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Old 08-04-2016, 09:55 AM   #1
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Extension Cord For Home

I use a regular 16 gauge extension cord at home to charge the batteries, and start the fridge before a trip. I wanted to get a heavier duty cord so I could run the air occasionally. Amazon has a 50 ft. 12 gauge cord for $30 and a 10 gauge cord for $71. It's a pretty big price difference between the two.
Should either of these be safe for running the air or maybe neither of them would, I don't know. The 12 gauge is rated for 15 amps, while the 10 gauge doesn't say, but I'm assuming it should be at least 15. Anyone's knowledge on this would be appreciated.
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Old 08-04-2016, 09:57 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Brian217 View Post
I use a regular 16 gauge extension cord at home to charge the batteries, and start the fridge before a trip. I wanted to get a heavier duty cord so I could run the air occasionally. Amazon has a 50 ft. 12 gauge cord for $30 and a 10 gauge cord for $71. It's a pretty big price difference between the two.
Should either of these be safe for running the air or maybe neither of them would, I don't know. The 12 gauge is rated for 15 amps, while the 10 gauge doesn't say, but I'm assuming it should be at least 15. Anyone's knowledge on this would be appreciated.
I can't run my air conditioner on my garage 20 amp circuit. Do you have 30 amp available?
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:21 AM   #3
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You are right at the limit with the 12 gauge and a standard 15 amp outlet. If you run the AC only and nothing else (no frig, no converter, nothing.)

I have a 13.5k BTU, not a 15k unit. I've done it, but I keep an eye on the plugs to make sure they are not getting warm. I never ran mine unattended.

I don't like doing this, so a few months ago, I installed a 30 amp RV pedestal at my house. I ran #10 wire back to the main panel box and put in a 30 amp breaker. No more problems and no more adapters when I'm at home.

Your #12 extension cord wire will handle the 15 amps, but the connectors and plugs are at the limit and must be perfect.

Most household outlets are wired with 15 amp outlets using #14 wire and are protected by a 15 amp breaker.

Consider replacing the outlet with a brand new 20 amp outlet. Because of the 15 amp breaker, your still limited to 15 amps, but the quality of the 20 amp receptical will improve your connection.

When you do this, note the wire size thats connected to the outlet, 20 amp circuits require 12 gauge wire. (i.e. a garage) (you may have a 20 amp circuit. You'll need to check your breaker panel.)

When you install the outlet, don't use the push in clips, put the wire under the screw and tighten the screw (better connection)
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:23 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Brian217 View Post
I use a regular 16 gauge extension cord at home to charge the batteries, and start the fridge before a trip. I wanted to get a heavier duty cord so I could run the air occasionally. Amazon has a 50 ft. 12 gauge cord for $30 and a 10 gauge cord for $71. It's a pretty big price difference between the two.
Should either of these be safe for running the air or maybe neither of them would, I don't know. The 12 gauge is rated for 15 amps, while the 10 gauge doesn't say, but I'm assuming it should be at least 15. Anyone's knowledge on this would be appreciated.
10 gage wire at 25' is good up to 30 amps. But if you are plugging into a household socket it's going to be either 15 or 20 amp max. If your going to run your A/C then you will want the 10 ga. cord, less voltage drop, but your breaker is the limiter. Your A/C will pull between 15 to 17 amps, plus your convertor at 3 or 4 amps, your going to be maxed out and under sized with the 12 ga cord. Also remember you might have other things on the circuit that will also take some of those 20 amps from the breaker. So get the 30 amp/10 ga. and be safe and probably save some of your stuff in the trailer...
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:24 AM   #5
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If you want to run the AC, you MUST use a min. #10 extension cord. A #16 gauge cord is waay too small - period. You *might* get away with a #12 cord if not running an AC unit or other high demand load. Voltage drop can seriously damage an AC. Also, the voltage may not be high enough when initially turned on due to momentary inrush current (up to around 5-6 times the running current) and will cause a breaker to trip.

But it "depends". First, on the voltage at the panel in the house and how stable it is. Secondly, on the total overall length of wire from the panel in the house to the inside your RV. Lastly, you must make sure the voltage in the RV with the AC running is above the min. that can cause damage to an AC. Depending on the source of info., this will range from 102 to 105 volts. A permanent mounted voltmeter inside an RV is a really good thing to have. An EMS is also a very good thing to have and will shut you down on low voltage (and other conditions).

Never plug into power unless it is turned off first (via a pedestal breaker or breaker in panel at home or inside an RV). A converter/charger has a momentary inrush current when first energized. If you plug in live, you will hear a zap and will see a flash in the dark. The zap causes pitting on plug blades & inside receptacles/connectors which attracts dirt and eventually you will have overheating and a meltdown. Cheaper and lighter gauge extension cords do not have very good contact surfaces. Even if you don't have any loads turned on (except for converter, fridge, etc.) a 16 gauge cord will likely not last long.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:27 AM   #6
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If your shore cord is long enough to reach, get an adapter. If you are short say 40 feet, just buy a 30amp, 50 foot RV cord extension. If will come in handy one day when the pedestal is just out of reach or you have to use a different pedestal.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BBQGUY View Post
If your shore cord is long enough to reach, get an adapter. If you are short say 40 feet, just buy a 30amp, 50 foot RV cord extension. If will come in handy one day when the pedestal is just out of reach or you have to use a different pedestal.
I agree.

Why mess around with a 12 ga. extension cord (or even a 10) when you can buy a regular 30 amp 50' extension cord for $49.95?

**BUY IT HERE**

Use an adapter at the end for when you want to plug into a duplex outlet and have the extra cord when you are at a campground with a pedestal too far away.

EDIT TO ADD:
If you don't need 50', simply buy a 30 amp extension cord in whatever length necessary. I've seen them made in 5', 10', 15', 20', 25', 30', and 50'.
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:00 AM   #8
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I don't like doing this, so a few months ago, I installed a 30 amp RV pedestal at my house. I ran #10 wire back to the main panel box and put in a 30 amp breaker. No more problems and no more adapters when I'm at home.
I want to do this at my house, is it as easy as installing any other breaker and outlet??
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:08 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies. With all the info on running too many amps, I think a may get an electrician to look at it. I have an open 40amp breaker in my box that was used for a pool heater that I don't have anymore. Maybe that could be used, or change it to a 30. I do like the ideas for the additional 30amp power cord. Didn't think of that and it makes sense to do that instead of the 12 or 10 gauge cord.
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:11 AM   #10
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I want to do this at my house, is it as easy as installing any other breaker and outlet??
It is IF you have good general knowledge of electrical components and circuitry. Many get in trouble when they wire up a 30 amp outlet at 220v.
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