Whatever you use your RV for, whether it is for your vacations or to take the family away on weekend trips, you must get a reliable RV generator so you can enjoy your time on the road without worrying about losing power.
These are not the same as the portable generators, RV generators are specifically designed and built to provide power to all your appliances and accessories in your caravan or motor home, which is why you will find they are more expensive than portable generators which are normally used for outdoor events and as emergency Back-Ups.
But when you invest in a good model it will give you piece of mind as they are designed to last a long time and will give you constant power 24/7.
Options to Consider when purchasing an RV Generator
It is not just a case of going out and purchasing an RV generator, here are a number of options to consider before you find the right one:
FUEL – This is a matter of personal choice. If you are passionate about the environment you can run RV generators on propane which is the greenest fuel due to its cleaner emissions.
But propane has its disadvantages, the length of time it runs depends on the size of your propane tank and it also reduces the generator’s power by approximately 10%.
That is why generators run on propane are quieter than those run on gas.
The most popular fuel for RV generators is gas or diesel. If you have a large RV you will probably have a separate fuel tank specifically for the generator fuel but if you have a small runabout RV your generator will most likely share the tank with the vehicle fuel.
SIZE – The size of RV Generators relates to the size of your vehicle and to determine what size of generator you need by counting the number of appliances that run on 120 volts, you will find your RV air conditioner will be the largest power requirement in your caravan or motor home.
WATTS – This is easy to work out if you remember that Watts = Amps x Volts. You should work this out for each appliance you will be powering off your RV generator and you should note your air conditioners will have a higher starting voltage than when they are running.
So the starting wattage should be used for the air conditioners and the running wattage for every other appliance.
Once you have added these together you will know the minimum wattage you require when you start looking at RV generators. Don’t make the mistake of getting a cheaper portable generator as RV generators have more reliable and longer-lasting power to give you peace of mind when you are on the road.
For example, Yamaha EF2000iS 2000 Watt Generator for RV, not cheap but value for money.
Yamaha EF2000iS 2,000 Watt 79cc OHV 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator (CARB Compliant)
Important Facts about RV Generators
There is a wide variety of RV generators on market ranging in size from small gasoline-powered models to large generators powered by diesel designed for Class A bus-type RVs so take your time to get the right one for your RV.
You need to learn safety facts if you have an RV generator in your motor home or are thinking or purchasing one. Your generator must not have a faulty exhaust as fumes can kill you and your family in the close confines of an RV.
You should never leave a generator running all night unless you have a very reliable carbon monoxide detector in your RV or attached to the generator itself.
If you are having a vacation in the mountains do not worry if your generator loses power. The same applies in very low or very high temperatures. It just means you can not use all your appliances in these conditions so just restrict them to the most important.
Your generator will lose 3.5% of its power for every 1000 ft above 500ft starting at 1500ft. It will also lose 1% of its power when the temperature plunges to 10 degrees farenheit (5.5c) or rises to above 85f (29.4c).
If you buy a new generator you have to run it in just as you would a new engine for your car. The operators manual you get with the generator will tell you how long you should run it in for. You should also have it serviced regularly as per the manual otherwise the manufacturer’s warranty may become invalid.
DOs and DON’Ts when you have an RV Generator
- DO get the correct size and wattage for caravan or motor home
- DO keep it clean and dust-free
- DO turn off all but the most essential appliances when you are at high altitudes or in very hot or very cold weather
- DO have your generator serviced regularly
- DO check the exhaust for any leaks or splits before you set off on a journey as fumes can kill
- DO run the generator on clean, uncontaminated fuel
- DON’T run the generator all night unless you have a reliable carbon monoxide detector in the motor home or attached to the generator with a loud alarm system
- DON’T run the generator for long periods when it is not being used to power appliance, that is a waste of fuel
- DON’T try and do any maintenance on the generator yourself, take it to an experienced mechanic
- DON’T start off on a journey, long or short, without checking you have enough fuel to power your generator
RV generators have become an essential piece of equipment in motor homes and caravans, without them you can not cook, watch television, even boil a kettle.
Once you have one you can enjoy many happy hours of traveling with your family on holidays or weekends away. If you get a reliable one that is the right size and power for your needs you will have carefree trips without any worries.