Some call them recreational vehicles, some hotels on wheels, some call them transportation tools. Whatever you call your RV, you probably have a generator on board, and they come in really handy,when there is no available power source.
When you don’t have anywhere to plug into, a generator can be a real life saver. That said, you may have some questions about them. For instance, can you run an RV generator while driving? It’s the main question of the day, and we will do our best to answer it right now.
Why Do RVs Have Generators?
Something you might be wondering is why RVs have generators in the first place. After all, RVs do have batteries and gas-powered engines, so you should be able to run them to power your appliances.
This might be stating the obvious, but if you have the RV parked, and you are not plugged into shore power, using the RVs engine and batteries to power appliances is extremely wasteful to say the least. You will quickly drain the RV’s batteries and also run out of gas.
If you plan on using the AC, a heater, a microwave, the television, a hair dryer, or anything in between, you either have to be plugged into shore power or you need to be getting that electricity from a generator. Simply put, the power has to come from somewhere.
Is it Safe to Run an RV Generator While Driving?
Yes, it is 100% safe to run an RV generator while driving, and there is really no good reason why you shouldn’t be able to do so. There are a few specifics that you should know about running the generator while driving, but that said, there’s no reason you can’t run it at the same time.
In terms of functionality, there are no reasons why you cannot run your RV generator while driving; it won’t cause any overheating or fuel issues. Moreover, besides propane generators, there are no laws preventing you from doing this, so if you are worried about safety issues, you can put your fears to rest, because there is nothing to worry about.
Gas and Propane RV Generators
There is an important distinction to note between gas- and propane-powered generators. First off, with gas generators, there’s no reason why you cannot run them while driving your RV. However, what you do want to ensure here is that you fill up the RV’s gas tank all the way before you head out on the road.
Gas-powered generators use a fair amount of fuel, and if you are driving long distances, you will end up burning through fuel fairly fast. Now, gas generators will use the same fuel from the gas tank, so if you drive while running the generator, the only real risk you run is that of running out of fuel. That said, most RVs have sensors which will shut the generator off if the fuel tank goes below 25% full.
Of course, this issue of running out of gas while driving is not an issue if you have a propane-powered generator. However, there are a few US states which prohibit the use of propane while driving — this has to do with safety reasons. If you have a propane powered generator, just be sure to check local laws regarding their use while the motor vehicle is in operation.
Why Run a Generator While Driving?
You might be thinking that if you are driving, the engine of the RV is on and electricity is flowing through it, so you should be able to run all of the appliances, no problem. Therefore, why would you even want to use the generator while driving? There are some pretty good reasons to do so.
If it is very hot, the small AC unit located in the dash of the RV probably won’t be able to cool the whole RV down. Therefore, you may want to run the generator to power a larger AC unit to keep everybody cool and comfortable.
A great aspect is that if you are driving through rough terrain, such as mountains with lots of hills, you will need as much engine power in the RV as possible. Running air conditioning or heating through the dash will take away from that engine power. Therefore, using a generator to power separate appliances can help provide the engine with the needed power.
Yet another reason why you may want to run your generator while driving the RV is to power your fridge and to keep the food cold. Now, this is debatable, and it usually depends on the fridge, but there are times when a separate generator can do a much better job at keeping a fridge cool.
If you or your passengers are hungry, you may also want to run the microwave while driving. For this, it is recommended that you only turn the generator on while the microwave is in use, then turn it back off.
So, the bottom line is that if you are driving your RV, there is no good reason why you should not be able to run the generator at the same time. Sure, there might be some issues with fuel usage, but that’s about it. When all is said and done, generators in RVs have many uses and can come in quite handy, so never leave home without it.