Boondockers Welcome hosts are generous to a fault, but it's unreasonable for guests to expect them to cover the cost of electricity to run A/C.
As we head into summer, we want to remind our traveling members that, whenever you use hookups, we expect you to offer to compensate your host for any costs. Each host should stipulate on their host location profile what they expect in compensation. They can select $5, $10, $15, or no donation requested. Please be sure you check this section on their profile so you know what to expect when you arrive.
You also NEED to know this before hooking up to hosts' hookups!
Here are some important safety considerations for RVers who are using electric hookups.
How to avoid blowing out your RV electronics from a home electric hookups
All Boondockers Welcome hosts, and probably even more importantly, all guests who plan to plug in at a Boondockers Welcome host location, need to watch this short 2-minute video featuring RV tech and electrical engineer, Mike Sokal.
As the video states, an electrician who wires a 30- or 50- amp outlet may be accustomed to wiring them for home use (eg. for a dryer or welder), but be completely unaware of a very important difference if the outlet is intended for an RV. This can result in the outlet being wired for 240V instead of 120V. Here's an image showing how similar the plugs are:
Be sure that your electrician (or that of your host) has wired this outlet up properly!
Three electrical testing devices all RV owners should carry and use
In this 2-minute video, FMCA technical advisor, Gary Bunzer, suggests RVers shouldn't ever assume any outlet (whether at a campground or a Boondockers Welcome host location) is safe without performing these simple tests before plugging in.
Know your amperage!
Most RVs are set up to pull 30AMPs. However, there are some larger RVs that can pull up to 50AMPs. Most homes only offer outlets that pull 15AMPs. So, if you're plugged into a 15AMP you will only be able to pull half the amps for an RV that pulls 30AMP. This means you will not be able to run multiple appliances and/or your A/C at once. Usually, with 15AMP you can run your microwave but not at the same time as your hairdryer. If you do, you will likely trip the hosts' breaker leaving them and you without power.
Please know what amps you are pulling so you can prevent that from happening. Many new RVs have a digital read that tells you what amperage you are pulling. In some rigs, you could even set it to pull only a certain amount taking the guesswork out of it. You can certainly test what you can pull by plugging into your home's electrical outlet. This will help you know if you are able to run your A/C or what appliances you can run while plugged into a 15 AMP outlet. Here is a great article that gives you an idea of what amperage each appliance draws.
Bottom line, be careful when plugging into a host location's electrical outlet. Our hosts are not running a campground so they don't have the same level of electric amperage to offer. This should go without saying but, never try to alter your host's electrical unit to fit your amperage. That is very dangerous and inconsiderate of your gracious hosts.
The No-Shock-Zone. A 12-part series about basic electricity as it pertains to RVs
Finally, RV electrical expert Mike Sokol has a series of articles where he explains basic electricity and the precautions all RVers need to take before using any electric hook-up. Mike also publishes a weekly article in every RVtravel.com newsletter on Saturdays. Consider subscribing for other tips and advice on this subject.
The onus is on the RV traveler!
Finally, we’d like to remind all our traveling members, that the onus is on you (not the host) to know your rig’s electrical requirements and to use proper precautions before connecting to any electrical hookup provided by the host.