Everything You Need to Know About RV Surge Protectors

Posted on 08/16/2018 by RV Repair and Maintenance, RV Products, Parts and... 373
Everything You Need to Know About RV Surge Protectors

It has happened to us all at one point or another. We are enjoying ourselves in our RV on a hot summer day and suddenly the power goes out.  Not only is this an inconvenience, but it can also cause even bigger headaches if you blow a circuit board in your RV. Circuit boards can be a costly repair depending on what components were damaged during the surge or outage.  It is best to plan ahead and prevent this problem from occurring by purchasing a Surge Protector.

What Causes Surges or Outages?

We generally see surges or outages happen when a motorhome or trailer is parked at a campground, whether it is for a weekend or as a full-timer. The campground’s power supply itself can be unstable, which we often see in secluded or rural sites.  There can be other factors, like storm-related outages or simple overuse. Think of the incredibly hot days we have had this summer when every rig in the park is running their A/C full blast. Something’s gonna give! All these reasons and more just go to show you how important it is that your RV have surge protectors to prevent unwanted damage to equipment, appliances, and more.

Let’s start by having a look at what surge protectors are available and which will best suit your needs.  There are 4 different types that range in price from $100 - $900. It all comes down to what you are looking for and the protection you want and need for your travel trailer.

If all you need is a basic surge protector, you can purchase one for approximately $100 - $200.  This will protect your RV from small surges and act as a large fuse, cutting out when it detects unstable power.  This surge protector simply gets plugged into the park’s outlet and you then connect your RV power supply cord to it.  These are very reasonably priced devices that tend to work well. The only downside is that they may be destroyed if a large power surge occurs and will need to be replaced.

The next level of protection is available for approximately $200 - $400.  These protectors have the same features as the basic units but will also alert you if there is a problem with the park’s power supply, like reversed polarity and open grounds. This will allow you to disconnect from the unstable supply and protect your home away from home.

The third option is a Smart Surge protector, a high-end product that runs in the $400 - $500 price range.  It offers the same protection as the less expensive options plus so much more. This device will protect your RV by automatically disconnecting itself from the power source you are plugged into if it detects any surges or instability. It will reset and attempt to reconnect on its own.  Another great feature that comes with some of these models (particularly the “Power Watchdog” from Hughes Autoformer) is that you are able to monitor your trailer’s power voltage and current amperage right from your smartphone!

If you are looking for a top-of-the-line product to protect your RV, you need a Voltage Regulator like the Hughes Autoformer. These will run you between $700 - $900.  This regulator offers not only standard surge protection but it can also boost the supply of power to your RV. This will come in especially handy if you are at a site where supply is low due to high demand by other users. So, while other campers may be without power, you will remain connected.

Now that you are aware of exactly what your options are you will need to consider whether you would like a portable or a hard-wired protector.  Portable protectors are very simple to use. Just plug into the campsite’s power supply and you are good to go. Some folks may have concerns that their portable surge protector will be easily stolen.  Would-be thieves can be easily thwarted with a Universal Lock Hasp that allows you to lock the surge protector directly to your motorhome or trailer’s power cord.

If you would rather have your surge protector hardwired directly inside your rig, this can easily be done.  The surge protector will be permanently attached inside where your main power comes in. The only downside for some is that should you decide to trade in or sell your RV, you will not be able to take this with you.  

With this knowledge in hand, it is now time to have a look at the different makes and models that are available to you.  Check out all of your options by simply clicking here!

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