Yes, you do need a surge protector for you RV. There are numerous electrical threats such as low voltage issues and power surges that can cause damage to your RVs electrical systems.
Purchasing a surge protector for your RV is one of the smartest investments that you can make immediately after buying it. It’s essentially a one time insurance purchase to protect your RV from outside electrical problems.
Surge Protectors and Electrical Management Systems (EMS) constantly monitor the power going to your RV. If the voltage gets too low or there is a spike in the number of volts, the surge protector will act as a barrier to your RV and shut off the power.
However you still might be asking yourself, do I really need a Surge Protector?
A good surge protector will costs between $200 – $350, which is not cheap by any means. That being said, the cost to repair an electrical issue caused by a power surge or low voltage overheating can costs between $300 – $3,500.
Simply ask any experienced RV owner, and they will almost certainly tell you, that its one of the best safeguards that you can make for your RV.
Let’s go over a few common RV power issues that a surge protector or EMS system can help prevent to give you more understanding on potential electrical threats.
4 Reasons You Need A Surge Protector For Your RV
1. Protection from Lightning Strikes
An RV is essentially one giant target for lightning strikes. With all the metal framing, and the fact that they are often parked and connected in place next to other RVs, they are at an increased risk of exposure to lightning strikes and power surges.
2. Campground Electrical Problems
I can’t even begin to tell you the number of issues that many RV parks tend to have with their electricity. Improper wiring or faulty power pedestals can cause significant problems to your Trailer or RV. These problems can go unnoticed by campground owners and staff which increases the likelihood of potential damage.
3. Basic Power Surges
A simple power surge can easily damage your RVs transfer switch making it impossible for shore power and generator usage.
4. Brown Outs
This is essentially a low voltage problem (likely under 100 Volts) that can be caused by the power company when something like a transformer fails.
This can cause overheating to your AC motors and converters. An EMS system does not fully protect against these problems, but it will shut off power to your RV.
Different Types of Surge Protectors
The type of surge protector you purchase will depend on whether or not you want to install it permanently into your RV or simply plug it in.
These are the easiest option, you just plug them into the pedestal at the RV park. If you decide to go the portable route, be sure that it comes with an anti-theft system.
You will need to find a suitable place for it within your RV and I recommend having a professional complete the install when working with anything electrical. At the very least have a certified inspector review the installation for safety reasons.
Recommended Surge Protectors
There are a number of highly rated surge protectors on the market that are made specifically for the RV industry.
I will recommend a couple, however, these are just my personal opinion and I suggest that you do your own thorough research on the subject and what the best will be for you and your RV.
Another note of advisement would be to make sure you check the manufactures warranty and installation instructions.
Many manufacturers will void the warranty if the installation is not performed by a qualified RV dealer (Including the ones below).
The recommendations below contain affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.
1. Progressive Industries EMS-PT50X (Portable) – Get it here.
2. Progressive Industries EMSHW50C Surge Protector (Hard wired) – Get it here.
You may hear some RV owners say that they have camped for years without a surge protector and never had an issue, which is fine. However, you should know that power surges pose a real threat to your RV and most experienced RV owners will not go without one.
It’s simply not worth the risks or potential costs.
I am a well traveled Marine Corps veteran that enjoys the outdoor and nomadic lifestyle that RV living provides. I am also a member of the National RV Inspectors Association (NRVIA.org). As the founder of Camperguide.org my goal is to provide you with well researched information so that you can enjoy the best of the RV lifestyle.