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How Can I Calculate my daily Energy Requirements in my RV

19 May 2023


Are you planning your next RV trip but wondering how much power you'll need to keep your appliances and devices running if you end up going off grid? Figuring out the amount of power required in your RV is essential to ensure a comfortable and safe camping experience. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to calculate the power requirements for your RV and help you understand how to choose the right generator or solar setup that will meet those needs.

Before we dive into the details, let's start by understanding the basics of RV power. Your RV is designed to run on two types of power: 120V AC (alternating current) and 12V DC (direct current). The 120V AC power is similar to the power you have in your home, and it's used to run larger appliances such as air conditioners, microwaves, and TVs. The 12V DC power is used for smaller appliances and devices such as lights, water pumps, and fans.

Section 1: Understanding Your RV Appliances

The first step to calculating your RV power requirements is to make a list of all the appliances and devices you plan to use during your trip. This list should include both 120V AC and 12V DC appliances, as well as their power consumption in watts or amps. You can usually find this information on the appliance label or in the user manual.

Let's take a look at some common RV appliances and their power consumption:

  • Air conditioner: 1,500 watts
  • Microwave: 1,000 watts
  • TV: 100 watts
  • Water pump: 7 amps
  • Fan: 2 amps

It's important to note that some appliances have a surge or start-up power requirement that is higher than their running power. For example, an air conditioner may require 3,000 watts of power to start but only 1,500 watts to run. Make sure to account for these surge requirements when calculating your power needs.

Once you have a comprehensive list of all your appliances and their power consumption, you can move on to the next step.

Section 2: Calculating Your Power Requirements

Now that you have a list of all your appliances and their power consumption, it's time to calculate your total power requirements. To do this, you'll need to add up the wattages of all your appliances and devices and calculate how long you will use them to know how many watt hours or kWhs of power you need each day

A free online calculator can be found on Fortis’ website This is designed for homes, but can easily be used for your RV

Some examples are listed below:

  • Air conditioner: 1,500 watts
  • Microwave: 1,000 watts
  • TV: 100 watts
  • Water pump: 7 amps x 12V = 84 watts
  • Fan: 2 amps x 12V = 24 watts.

Note: It’s also important to consider which items will be used at the same time. For example if you’re using a Microwave at 1000W and a blender at 1000W, you need an inverter that can supply more than 2000W of power.

A Victron 12/3000/120-50 MultiPlus Inverter 120VAC is a popular choice

Victron 12/2000/80-50 MultiPlus Inverter 120VAC is another  good choice for people who don’t need more than 2000W of power at any given time.

After you have figured out how much power you will consume on a daily basis and which size of inverter you need either 2000W or 3000W, the next step is to calculate the size of your battery bank, which will be the topic of our next Blog.


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