How Many 50 Amp RV Pedestals on a 200 Amp Service?

As recreational vehicles continue to gain popularity across North America, more and more campgrounds and RV parks are looking to add or expand electrical hookups to meet demand. A common question that arises during planning is determining how many 50 amp RV pedestals can be installed on an existing 200 amp electrical service. While a seemingly simple math problem, properly answering this question requires an understanding of several key electrical factors beyond simple division.

There is no single answer, as the maximum number of 50 amp RV sites supported by a 200 amp service depends on the park’s overall power demands, wire sizes, distances, and other loads on the system. However, by considering these variables, park owners can plan appropriate expansions and work with electricians to provide safe and reliable power to their guests. Typically, if you think of concrete 50A, the pedestal number will be 4.

How Many 50 Amp RV Pedestals on a 200 Amp Service?

Factoring in Electrical Demand

The first concept to understand is electrical demand, which refers to the maximum expected load drawn at any given time. While most 50-amp RV sites are capable of delivering 50 amps, in reality the average demand is lower. The National Electrical Code (NEC) factors this in using a demand factor of 0.75 for RV park electrical installations.

Factoring in Electrical Demand

This means that while an RV pedestal may be rated for 50 amps, the NEC only requires sizing other system components as if it will draw 37.5 amps (0.75 x 50A). For a 200 amp service, this means effectively having the capacity for 200 / 37.5 = 5.3 pedestals. However, rounding down would limit the service to just 5 pedestals.

To provide flexibility for inevitable service upgrades, many electricians recommend wiring for the next standard size up. So for our 200 amp service example, 6 appropriately spaced 50 amp pedestals could potentially be supported, assuming no other major loads. Proper load calculations are key to ensuring electrical safety and preventing tripped breakers.

Accounting for Other Loads on the Service

One key point is that the 200 amp service may supply power for more than just RV pedestals. Park facilities like bathrooms, lighting, and maintenance buildings can add a substantial load to the service. Even recreational amenities like pools require significant power. It’s essential to account for all other loads when determining capacity for additional RV sites.

Upgrading from a 100 amp to a 200 amp service suggests the park recently increased power needs. Any newly added loads should be considered before adding multiple 50-amp pedestals. While the NEC demand factors provide wiggle room, exceeding the true load capacity risks tripping breakers or presenting fire hazards. Consulting with an electrician is highly recommended before adding loads.

The Impact of Wire Size and Distance

The size and length of wires supplying the electrical service also influence capacity. For any conductor, longer wire distances and smaller gauges lead to increased resistance and voltage drop. Excessive drop can make power unstable for pedestals at the end of the run.

For a 200 amp RV service fed with 2 AWG wires, voltage drop limits run length to around 160 feet. But moving up to 1 AWG allows runs up to 200 feet. When spacing out new 50 amp pedestals, their distance from the power source is a major limiting factor. Voltage drop must be kept within 3% at the farthest pedestal.

In situations where pedestals are clustered together in loops or spokes, the total wire distance can be reduced. However, installing pedestals in long strings far from the service panel should be avoided. Again, consulting a qualified electrician will ensure proper wire sizing and account for the impact of voltage drop.

Checking Local Electrical Codes

While the National Electrical Code provides standardized guidelines, local jurisdictions can have additional requirements that must be followed. Most states and cities adhere closely to the NEC, but some areas modify code restrictions based on climate, disaster risks, or other factors. Always check with local building and electrical authorities before undertaking an RV pedestal installation project.

There may be specific rules on buried conduit depths, GFCI or AFCI protection, site layout, and pedestal construction. Using a licensed electrical contractor familiar with the jurisdiction can ensure full compliance. Starting electrical work without proper permits and inspections could require costly revisions later.

Planning for Future Expansion

When investing in RV park upgrades, it’s wise to consider potential future growth. Installing a larger service panel, thicker wire gauges, and extra conduit capacity during initial construction lowers costs compared to retrofitting later. This provides flexibility down the road for adding additional pedestals, often with minimal new work required.

Creative load balancing options can also maximize capacity. For example, separating RV loads onto their subpanel allows other park power to be supplied directly from the main breaker. This essentially splits the 200 amp service into two smaller panels, one for pedestals and another for everything else. With smart planning, upgrades are quicker and cheaper.

Doing the Math for a Safe RV Service

When it comes to determining 50 amp RV pedestal capacity from a 200 amp service, the true maximum number depends on careful load calculations based on demand factors, other loads, and wire sizing for the specific installation site. While a basic split of 200/50 = 4 pedestals is possible, following NEC guidelines allows for more sites when factoring in average electrical demand versus peak rating.

Realistically, a carefully wired 200 amp service could potentially support 5-6 properly spaced 50 amp RV hookups, provided no other major loads exist. But the system must be designed by qualified electricians considering all the electrical factors mentioned. Safety and reliability should never be compromised just to add more pedestals.

Upgrading an existing RV park electrical service provides a great opportunity to build flexibility for future expansion. When planned well from the start, adding extra sites down the road becomes quick and affordable. If park owners engage knowledgeable electrical pros and adhere to all codes, their pedestal capacity can grow smoothly over time as demand rises.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much voltage drop should I allow for 50-amp RV pedestals?

The NEC limits voltage drop to no more than 3% at the farthest electrical load. Wire size must be increased as needed to prevent excessive drop at distant pedestals. Qualified electricians can perform these voltage drop calculations.

Can I temporarily use a splitter to add another 50 amp site?

No, RV electrical splitters are explicitly prohibited by the NEC due to the risks of overloading circuits. All RV sites must be wired directly from the service panel and have dedicated breakers based on actual load calculations.

Is it cheaper to install a new electrical service vs upgrading an existing one?

Not necessarily. Upgrading wiring, panels, and breakers for an existing service can be very cost-effective if the site already has adequate utility power available. However, large expansions may justify a brand-new utility service installation tailored to the increased loads. An electrician can offer the best recommendations based on a site’s needs.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *