Do You Need a Surge Protector for Your RV?

Wondering if you really need a surge protector for your RV? The answer is YES if you want to be protected from electrical threats and keep your RV safe.

man in blue jeans installing surge protector

One of the finest decisions you can make for your RV is to get a surge protector as soon as possible. It’s essentially one-time protection for your RV against external electrical problems.

Surge protectors and electrical management systems (EMS) maintain a constant watch on the power going into your RV. If the voltage dips too low or the number of volts spikes, the surge protector will act as a barrier for your RV, shutting off the power.

“Do I need a surge protector?” you might be asking. Any experienced RV owner will almost certainly tell you that it’s one of the best purchases you can make in your vehicle.

Let’s go through a few common RV power problems that a surge protector or EMS system may assist prevent to give you a better understanding of potential electrical risks.

What does a surge protector do?

One of the most important things a surge protector gives you is protection from lightning strikes. Essentially, a recreational vehicle (RV) is a single huge target for lightning strikes.

They are particularly sensitive to lightning strikes and power surges because of the metal frame and the fact that they are regularly parked and linked to other RVs.

Improper wiring or faulty power pedestals can cause major problems with your trailer or RV. Owners and staff at campgrounds may be ignorant of these concerns, increasing the danger of harm.

When the power pedestal is switched on, the surge protector protects your RV from electrical surges. A lightning strike, a power pedestal problem, or even a surge of energy from the electrical cables might trigger this.

The surge protector, rather than frying your RV, stop it from occurring in the first place. A single power surge may swiftly ruin your RV’s transfer switch, making it impossible to utilize shore power or a generator.

The available power protection variants are much better. These are more sophisticated surge protectors that defend against a wider range of hazards, not only electrical surges.

The EMS versions protect against low and high voltage. Because the standard A/C voltage is 120 volts, your RV’s power will be cut off if the voltage goes below 104 volts or climbs beyond 132 volts, protecting your appliances and electronics.

Another issue that comprehensive protection models defend against is miswirings at the power pedestal. The EMS will be able to identify whether the pedestal is connected backward or if there is no ground.

It will then switch off the power, ensuring that this potentially fatal situation does not infiltrate your RV. It’s a very cost-effective insurance policy.

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EMS’ are generally more expensive than surge protectors since they give so much more protection. I feel that going the EMS way is definitely worth it because we’ve had so many power outages throughout our time on the road.

What are the different types of surge protectors?

Portable units are useful since they are simple to attach to the power pedestal and your RV. You don’t have to do anything special to make them work; just plug them in. They’re weatherproof, so you can use them outside.

They offer the same degree of security as hardwired devices, therefore there is no distinction. Many portable units come with a metal ring around the cable part of the unit that you may fasten with a chain or cycle lock when you leave your campground.

Hardwired devices need a bit more effort to set up, but they have certain benefits over portable devices.

The hardwired gadget will be put in close proximity to your shore cable. This might be at your breaker panel or near where your power wire enters the RV. These gadgets must be kept out of the elements because they are typically not waterproof.

Cut the shore cord and attach it to the EMS shore power input terminals after selecting the optimum place for the installation.

Make sure the end coming from the power pedestal is linked to the EMS shore power input terminals. Connect the other end to the EMS unit’s coach load output terminals (which goes to the breaker panel).

Once the item has been properly connected and installed, it is ready to use. It’s a setup that you can forget about.

Even though installation is more difficult, you won’t have to worry about theft, forgetting to plug it in at a campsite, or abandoning it at a campsite once it’s done.

Most hardwired systems have a remote digital display because you won’t be able to see the device very easily. The remote display will show any error codes as well as how the machine is doing for your convenience.

Why do I need a surge protector for my RV?

To keep any electrical spikes from reaching your RV, you’ll need a surge protector. This might be the consequence of a power outage or a lightning storm. The surge of power will severely destroy any plugged-in appliance or electronic device.

A surge will most likely destroy the circuit boards in your air conditioner or RV refrigerator since the electronics are highly sensitive.

Because there’s no way of predicting when anything like this could happen, the only way to be truly prepared is to have a surge protector that is always monitoring for such situations.

Because the EMS’s also filter out “dirty energy,” the risk of damaging sensitive equipment is reduced.

You’ve certainly heard the term “brown out,” which refers to voltage dips generated by the power supply, which can be intentional or unintentional.

This happens all the time in places where there’s a risk of wildfire in the summer or when there’s an unexpectedly high demand for electricity.

Power suppliers will reduce voltage to relieve the stress on the system, which can cause a lot of damage to your rig’s fragile equipment.

An EMS may cost a few hundred dollars, but when compared to the cost of a rooftop air conditioner or a new refrigerator, it’s a little investment.