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What Surge Protector is best for my RV?

A common question amongst RVers is what is a surge protector, and why do I need one? While a basic surge protector is better than nothing, it is highly recommended to use an electrical management system (EMS). The EMS offers far superior protection for the electronics in your RV, potentially saving you thousands in repairs.

Potential Electrical Problems

There are many factors that can cause damage to your electrical system or appliances. Some campgrounds may have miswired and worn out pedestals or surges in power.

Power Surges

One of the main causes of electrical damage is a power surge, this is when too much power comes through your RV. This spike in voltage is commonly caused by lightning. While it could damage your surge protector, it will save you costly repairs to your RVs electronics and appliances. The only way to completely avoid damage is to unplug your RV until the storm has passed.

Low Voltage

Having too little voltage can also cause damage to your electrical system. This typically happens when there is a heavy electrical demand. For example your at a campground in the summer full of RVs using lots of power, this can overload the campground’s electrical system and cause a brownout.

Wiring Issues

Some older campgrounds may have outdated electrical systems or incorrectly wired pedestals. If electricians don’t have knowledge of RV electrical standards they could miswire the pedestal. A common issue is when electricians install a 240-volt plug when most RVs use 120 volts.

Surge Protector or Electrical Management System (EMS)?

There are two types of surge protectors. A basic surge protector plugs into the power pedestal at the campground, then you plug your RVs electrical cord. This is similar to a surge protector typically found in your home. A surge protector will only protect your RV from a surge in power, nothing else.

The second type of protector is an Electrical Management System (EMS). The EMS has more features and protects against more situations than a standard surge protector. The EMS checks the incoming voltage levels and will trip a relay to disconnect your coach if the voltage goes too high or too low. It also protects against reversed polarity on miswired campsite pedestals.

Permanent or Portable

When choosing surge protectors there are two options, either portable or hard-wired. Portable protectors plug into the power pedestal at a campground while a permanent surge protector is hard-wired into your RV. Both have their own benefits and drawbacks, below is a list comparing both.

If you own an RV, a surge protector is a must. While a standard surge protector is better than nothing an EMS is a small investment to protect all of your expensive appliances and electronics. If you would like more information our knowledgeable parts department is here to help. Call us at 1-800-265-9019 or shop our online parts store.