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Is It Safe to Run a Generator While Driving Your Motorhome?

Let’s begin this article with the short answer to this question, and it is yes — you can run your motorhome generator while driving your vehicle, as long as it is a built-in generator. However, there are some risks to be aware of and other things to consider along the way.

Why run a generator while driving?

There are several reasons to use a generator when driving your motorhome, including powering your AC, refrigerator, microwave, electric water heater, TV, and other 110-volt appliances while on the road.

But then, one of the main reasons to run the generator is to be able to run the rooftop AC in addition to the dash AC.

The rooftop air conditioner of the motorhome is powered by energy from 110-volt shore power or a generator. If you are traveling in the summer, your motorhome will heat up because it does not have as strong insulation as a house. Typically, your dash AC may not be able to cool the rest of the RV; therefore, you will need to run your rooftop AC to cool your vehicle adequately.

Again, the dash AC won’t reach every room in your motorhome, so you must use the rooftop AC unit, especially if you have passengers or animals riding with you. Also, the passengers on board may want to watch a movie, so you need to run the generator to power the TV. Another reason to run the vehicle’s generator is to maintain the fridge’s coldness when traveling long miles and to run the microwave while driving.

What are the downsides to running a generator while driving?

The only drawback to using a generator while driving includes two things: first, if your generator runs on propane, and second, using a generator will consumes extra gasoline. There may be laws prohibiting using or even transporting of propane on board some highways, bridges, or tunnels.

Moreover, running pressurised fuel while driving presents a severe risk of fire or explosion if the gas line gets damaged. But since these lines run underneath your motorhome, any leaks will occur outdoors rather than inside, where you may be poisoned with propane gas.

Will using a motorhome generator while driving, affect your fuel economy?

Technically, using a generator while driving your RV won’t affect your miles per gallon.

Depending on the size of the generator and the load drawn by the devices turned on, your generator needs roughly 2 to 4 litres of fuel each hour of operation. So, if you get 20 km/litre without a generator, you will still get at least 16km/litre if you use your generator while driving.

For instance, if you travel at 100 km/h in your motorhome that gets 16 km/litre, you will consume 24 litres of fuel. So if you were to run your generator, in addition to the 24 litres of fuel you will burn, you will also burn 2 litres of fuel, making 26 litres of fuel in an hour at 100 km per hour. Therefore, there isn’t much difference to using the rooftop AC to keep your motorhme cool and your passengers entertained with a movie.

If the generator is fuel-powered, ensure to fill up the tank before driving with the generator on. The gasoline used to fuel the motor of the motorhome is also used to fuel the generator; you wouldn’t want to use up all the fuel just powering the generator.

However, most motorhomes have a fail-safe that automatically shuts off the generator when the tank is at one-quarter capacity, ensuring you have enough fuel to get to a service station. The safety feature also helps prevent a situation where you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere with an empty gas tank.

Conclusion

It is very safe to drive your motorhome while the generator is running, enabling you to use all your essential appliances. Although it may not be the most fuel-efficient way to drive your recreational vehicle, it allows you to enjoy all the vehicle’s conveniences and creature comforts when on the road.

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