Can I plug my RV into an extension cord?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can I plug my RV into an extension cord? We will explain how you can safely hook up your RV to a home connection. We will also explain how the RV electrical systems work and what you need to pay attention to. 

Can I plug my RV into an extension cord?

Yes, you can plug your RV into an extension cord, but you will also need a 15/20 Amp adapter for your RV’s electrical hookups to prevent them from overheating. 

Some of the best adapters for plugging in your RV safely into an extension cord are:

  • The ProPlus 373519 coupling Adapter is the perfect solution if proper connections are not available. It is suitable for caravans, RV s, boats, campers. With this simple adapter, we will convert the camping plug into a plug for our extension cord.
  • The Schwabe 61409 CEE Extension is a safe solution that allows you to connect the RV  to the camping socket without adapters, the best is an extension cord equipped with Cetact plugs.
  • The CEE Extreme Signal H07BQ-F 3G camping cable drum is almost indestructible and 10% lighter than normal rubber cables. Very robust housing made of highly resistant special plastic with a galvanized steel frame. IP44 degree of protection for permanent outdoor use. Therefore an indispensable companion when going camping.

Can I plug my 50 amp RV into the outlet of my home?

You most likely need to set your RV up to be able to. We relate to the standard 3-pin plug you use at home. Since your RV will need at least a 30/50 Amp hookup to power the rig, you’ll be limited in what you can run connected to a 15/20 home amp electrical outlet.

How do I hook up an RV to my house?

To be able to hook up your RV to your house electrical system, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the home electric box.
  2. Install a 50 amp double hot pole circuit breaker in a free location.
  3. Route the four-conductor wire to the home RV’s hookup location, using plastic ties or cable ties to position it so that it is not vulnerable to accidental damage or risk of injury. 

The RV’s electrical system explained

An RV has a 12-volt electrical system and a 120-volt or 220-volt system, depending on the country. The 12-volt system runs on one battery (or, in some cases, multiple batteries), and powers things like the start-up of the water heater, oven, and refrigerator. The water pump, the carbon monoxide detector and many other things work thanks to this system. 

The 120-volt system is powered by an electrical outlet or generator, and powers everyday items such as kitchen appliances, the television, and other appliances.

The 12-volt system in the RV  must have a total of 12 volts. This can be accomplished with a single 12-volt battery or multiple 12-volt batteries connected together in a parallel circuit. However, using two 6-volt batteries connected together in a series circuit is generally better than using a single 12-volt battery. 

This setting will generally give a much longer battery life, or what is known as a deeper discharge time. The downside to using two 6-volt batteries is that two batteries take up more space than one. However, that tradeoff may be worth it if your camping needs call for longer battery life.

When plugged into a camping RV electric pedestal (or any power source), its 12-volt battery (or batteries) automatically charge. If you’re camping dry, you can use your batteries to power anything that runs on 12 volts. Adding an inverter to the mix will convert the 12-volt battery’s direct current to 120-volt alternating current.

 You can power household appliances that need 120 volts and use electrical outlets in your vehicles. It’s good to know how long to discharge it, as the RV’s 12-volt system, like all batteries, will eventually run out of power and need to be recharged.

Before plugging in your RV 

When you enter your campsite it is tempting to plug it in and turn it all on. However, you need to keep safety in mind, especially when it comes to electricity. First, it’s a good idea to test the connection with a polarity tester to make sure the camp wiring is in good shape. This is a relatively common and affordable tool and is an excellent insurance policy against inadvertent damage to the electrical wiring in your RV.

Then, before plugging it in, take some safety precautions and turn off everything, both the electrical system and the electrical pedestal of your RV. Once the power cord is securely plugged in, turn it on. You may also consider installing a surge protector to protect your RV  electrical system from potentially damaging surges. This protector is insurance against a larger and more destructive electrical problem.

Regular maintenance and inspection are the easiest way to catch a small problem before it becomes a big problem. Observe your batteries and all of their connections frequently. A good time may be just before leaving on a trip. Check to make sure all connection points are secure. That nothing looks damaged or frayed, and that everything is clean with no signs of corrosion. If you see something that looks bad, it’s a good idea to check it out.

Also, know where the electrical panels are in your motorhome. If something doesn’t light up the way it should, first look to see if a circuit has tripped or if a fuse has blown. You can usually see if a fuse has blown, but sometimes you can’t. 

In that case, you can use a small test light that will illuminate if a fuse is good. If you replace a fuse and it blows right away, it’s a good sign of a bigger problem. You can also try following power lines to determine if there is a connection problem, although these can often be difficult to find without professional help.


As you can see, you have different solutions from the simplest adapter to more sophisticated ones, that will allow you to have different RV electrical connections that will make life easier on any campsite.

Always be very careful with electricity. If you are comfortable doing electrical work, then you already know the safety precautions to take. Turn off the power at the source before working, treat all cables as if they are live, use tools with non-conductive handles, etc. 

However, if you are not sure of your ability to work with electricity, do not take a chance with your motorhome or your life. Have your vehicle repaired only by people who have knowledge and experience in recreational vehicle repairs.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on Can I plug my RV into an extension cord?

Can you run an RV generator while plugged into shore power?

Yes, you can run an RV generator while plugged into shore power. We get how this may cause concern as it seems counterintuitive, but remember that RV generators are built with a transfer switch, thus all the power will come from the shore power while the generator will remain charged and risk-free. 

Can you plug an RV into a house outlet?

To plug an RV into a house outlet you will have to connect your RV to the house’s electrical system. We told you how to do it step-by-step in this article. 

Where can I plug in my RV for free?

You can plug an RV for free in community parks, churches, terminals with camping permissions and RV dealers. 

How to install an RV power supply?

The safest and simplest way to install a home connection for a recreational vehicle or RV is to use a power pedestal manufactured for this purpose. Power pedestals are similar to the hookups in most campsites, usually made with a built-in 50 amp outlet and a 30 amp outlet and one or two 20 amp outlets. 


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