Tripping Breakers / Electrical Systems
During the hottest days of the summer, we tend to receive an overwhelming amount of phone calls from customers whose circuit breakers continually trip. Chances are the problem is not with your appliance, like your air conditioner and water heater, which are two of the most common appliances that trip breakers. A couple of things to take into consideration - how full is the campground, and how hot is it outside?
If the campground is at full capacity and it is hot outside, most everyone will have their air conditioners cranked up to max. Most campgrounds' electrical infrastructures don't have the capacity to handle this load. This means reduced voltage throughout the campground. Reduced voltage causes increased amperage. This makes things like your compressor and fan motor on your air conditioner work much harder in order to keep running. The natural instinct when your breaker trips out is to flip it back on. However this should not be your first step. Continually feeding low voltage to your appliances and resetting your breakers when they trip will have several negative consequences. First, you will weaken your circuit breaker, causing it to lower your load capacity / trip point. Second, there is a fairly high chance that you will fry the capacitors on your air conditioner. Third, you run the risk of frying your compressor and/or your fan motor. Fried compressors are the number one reason we have to replace customers' air conditioners.
Although there is not a solution to this problem short of the campground re-doing their entire electrical system, there are a couple things you can do for damage control. First, one thing every camper should have is a plug-in voltage meter. This item can be bought at most hardware stores for under $10 (and we always have some in stock). The best type to use plugs into a wall outlet and has a dial indicator for voltage readout. The danger zone for your appliances is 114v or below (according to the National Electric Code). Unplug your camper if it reaches that point. Talk to your campground manager to see if they can get you on a site that may have better voltage output. Secondly, you should strongly consider getting some protection against electrical fluctuations. While a voltage meter will tell you the level, it will not protect you. The best protection you can get against this issue is going to be an EMS system from Progessive Industries. This will give you a voltage read-out from your post, as well as cutting power automatically in case of a power surge or dangerous low voltage.
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