James H. sent us this excellent question: “The voltage in our current campground is running 107 to 100 volts with my 5 year old Dometic air conditioner running. How low can the voltage go before I risk overheating the compressor?”
Most AC-powered appliances are capable of handling +/- 10% voltage without damage, which means from 108 volts to 132 volts. But, below 108 you’re playing a risky game.
Dometic warns that attempting to start the air conditioner at 103.5 volts or less will result in serious damage to the compressor.
In practice, even when the campground voltage is running 108 volts, things can get dicey. That’s because the voltage will fluctuate and could dip much lower when the compressor starts up. One trick you might try is to plug into the 50-amp plug (using an adapter) if the campground power pedestal has both 30- and 50-amp outlets. Sometimes that circuit will have better voltage than the 30-amp one.
Low voltage is a common problem in campgrounds—and that’s why every Airstreamer should have a digital voltage monitor on board.