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Old 07-17-2011, 10:38 AM   #1
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Electrical question-Is it safe to run my A/C

I have a 15 amp plug mounted on the exterior of my house where my RV is stored the plug is wired into a 20AMP braker at the braker box; is it safe to run my A/C on this plug? Is the plug only putting out 15 AMPS or 20AMPS since it is on a 20AMP braker?
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:49 AM   #2
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You can do it, but it is not recommended. 20 amp plugs usually have the sideways slit in them and are generally on a dedicated circuit. A 15 amp plug can usually do up to 20 amps (if fed by 12 gauge), but again it is not recommended.

If you decide to do it, here are my recommendations -- turn off all breakers except the main and the AC and keep a close eye on your voltage. I have seen the converter alone pull 8 amps so the combo with the AC will put you way over. If you need your fridge, keep it on gas.

I highly recommended an EMS system if you want to do this on a regular basis. It will protect the camper if the voltage drops too low.
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:53 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply; I would only need the A/C and a TV for the kids to watch just for driveway camping. I do have a surge guard that will trip if voltage gets below 103 volts and I have a volt meter plugged into an outlet in the RV to monitor voltage. I just wanted to make sure I would get close to 20 AMPS for the A/C upon start-up in order not to damage it.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:05 AM   #4
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I think you will be ok then, but you may have a problem with the Television. If I remember right, I think it is on the same breaker as the converter. You might want to check that and you might have to be a little creative there.

When you try it (you know you will! ), just watch the voltage and check the plug regularly and see if it is getting hot.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:08 AM   #5
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When you try it (you know you will! ), just watch the voltage and check the plug regularly and see if it is getting hot.[/QUOTE]

I am itching to; just want to make sure it will be safe and not damage anything. Thanks for your suggestions
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:11 AM   #6
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Since the surgeguard does not trip until down to 103 volts, Isn`t 104 volts low enough to damage the AC if run very long? Just a thought, that`s pretty low as is anything much below 110.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:13 AM   #7
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I will have to keep a close watch on my voltmeter
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:26 AM   #8
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My EMS is also at 103 volts. RVP says 103.5 volts and 126.5 volts is the limits. You are right, I would not want to run that long at that low of voltage. I think a short run that low will not hurt, but regularly running that low would not be good.

What I have seen in the real world is when an appliance such as the AC or water heater kick on, it either takes the voltage down below minimum and the EMS kicks off - or it does not. I have seen it ride around 109 volts, but have not seen it "ride" down around 103.

Having said that - I still keep a close eye on it. The EMS in my mind is designed protect those situations where you have significant drops. If I were to see my voltage riding that low, it would signal me to take some kind of action.
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:30 PM   #9
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Personally (because I'm an electrician), I would not do it. You answered your own question when you said that you have a 15AMP receptacle on a 20A breaker.

Either, change out that breaker to a 15A, or buy yourself a 20A GFI receptacle to install in place of the 15A receptacle that you currently have. (only if you have 12 gauge wire from your panel to your receptacle. If it is 14 gauge, then you need to run a new wire, or install a 15A breaker MAX.

Checking to see if the receptacle is getting hot is a terrible idea. You can only see the face of the receptacle. You can't see the terminals where the wire is attached. You also can't see the inside of the receptacle. The last thing you want is a fire due to over loading a 15A receptacle that is on a 20A breaker.

If you were "only" running 5-10 Amps, I would be more likely to do it, but when you are running your AC, which you know is drawing 10-13 amps, and closer to 20A at start up, I would not be using the the setup you currently have.

Play safe.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tafische View Post
My EMS is also at 103 volts. RVP says 103.5 volts and 126.5 volts is the limits. You are right, I would not want to run that long at that low of voltage. I think a short run that low will not hurt, but regularly running that low would not be good.

I have seen it ride around 109 volts, but have not seen it "ride" down around 103.
I have a RV friend who is also a degreed Electrical Engineer. He has told me not to run any motor below 107 volts as long term damage begins occurring. All of the disssion above regarding 15 amp vs 20 amp and 14 vs 12 gage wire is right on target.
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