry your electronics or fizzle them out. Knowing the right power for the electronics can prevent this.
While you don't want to risk ruining your RV's electronic circuitry, you also don't want to sit in hot weather without air conditioning. If 110V is the only electric supply you have, you just want the assurance that it won't affect your RV AC adversely.
You can run RV AC on a 110 Volt electric supply but must turn off other electronics. The common 110V household electric outlet can power an RV AC but doesn't have any surplus to light up the RV or power the outlets inside the camper.
But you're not confined to sitting in a dark yet appropriately air-conditioned RV just because a 110V outlet is the only one around. This article covers how you can run AC on 110V while also using lights and other devices on your RV.
The products you need to get to have a smooth experience are also listed, and each one costs less than $100. Depending on which approach you take, you're going to make the most of the situation without spending over a hundred dollars. Of course, free solutions are included as well. So let's get started.
Running RV AC on 110: The Best Practices
As mentioned earlier, when you run your RV AC on a limited-power outlet, you cannot operate any other appliance from the vehicle's circuitry. Unless your camper has an additional inlet, there is no other way to power the electronics than to turn off the AC or use a different power source. The following best practices are curated using these principles.
Use Battery-Operated Lighting
If you run RV AC on 110 Volts, you might notice that the electric supply to the other outlet is low. This is best signified by the lights dimming or repeatedly blinking. To avoid damaging other electronic components, you need to remove them from the RV power supply.
This is quite manageable as the electronics we often use, including smartphones, laptops, and tablets, don't necessitate being plugged into an electric outlet. Lights seem to be the only major exception and are the first indicators of a power outage.
To run an AC on 110V power, you should be ready to use a portable lighting setup that is pre-charged. While emergency lights can work, they don't provide the exact ambient lighting to replace the RV's inherent lighting. It is advisable to invest in a decent lighting setup to make sure your camping experience is positive.
Here are some battery-operated lighting products to consider:
- Dream Master Stick On Push Lights - These lights are the cheapest option to illuminate your RV interior and are the bare minimum you must have before running your RV AC on 110V power.
- HONWELL Wall Lamp - This is a pack of two wall lamps that can be stuck superficially in any place in the camper. The angle of the lamps remains adjustable, and they have decent illumination.
- Biglight LED Ceiling Light - Finally, the single brightest light on this list, the Biglight ceiling light is also battery-operated and can illuminate your camper while the AC occupies the 110V electric supply.
Balance AC Use With Fans
An air conditioner can be used perpetually but doesn't have to be on at all times. To reduce the electric burden on your RV's power supply, you can balance periods of running the AC with breaks powered by a portable fan. RV ACs are powerful enough to cool the camper, and once the environment is cooled, a simple fan generating a light breeze is enough to keep the interior comfy.
The more people there are in the RV, the longer the AC needs to run and the shorter the fan breaks are. This is because our breathing heats up the environment. Once the inside is hot, the fans need to be turned off, and the AC has to be turned on again.
This exercise is not feasible at night because you don't really need to run any electronics and can sleep with just the AC running. During the day, the breaks can be used to save power and allow other electronics to operate.
Koonie 8-Inch Foldaway Fan is one of the best fans for maintaining an AC-cooled environment after shutting off the AC. It has four-speed settings and is as portable as it is rechargeable. It is possible to carry this fan in different corners of the RV, depending on who is feeling hot. While not all its customers have used it in the RV, over 270 reviews and ratings placing it at 4.3 out of 5 stars speak for its performance.
Replace the Fridge With a Cooler
Depending on the nature of your trip, a fridge might be a necessity. But in instances where your RV is plugged into a 110V power supply, then chances are you're near a house. In that case, running your RV fridge isn't necessary. For short camping trips, bringing a cooler can be far more practical if you plan to run your RV AC.
Non-carbonated beverages like juice and vitamin water can be frozen so they can remain fresh even over an entire day out of the fridge. In cooler, frozen beverage containers can act as cooling agents similar to cooler ice. Do not buy a cooler bag as such containers have poor insulating duration.
Coleman Portable Rolling Cooler has a 5-day temperature maintenance period and can be used on longer trips. For anything aside from keeping meat frozen, this cooler is a sufficient replacement for an RV refrigerator. Of course, it still helps to have a 12V refrigerator in the camper.
It just can't be used while the AC is running. Moreover, the Coleman cooler has uses outside the RV AC balancing act. Over 11,000 reviews and ratings speak for its universal appeal. After all, this cooler has a global average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, with 93% of customers giving it 5 or 4 stars.
Convert to 220V if Your RV Can Run On 220V
Finally, the best solution for the RV power limitation is to get a better electric supply. A 220V outlet can power the camper's AC while simultaneously providing enough electricity to power other appliances in the RV. Unfortunately, most RVs run on a 120V outlet, and most transformers don't step up the voltage from 110V to 120V.
But if your RV is one of the recently released models with high electric demands, it might have a 220V hook-up demand. And while that might not be naturally present at the hook-up location, you can add a Voltage converter to do the job.
A 110V to 220V transformer improves the amps on your power supply, allowing you to use your RV AC alongside other devices. It is surprisingly low-priced, and if your RV trip is a week away, you should order a voltage convertor and test-run it.
But first, make sure that the RV can handle said voltage. PI 220V DC Power Convertor can be superficially attached to the 110V power supply and then used to connect a 110V power to 220V, which eliminates all your power allowance worries. That said, only a fraction of the RV owners will be able to use this solution.
What Is a Safe Voltage for My RV?
Unless the RV manufacturer expressly markets the camper as a 220V RV, it should be assumed to require a 120V supply. The maximum safe voltage is 180V going over, which can fry certain equipment with insufficient stepdown. Fortunately, the average US household power supply is 120V, which means an RV AC can be run on said power without having to turn off light wattage equipment like lights.
You can run RV AC on 110V but have to turn off other electronics connected to the RV. Since most homes have a 120V supply, you might be able to use lights, but the fridge has to be replaced by a cooler. If your RV can accommodate a 220V input, then investing in a transformer might be the best choice.