How to Use a Generator to Power a Camp Trailer A/C

How to Use a Generator to Power a Camp Trailer A/C
Powering your camp trailer air conditioner with a generator is possible if your generator is in good working order and capable of meeting the load capacity of the air conditioner you wish to use. Once your camp trailer air conditioner is plugged in and receiving electrical power, you can run it for as long as you like; however, your generator must have the load capacity to support such continuous use. Having a running air conditioner will come in handy especially on hot summer days when recreational vehicles can reach high temperatures under the hot sun.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fuel
Step 1
Locate your RV generator, which will be in an enclosed area, most likely, at the rear of your RV.
Step 2
Lubricate your RV generator before use. Fill the fuel tank with gasoline if you have a gasoline generator and diesel if you have a diesel generator. Some generators will not operate if the fuel level is below one-quarter full. Additional maintenance may also be required if your generator has been idle for several months.
Step 3
Check the wattage of your air conditioner to ensure that the electrical load does not exceed the load rating, which generally will not be the case with a single AC unit. However, an overload may occur if multiple appliances are in use at the same time. Check the data plate on the generator or check your owner’s manual for load rating information.
Step 4
Plug the AC power cord into the generator receptacle or AC line voltage, which is commonly used to power appliances from inside your camp trailer. The plug is accessible from inside your camp trailer via a 30-foot cord. It runs from your generator to the inside of your trailer camper, making it easier for you to power external electrical sources such as your air conditioner.
Step 5
Troubleshoot power failure in your generator. Check the RV power inverter or RV power converter if the AC does not power on. Check that the correct conversion has been used for your AC unit. An inverter changes DC to AC power, whereas a converter changes AC to DC power. Check the circuit breaker for a tripped or blown fuse. Change the fuse as directed by the manufacturer of your generator.

Tips & Warnings

RV generators have a cooling system, air intake and exhaust system that requires proper storage. Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding storage.
Your generator must be rated for continuous use if you will be running your AC over several hours at a time.
Always follow the load rating for your generator and adhere to maintenance intervals.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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