Connecting Trailer To House Current

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rkwingo

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I have a new 2021 Forest River Vibe 28RL travel trailer. My wife and I are taking it to stay with my daughter in Indiana. We planned to sleep in the trailer at her home and run one of the two AC units (rated at 13500 BTU/1400 watts = cooling) when we sleep, The problem is that my daughter's house only has standard 15A/120V AC current.

If I only operate ONE of the two air conditioners in the trailer, can I plug a 30A to 15A converter into the trailer's power input, connect it to a 10 Gauge 15A/120V/1875 Watt capacity extension cord and plug the cord into the home's outside power outlet - and run the AC unit?

Also, if the answer to the above question is yes, I would also like to put a surge protector inline with the house outlet. Should that be a 15AMP surge protector or a 30AMP surge protector?
 
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Colorado Springs, CO
Your going to overrun a 15A with a 13500 pretty quickly and often. There are ways to make it work by adding a soft start unit but when you add in other loads (converter, lights, laptops, electric shaver I keep plugged in....) things get dicey quickly.

for surge protection I would go with the rating of the lowest capacity part of the circuit so 15A
 

Larry N.

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There's a fair chance that you can run one A/C off of a house 15A circuit, if you're not running much else and there's not really much else on that same house circuit inside. Of course "...onion" could be correct in some cases (but I've done it on many occasions with no problem), but some of that also is dependent on how long the extension cord is, 20 ft. vs 50 or 100 ft.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The most a single 15A outlet can produce is 1800 watts, and it can only for that for 30 minutes or so before tripping its breaker. And if that outlet is sharing a 15A circuit with other outlets, the available power to the RV may be much less. That 1400 watt a/c unit is going to consume most of what is available, so your fridge & water heater can't be using 120vac power too. Other consumers include a microwave, computer, phone chargers, etc.. Your RV is also consuming 12v power that is converted form 120vac, so things like lights and water pump are also indirectly using 120vac. It all adds up to a surprising total.

So the answer is yes you can, but the limitations are probably greater than you realize. Be prepared to be resetting the breaker in her house fairly regularly. I suggest plugging a breaker-protected outlet strip or adapter to the outlet, in hope that it's breaker trips before the main one inside the house does. That's usually more convenient to reset.
 

SpencerPJ

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You will be much more happy to open the checkbook and have a 50 amp RV plug installed outside. Indiana in August can get rather hot and humid, one AC in that larger travel trailer will be marginal. You might also consider a Macerator Pump, and send your gray and black tank debris down a sewer cleanout (depending on the circumstances)
 

JayArr

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Since you only want to run the AC at night when you're asleep and you probably won't be running anything else (turn off the fridge, HW heater, etc) you should be OK. My AC runs on a 15A service from a plug in my garage. Like Gary says, try to make sure you plug into a branch circuit in the house that has nothing else on it.
 

Isaac-1

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As said above you should be ok if you use a large short extension cord and turn off everything except the air conditioner (this includes setting the refrigerator to gas mode or turning it off). Also periodically check to see if the plug on the extension cord is getting hot.
 

SeilerBird

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St Cloud Florida USA
I have spent a lot of time camping and running my a/c on a 15 amp circuit. If you do overload it than simply reset the breaker. I would also suggest feeling the extension cord to be sure it is not getting warm. If it does get warm then you need a larger size wire extension cord.
 

Oldgator73

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I was fortunate enough to be able to park our TT close enough to an outside outlet at our house so the power cord reached w/o having to use an extension cord. The outlet was on its own circuit. But, if I ran the AC I could not use the microwave. I’ve also done the same thing at friends and families homes but utilized an extension cord. Best setup was at my cousins in Lutz, Fl. Parked behind his barn. Had power and water and the barn had a bathroom. Ran the grey water out to the lawn.
 

Lou Schneider

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In addition to watching your power usage so you don't trip the breaker, keep an eye on the voltage in the trailer when the A/C is running. A Kill-A-Watt power meter, a plug in voltmeter or even a multimeter can do this. Unless the house outlet is close to the breaker box, when you draw a load you'll lose voltage along the house wiring just like using a long extension cord. You can hurt the air conditioner if you run it with less than 109 volts at the trailer.
 

rkwingo

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Moseley, VA
Thanks you very much for the helpful replies.

I found out that the outlet from the house is a 20 AMP line. I am able to buy a 15 AMP to 50 AMP power cord adapter, but not a 20 AMP to 50 AMP power cord adapter (can't find one anywhere on the internet). Since I am plugging into the 20 AMP house outlet using a 10 Gauge 20 AMP extension cord, can I plug the extension cord into the 15 AMP connector coming out of the adapter? I know that's not the preferred path, but I am using 10 Gauge electrical wire in both the extension cord and the power cord adapter. Any concerns?
 

ChasA

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Yes, it should work just fine. Most 20 amp outlets in houses are 15/20 amp. If the outlet has 2 vertical slots and a round ground hole, it will work.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
Let me describe some outlets.. In all cases the NEUTRAL on this is on the left and I'm ignoring the ground

15 am |
20 amp -- |
15/20 amp |- | or is it -||
(Without looking I'm not sure)
The 15 amp and 20 amp plugs both fit the standard 20 amp house outlet.
You can make your own 20 amp adapter (i have)
You need
A 20 amp plug
a foot of 12 or 8 ga wire
A TT-30 outlet
And hopefully the plug and outlet are color coded
White wire goes to the "Slivery" screw
Black to the "Coppery"
And bare or green to the Green
 

Jkoht

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Jul 24, 2017
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You can do it as long as it's basically the only thing you're running, and there's nothing else in the house running in that circuit. I know this from practical experience running an AC off a 15 amp outlet and around 80 feet of heavy extension cable at my cabin. In fact we ran a camper like that for 5 years or more before we got around to burying a dedicated 30 amp service. We could even use an electric heater in the winter to help supplement the propane furnace.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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You can still get 20A from that outlet using a 15A-rated adapter, but it's probably going to get hot if you pull even 15A continuous, like on a hot afternoon running a/c. The adapter might even show signs of melting. Do NOT try that with the typical plastic plug that has 30A slots on one side and 15A prongs on the other - it will surely melt. Get the "dog bone" type where the 15A plug and the 30A receptacle are separated by several inches of heavy wire. That will shed the heat much better. Something like this:
 

ziplock

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Dec 3, 2017
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It might be safer to find a campground near your daughter's house.

That way you won't have to spend every hour wondering and worrying if you really understand all this electric.

Hope all goes well!
 

HueyPilotVN

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Jun 5, 2012
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Lake Havasu City, AZ
I think that you will not need this, but here is a link to installing an outside electric hookup. It includes pictures of the wiring at both the panel and the outlet.

The photobucket pictures might not work but I later posted regular reduced pictures

 

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