September 30, 2022

How To Restore Power to your RV When It Goes Out

It can be alarming to suddenly lose power in your RV. The lights go out and the world goes silent. There’s no need to panic. Instead, take note of the conditions in your RV at the time of the outage, because the cause of the outage is likely an overloaded circuit.

Your RV has limited electrical capacity…much much less than your sticks-n-bricks home. So you’ll have to be careful when using appliances that consume a large amount of electrical power. This includes items like microwave ovens, electrical heaters, hair dryers and air conditioners. Powering these things simultaneously could overload electrical circuits in your RV.

Sure, it is possibility that your campground or RV park simply lost power for some reason. Using a good Surge Protector like this could help identify that. However, there are several other possibilities to consider. So it’s good practice to take a systematic approach to assessing the situation in your RV first.

These simple steps will help you identify the cause and get power restored quickly.

Step 1 – Turn Off and Unplug Power Hungry Equipment

Take note of what you were using or have plugged in at the time the power went out. Turn off or unplug any appliances or equipment you may have plugged in.

Water heaters, air conditioners, microwaves, space heaters, coffee makers, hair dryers, electric stoves and induction plates are all potential culprits. Turn off or unplug them.

If you skip this step, it’s possible that the power will continue to shut down.

Step 2 – Reset Circuit Breakers Inside the RV

Locate the circuit breaker panel inside your RV and reset the breaker labeled “Main” by switching it off then on again. Also check the individual circuit breakers and reset them as needed.

If the power comes back on then jump to Step 6

Step 3 – Reset GFCI Outlets

GFCI outlets are those outlets that have a “Test” and “Reset” button on them. You’ll probably find one in a bathroom or kitchen area. You may or may not be able to tell if it needs to be reset. So press the “Test” button and then the “Reset” button until it stays in. That should reset it.

If the power comes back on then jump to Step 6

TIP: There may be multiple non-GFCI outlets on the same circuit as the GFCI outlet.

Step 4 – Reset Power Outside Your RV

Check the power pedestal at your campsite. First check that your power cord is securely attached. Then reset the circuit breaker that controls your 30A or 50A service. Simply switch it off then back on again.

If the power comes back on then jump to Step 6

TIP: I recommend using a surge protector to protect your RV electrical system from power surges or improperly wired circuits that can do serious damage. Devices like this 30 amp or 50 amp model will detect these conditions and potentially save you lots of money in repairs.

Step 5 – Check the Circuit Breaker on Your Generator

Reset the circuit breaker on your generator if you are using your on-board generator to power your RV. This is one of the most overlooked switches that most new RV owners miss.

Where is the circuit breaker? In may not be in view. On the Onan 4000 it is on the side next to the manual start switch. Check your operator’s manual if you can’t find the breaker on your generator.

Simply switch it off and on again. In most cases, this is the culprit.

If the power comes back on then jump to Step 6

Step 6 – Turn Equipment Back On

With power restored, slowly begin turning equipment back on one-by-one. If the power shuts down again while doing this, return to Step 1.