RV Clinic: Travel Trailer Power Surges

Q. A friend plugged his trailer’s power cord into a 50-amp circuit at a private campsite and fried the television, the refrigerator and the microwave, due to a power surge. My fifth-wheel uses a 30-amp power cord, and I am wondering if I should install a surge protector. We have traveled many years, including to Canada and Mexico, with no surge problems. Is this a common problem?

— R.V., Paradise, California

A. Power surges that are serious enough to damage your electrical equipment aren’t common, but like an equally uncommon earthquake or tornado, all it takes is one. There’s no reason to believe that power surges are more common than they once were, but given the increasing population demands on most municipal electric grids, erratic delivery and surges can indeed happen.

A heavy-duty surge protector is good insurance against such problems. Buy the best, highest-rated unit you can afford, and enjoy peace of mind when plugging in.

— K.F.

Ken Freund’s more than three decades of auto-repair experience and 20-plus years of RVing helped him author numerous books and articles on vehicle repair. In addition to RV Clinic and Performance, he writes the Powertrain column in MotorHome magazine. Ken has been a California Automotive VO-Tech and Smog-Test Program Instructor and an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician.


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