libertyinsurancebrokers.org/plugins/map13.php Dan has been a licensed, journey-level electrician for some 17 years. He has extensive experience in most areas of the electrical trade. Whether your RV lives at home all year or only for short periods while you prepare it for either summer use or a camping trip, have you ever thought it would be nice to have an outlet to plug it into? It can keep batteries charged and healthy during the winter and can provide a much more pleasant environment while working. Air conditioning is available while plugged in, the refrigerator can be operated and stocked for a trip, and tools from a vacuum to a drill can be used.
You won't be starting that trip with a dead RV battery, either. It will take a little effort, but the cost is reasonable and anyone that is handy around the house can add just such an outlet. There are three basic types of plugs used to supply power to RV's. All three are readily available from Amazon and most home improvement stores. You will need to choose the appropriate outlet for your specific RV:.
In addition, there is one more consideration in what size you will install. Adapters can be purchased—you likely have one already—that allow a 50 amp RV to plug into a 30 amp outlet, or a 30 amp RV to use a 20 amp outlet. The smaller the outlet, the easier and cheaper it will be to install, but the more limits it puts on the number and type of appliances your RV can use.
An RV requiring 50 amps, for example, will not be able to operate two AC units at the same time if plugged into a amp outlet, and an RV designed for 30 amps may not be able to run its air conditioner at all if it is plugged into a amp outlet. A refrigerator will not be a problem, but electric hot water heaters or other appliances with high current requirements will simply trip the breaker. The electrical box and cover plates are a little complicated; read the next section before buying one.
Here's where it begins to get interesting, for there is a very wide variety of options here. It's simple enough to say that 20 and 30 amp outlets require a single gang box one designed for a single outlet and that a 50 amp outlet requires a double gang box one designed for two outlets or a single, larger, outlet , but it doesn't stop there. If you're fortunate enough to park your RV indoors, perhaps in a garage or a dedicated shed, it is a little easier.
A 20 amp outlet can use a plastic box, preferably mounted flush with the surface of the drywall. Even an "old work" box will work here. A 30 or 50 amp outlet, though, requires some backing to the box to keep it from being pushed into the wall over time if it is mounted flush to the surface. RV plugs, as you already know, are sometimes difficult to plug in and require considerable force. If this is your choice, you will need to open up the wall and add some backing material, perhaps a 2X4, between the studs, and then mount the new box to that backing. Any sheetrock that has been cut out can then be re-installed with an opening to match the new box.
However, double-gang boxes are not designed to be flush mounted and will need an adapter—a "mud ring"—to bring the surface flush with the wall and to mount the amp outlet to. The other option is to mount the box on the surface of the wall— to nail or screw it through the sheetrock directly to the studding in the wall—and this is often done, particularly when a 50 amp outlet is being used. Mount the box off center from the stud so that there is room alongside the studding for a cable clamp and for the wire to enter the box.
It projects out from the wall a couple of inches but that is not generally objectionable. Flush mounting the box, inside the wall so that the surface of the box matches the wall covering, may be more difficult, particularly for the larger size outlets but it will make pulling wire to it easier as there is a large hole in the wall to "fish" the wire out of. Without that large hole that you can reach into it will be difficult to get the wire out of the wall.
Mounting your new outlet outdoors presents so many options that it is impossible to discuss them all here. Will it be flush mounted or surface? Is the mounting surface brick, cinder block, concrete, wood, vinyl or other?
Will it be remote from a building, requiring the wire to be underground? There are some general considerations, though:. With the planning finished and materials purchased and on hand, it's time to install the new wire between the electrical panel and the new outlet. If you have never pulled wire before, a suggestion is an article on adding a new outlet that is a good resource to read. It isn't about adding a whole new circuit as you will be here, but it does contain a section on how to run wire. Begin by making it possible to get the wire to the panel. In the photo below, the wall above the panel was opened just enough to make the top of the panel accessible.
Begin by pushing enough wire down to the panel, with about 3' extra, to get it inside. Do not open the panel yet or put the wire inside it. Run the wire to the new outlet location, pulling it out and free of the wall. Make sure to fasten it every 4', but do not install it on the surface of any wall within arm's reach where it can be touched or damaged. Not even a ceiling. If you have a metal box, install the cable clamp. Insert the wire into the box and tighten the cable clamp as necessary. Install the box into or onto the wall, making sure the wire is not kinked as you do so.
Replace any sheetrock that was removed to mount the box. Wire the new outlet.
Outlets that are 30 and 50 amp have labels on the back indicating which wire goes where - see the photos below of those outlets. The 50 amp outlet shows "white", "X", "Y" and "green" in this case - the "X" and "Y" terminals refer to the two, black and red, hot wires and it doesn't make any difference which goes where. Make absolutely sure the white and ground green or without insulation go where they are supposed to. A hint for 30 and 50 amp outlets; most RV plugs are designed so that the prongs are at right angles to the core, unlike an extension cord, and with the ground prong at the top, not the bottom, when it is plugged in.
Take a look at the cord on your RV and turn the outlet so that the cord will hang down, not up, when plugged in. Install the wired outlet into the box. Install any covers, as required. Remember that a requirement for any outdoor outlet is that it has a cover that can be closed with the cord plugged in, and that it will have to match the size of your box. Amazon carries such covers , as do home improvement stores although such stores often do not carry the metal covers, just plastic ones , in both single and double gang styles.
Make sure you buy one that hinges at the top, not on the side.
Now comes the only tricky part of the entire project—entering the panel box. Turn off the power!
I can't emphasize this enough. If you have a main breaker in the panel, a large breaker mounted differently than the others and stamped " amps" or more, turn it off. If your panel does not have a main breaker, it means that a different panel has a breaker that feeds the one you are working in. Turn that breaker off, and tape it off, or in some way ensure it won't be turned on by someone else while you are working. Even with a main breaker turned off, there is still live electricity in the panel at that main breaker, though, so take extreme caution.
If you touch those terminals you will receive a very nasty shock, and if you touch them with a screwdriver or other tool you will fill the air with droplets of molten metal.
As an electrician I will do my best to work in panels that even might be hot with one hand in my pocket and only one hand in the panel. Remove the panel cover and, if possible, check with a voltmeter or a non-contact voltage tester that the power is dead everywhere except the main breaker.
Installing a amp breaker and plug isn't easy, but you can do this without having to hire an electrician. You may need to install a amp breaker and plug . This tutorial shows you the basic steps of installing a new volt, amp, double-pole circuit breaker for a new amp appliance receptacle.
These non-contact voltage testers are handy safety equipment and are inexpensive. There is always one in my pocket when on the job and I highly recommend them for anyone working around electricity. Breakers in nearly all home panels are held in place by "hooking" the outside edge, the edge closest to the side of the panel, and pushing them firmly down in the center.
See the photos below that show removing and re-installing one. Locate the empty space you will put the new breaker in, make sure it is turned off, and install it into the panel box. It may take considerable force to get the breaker fully pressed down, but hammers or other tools are not necessary. If it won't go down with your fingers it hasn't been hooked just right. Bring the new wire through a cable clamp and into the panel. Tighten the screws on the cable clamp.
Strip off all the outer sheath of insulation inside the panel, being careful not to scar the insulation on the wire itself. This is probably going to bring your fingers and tools near to that main breaker - the one that still has power to it.
Never forget where your fingers are, or just where that knife you used to strip the cable sheath is. Neatly route the ground wire to the ground bus, following the path of existing wires, to where all the other grounds are terminated, loosen a screw as necessary and terminate the ground wire. Again, that bare ground wire is likely going to come close to the hot main breaker. The last wire to be terminated is the hot wire s , on the breaker itself. It doesn't matter which color goes to which screw on the breaker. Make sure the termination screws do not contact the wire insulation but don't leave a lot of bare wire sticking out, either.
Tug on each wire to see if you can pull it out - you should not be able to. Remove any blank spaces in the cover as necessary by grasping it with pliers and bending it back and forth until it breaks. Re-install the panel cover and any wall covering that was removed to facilitate getting the wire into the panel. Though, a single pole 30A breaker is kind of an orphan, hardly used for anything - the 2-pole breaker is commonly used for several purposes. Neutral goes to your neutral bus, ground goes to your ground bus. Hot goes to one side of the 2-pole breaker, the other side is unused.
Since he said his RV has a 4 pronged plug, I suspect that it has a 50A cord, which would typically plug into a 4 prong R. Then he has the wrong everything. Which would surprise me. People usually don't go off the rails that bad.