RV Living

Can You Run RV Air Conditioner on 15 Amp?

Here are easy methods to run your RV air conditioner on 15 Amp. You have to be careful when running the RV appliances on the 15 Amp.

Can You Run RV Air Conditioner on 15 Amp? Yes, you can run an RV air conditioner on 15 Amp. To do this, determine the amperage of the RV, then convert the amps by using different adapters. To convert 30 amps RV, use 15 amp male to 30 amp female adapter. After this, plug it into an electric outlet using a heavy extension cord for running the air conditioner. 

Can You Run RV Air Conditioner on 15 Amp?

The watts and amperes an RV air conditioner require to run depend upon the BTU unit. BTU is the abbreviation of the British thermal unit.

This value determines the power consumption of an AC in the RV. The higher the BTU higher is the watts and amps consumption of a device.

On average, an AC draws 13 to 16 amps current to operate in the vehicle. The amps also depend upon the operating mode of the AC.

It has a cooling and heating mode operating in the same body. The heating mode draws more current when operating in the RV.

There are two watts rating necessary for an air conditioner to run in the RV. First is the start-up watts that are higher than other watts.

Other watts are required to run the AC in the vehicle. These values depend upon the BTU and size of the RV. These values are not accurate but estimate watts and amps to run an AC. 

Comparison Chart for watts and Amps for RV Air Conditioners with BTU values

BTU value Startup wattage Running wattage Amps required
5000 BTU 1200 to 1400 300 to 400 3 to  5Amps
7000 BTU 1500 to 1700 500 to 700 4.5 to 6Amps
10000 BTU 1800 to 2000 650 to 700 7 to 10Amps
13500 BTU 2600 to 2800 1000 to 1200 8 to 12Amps
15000 BTU 3300 to 3500 1300 to 1600 11 to 166Amps

How does RV use electricity?

An RV has two electrical systems. It has 30 amps or 50 amps capacity to run the electric appliances.

  • A 12-volt direct current system  
  • A 120-volt alternating current system
  • DC electric system

A12 volts battery provides power to this system. You can use a single 12-volt battery to run any device in it. You can also use two 6 volts batteries in series to provide electricity.

 This system can run many appliances like a water pump, heater, and refrigerator. It gives start-up power to most of the devices in vehicles. When you plug RV into an external electric outlet, the 12 volts battery gets charged.

When you hook the system to the inverter, it converts the DC of the system to a 120 volt AC supply. Then you can run all the appliances in the RV.

 A generator is a power source of an AC system or a power cord plugged into an electric output. It can run large electric appliances like Air conditioners, TV, and kitchen appliances.

How to Run RV Air Conditioner on 15 Amp?

You can run any RV air conditioner on 15 amp these simple steps.

Determine the RV amperage capacity

It is essential to determine the amperage capacity to ascertain which types of devices you can run in the RV. Each RV has either 30amps capacity or 50amps capacity. There are two ways to determine it.

First, read the manual to get information about watts amperage and electricity of RV.

Secondly, you can check the plug or RV hookups to determine the amperage. These plugs have amperage mentioned on them. Besides written proof, count the prongs on each plug.

30amps plug has three prongs, 50 amps have 4 prongs. Some RVs have only one plug others have both types. 50amps RV has more power and capacity to run heavy appliances.

Determine the amperage of electric outlet

You have many options for an electric receptacle or outlet to plug in the RV. First is the generator that you can carry with you.

The amperage of the generator depends upon the value of watts and voltage. Divide watts by voltage to get the amps of the generator.

Another option is house electricity in the case of campgrounds. In this situation, if the receptacle has three prongs, the amps are 15 to 20. The amps are also present on the circuit breaker.

The 15 amps circuit can have other switches plugged into it. For safety, you should choose a 20 amps circuit so that the breaker might not trip.

Types of adapters and connection cord required

To connect RV to 15 amps, electric outlets collect these items.

Dog bone adapters

These are not regular adapters but have different configurations and shapes. Its shape is like a dog bone. It is specific for connecting RV to any electric source.

These adapters come in multiple configurations and sizes. Select them depending upon the amperage of RV and electric outlet amps.

  • For 50 amps RV 15 amp male to 50 amp female
  • For 30 amps RV 15 amp male to 30 amp female

Heavy-duty extension cord

These wires are specific for drawing 15 amps current from the electric outlet. These wires come with a third wire plug prong for grounding them. It has plugs with three slots for connecting appliance cords.

 It should have a length of approximately 50 to 55 feet. The indoors extension cords are not suitable for heavy load appliances.

Convert 50 Amp RV to 15 Amp

To convert 50 amps RV, you will need two adapters. First, take 30 amps male to 50 amps female adapter and plug it into 50 amps plug of the generator.

Then plug it into the second adaptor 15 amps male to 30 amps female adapter. Now plug it into a heavy-duty extension cord.

Convert 30 Amp RV to 15 Amp

When the RV is of 30 amp capacity, get only one 15 amp male to 30 amps female adapter. Remove 30 amps plug from the generator and hook it into the adaptor.

Then plug it into the heavy-duty extension cord. Now you can plug it into the circuit breaker. Be careful about the thickness and length of cords to ovoid heating and sparks. It should have a thickness of approximately 10 gauge and long enough to reach the circuit.

Limitation on use of appliances on 15 Amp RV

When you are running AC on 15 amps, there will be a limitation on other appliances. You can not run heavy load appliances simultaneously.

It will trip the circuit you can suffer from any damage due to overheating. Here is a list of all the devices to turn off. Make sure to turn off all unnecessary equipment.

  • Dryer
  • Microwave oven
  • Coffee maker
  • Toaster
  • TV
  • Roof air conditioner
  • But some light duty appliances are permissible to turn on like
  • TV
  • Lights
  • Refrigerator
  • Laptops
  • Mobile chargers

Safety tips for running an RV air conditioner on 15 Amp

Before plugging the RV into a circuit, follow all the safety tips to avoid any damage.

You should get information about the laws of the area where you are camping. Some cities are strict that you can not connect RV to house electricity.

First, you should take off all the jewelry and fancy clothes.

Wear rubber gloves to protect yourself from shock.

Then carefully turn off all the appliances of the RV.

Turn off the breaker of the house circuit in which to plug in the electric cords of the vehicle.

Plug the cord in it and reset the circuit breaker.

Check the dehumidifier and wipe out all the water or leaks from it. Otherwise, it can make the situation worse.

When the RV is plugged in, check the Cords frequently to prevent it from cutting by lawnmowers or cars running over it.

Soft start RV

It is a device to reduce the start-up power of air conditioners in RV. It works by smoothing the starting power by 60 to 70 % of the AC compressor.

By installing it along with RV AC, you can run it on 15 or 20 amps. You can also run two air conditioners on 30 amps. For this purpose, you will need two devices in RV. It will prevent any shock or injury due to circuit tripping or breakage. You can install it on the rooftop or on AC covers.

You can run other appliances due to a reduction in the power consumption of the AC compressor. Its installation is simple and takes only 1 hour, and you can use the RV air conditioner on 15 Amp.

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