How Much Electricity Does An RV Use? Find Out The Answer Here

Before you plan to make your RV a traveling dream home, you need to know the relative expenses upfront. Your comfort homes will not be complete without essential electric appliances.

Your RVs require minimal electronic devices to work efficiently. You should know how the system works if you don’t want to burn a hole in your budget.

Therefore, you need to know the consumption, charges, and available sources of electricity. Here are all essentials you need to know about RV electricity consumption.

How much electricity do you think it will consume? Let’s take a close look.

How Much Electricity Does An RV Use?

Your RV has two power sources. AC and DC. AC means alternating current, it runs big appliances like air conditioners, microwave ovens, etc.

DC is direct current, it is stored inside batteries and it is used to run fans, lights, and other small appliances.

AC is charged directly from electric hookups, whereas batteries charge automatically when connected to a power source. You will be surprised to hear how much electricity your RV will consume a day.

The amount of electricity that your RV needs to power both these units differs. AC requires a constant power source to draw energy from, unlike DC.

So, your requirement of electricity depends on the electronics you have inside your RV and the efficiency of your power sources.

It is estimated that a modest-sized RV uses around 20 kWh a day if you are using big appliances, including AC and television.

But, if you are using only limited resources like television, fridge, and lights, the rate can be cut down to 5 to 10 kWh a day. So in short, these rates depend upon how luxurious you want to live in an RV.

How Much Does Electricity Costs?

The average electricity cost in the United States is 13.30 cents per kWh. According to our numbers, your RV will consume around 20 kWh(20000 W) a day.

So, if we calculate the electricity charges for a day, it will cost around $2.8. So, the monthly expense would be around $90.

But this amount varies depending on your usage, the age, size and make and model of your RV.

It varies from campsite to campsite in different states. 

But, if your RVs are luxurious and use all high power-consuming amenities, the electric charges will shoot up. 

Electricity costs of all USA states vary depending upon your location, consumption, time of the year, and other market disruptions. Here is an average pricing chart.[1]

State Electricity cost
New Hampshire20.1
New Jersey16
New Mexico12.6
New York17.3
North Carolina12
North Dakota10.2
Rhode Island23.7
South Carolina13.1
South Dakota12.8
West Virginia11.8

[alert-announce]Note: This data is compiled from online catalogs on cost information by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).[/alert-announce]

Do campgrounds charge for electricity?

Private RV campgrounds will charge you for electricity based on your RV size. But to your relief, most of the public RV spots won’t charge from you. It is free.

The power that you can draw from hookups is measured in amps. Your RV can be charged from either 50 amp or 30 amp power sources.

You can use lower amp power sources to charge your RV but it is dangerous. 50 amp power sources are often more expensive than 30 amp power sources.

Most RV sites just have 30 amp power sources, so do a bit of research and pick your RV spot. Private camping sites won’t allow charging 50 amps using 30 amps.  Don’t worry, some places won’t charge for power hookups.

Where Does Most Of The Electricity Go?

You might be surprised to hear the amount of energy drawn by your electrical appliances.

Air conditioners are the greatest energy mongers among all appliances. If you use AC, for an average of 8 hours a day, it will consume around 13 kWh(13000 W).

Yes, no wonder your bills are high. Apart from air conditioners, televisions, refrigerators, ovens, kettles, and other kitchen appliances draw a fair amount of energy.

If your motor home is connected to an engine, it can directly draw power from it, but if it’s not, it will start draining from your batteries and empty it.

 So, pay attention to how long you turn on these devices. If you turn it on the whole day, they will draw power even more emptying your batteries.

For example, you might leave your mobile or lap chargers on unnecessarily. This will cost you additional charges.

Can I use solar power for my RV?

Using solar energy to fuel up your RV is an eco-friendly alternative and cost-effective.

You need to invest a good amount of money to set up the panels and then it will charge the batteries automatically with the sunlight it receives.

It can be used to charge small devices. But it will work out well only during summers when sunlight is abundant. Besides, RV solar panels require less maintenance.

Also, you cannot turn on AC full time using solar energy because the production of electricity is comparatively lower to direct power hookups.

But it will save you when you are out of other options. If you are a person who travels less frequently and likes staying in a campground with power sources, solar panels won’t benefit you much.

It is a better option for adventure road trips where you can’t find good RV spots. It will help you to sustain longer without running out of power.

Another problem is that you will need to change the panels once in every five years. Considering that the installation would cost around $1000, this is pretty expensive.[2]

Tips for saving electricity on RV

As we have already seen, using electricity wisely in RV is no joke. You need to be aware and prepared for extreme situations including power shortage. Here are some tips that you can follow to save electricity:

  • Use high-quality electrical appliances. This will last longer and work efficiently.
  • Install a power breaker or surge protector in your RV to prevent short circuits and meltdowns due to an overload of power. It will cut off higher voltage and save your devices.
  • Use power banks to charge your mobiles instead of chargers, since they draw more power.
  • Travel according to the seasons. Go to places where there are more shade and trees to avoid using full-time AC. 
  • Do not use heaters, coolers, ovens, and toasters unnecessarily because it will take a lot of electricity to heat its coils. Go for cheaper options like a cooking stove instead of an induction.
  • Use blanket curtains to provide more insulation and warmth inside your RV, when you are camping in cold climates. Also, you can go to lush green areas where the climate is cooler during summers.[3]

Final Thoughts

If you don’t want to sweat seeing the electricity bill, plan and travel accordingly. Research everything before you travel.

Learn more about the places you go and the cheaper options you can find there. If you have any more tips to share regarding the effective use of electricity in your rigs, feel free to drop a comment below.

References & Citations:




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