How Much Electricity Does an RV Use?

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RV’s can be a lot of fun and an economically friendly way to live. However, there are some costs associated with owning one that is often overlooked. One of the biggest costs is electricity as motorhomes and campervans use plenty of it. Many assume that living in an RV would save them money as opposed to living in the house. However, making this assumption can be dangerous. Let’s take a look at just how much electricity an RV would use in just one month.

What is the Cost of Electricity?

As mentioned, electricity will be one of the biggest utility charges you face, especially if you live on a campground where it is metered. The size of the unit will also factor into how much electricity is needed. A luxury unit that’s over 45 feet long and in a hot climate will use much more than a compact, 30 foot-long unit that’s located in cooler temperatures.

As far as pricing goes, the huge luxury RV’s could rack up a monthly electricity bill of about $300 or more if mixed with poor energy efficiency behaviors. For those more conscious about that, however, and own a smaller unit, you could be looking at a bill of around $100. A good rule of thumb to follow, regardless of what type of RV is being used, is to simply be responsible with energy usage.

How Much Electricity Does an RV Use in a Day?

Per, RV’s use quite a bit of electricity to operate.

“Average use for a typical RVer is around 20 kWh a day.  This comes out to about 608 kWh a month or 7,300 kWh a year.  Usage will be lower during fair weather and higher during heating and cooling seasons.”

These numbers can certainly vary depending on a number of factors.

Average sized RV’s will only require the usage of a power cord with 30 amps. Up to 3,600 watts can be drawn with this. However, larger units will require additional strength in the form of a power cord with 50 amps.  These draw up to 12,000 watts and will be necessary for units with multiple AC units.

Another factor includes whether the unit uses propane or electric heat. Also, the amount of insulation the RV has will impact how much electricity is used.

How Much Electricity Does an RV Use In A Month?

On average, RVs use 20 kWh of electricity each day, which equates to 600 kWh per month. A monthly electric bill of $75 will cost you 12 cents per kWh on average in the USA. Various factors can influence the consumption and cost level of an RV. 

Weather and temperature can affect how much you use. Fair, mild weather will result in lower usage. Of course, when the weather is very hot, it's the opposite

How Does Electricity Work in an RV?

Typically, you will find 12V and 120V electrical systems inside an RV. The 120V serves as the main generator for the unit while the 12V helps operate certain appliances. Both can be charged by connecting to an electrical system.

Do Campgrounds Charge For Electricity?

Campgrounds both do and don’t charge for electricity. The cost of charging at long-term locations runs higher than if you charged up elsewhere. Much of this has to do with the fact that campgrounds charge based on local commercial rates as opposed to home or residential. However, not all overnight locations will charge you. These are the perfect spots to run the AC or use whatever other utilities you want to use without worrying about the cost.

As for the long-term locations, prices certainly vary depending on location. Always do some research before selecting a site.

Reducing Electricity Usage

The simplest way to answer this is by telling motorhome owners to be responsible. Be conservative with lights, air conditioning and other utilities. It can be tempting to just leave everything on and running, but when you think about the long-term costs of doing that, you’ll find it’s smarter to just use things in moderation. Think of the unit as a house in that regard. Many grew up with parents that yelled at them when lights were left on in the house. For those who went on to own a home themselves, they know this was done for a good reason. Use what you need when you need it and you should be in good shape.

Saving Money Without Reducing Usage

There are a couple of ways to still save money without sacrificing usage. Always check your meter readings and compare them with the electricity statement at the end of the month. Errors can sometimes happen here, so it’s smart to double-check.

Also, be sure to check the battery for errors, such as overheating. This can cause the unit to run inefficiently and jack up the bills.

Use Your Head

Overall, the amount of electricity an RV uses tends to be more than people originally think. Monthly bills can reach astronomical amounts if owners are neglectful of how much energy they are using and don’t engage in any conservative efforts. High electricity bills will take a lot of the fun out of owning an RV, so it’s a good idea to be mindful of how much power your unit is using.

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