Winter RV Battery Storage

The two most common causes for RV battery collapse are undercharging and overcharging.

Undercharging is a result of batteries being repeatedly discharged rather than completely recharged between bicycles. If a battery isn’t recharged the sulfate material that attaches to the discharged portions of these plates begins to harden into circles. Through the years this sulfate cannot be converted back into active plate material and the battery is destroyed. This also occurs when a battery remains discharged for an elongated period of time, like during storage. Sulfation is the primary cause of 18650 Battery failure. Overcharging batteries leads to severe water loss and plate corrosion. With that said let us look at how to properly keep your RV batteries.

Before we speak about keeping the batteries we must discuss battery safety. And the hydrogen gas that batteries create when they’re charging is very explosive. When you operate around batteries you need to wear goggles and gloves, remove all jewelry and don’t smoke or use any open flames.

Caution: If you inadvertently get battery acid on your skin, then flush it with a great deal of water and if it gets into your eyes flush with low pressure water for 15 minutes and call a physician.

When you place the RV in long term storage it’s a fantastic idea to remove the batteries and put them in storage too. This is quite straightforward to do. The very first thing we would like to do is inspect the batteries for any apparent damage. Any fluid around the battery may be a sign which electrolyte is leaking out of the battery. A damaged or leaking battery ought to be replaced promptly. Whenever you eliminate any battery always make sure you remove the negative cable or terminal first, and then the cable.

Battery Tip: When you remove a battery switch off the ignition switch, all electrical switches, and any battery disconnect switches before you disconnect the battery wires. Whenever you remove any battery wires tag them first so that you remember how they return on battery. Install the cable first and then the negative cable.

Wash out the batteries using a 50/50 mixture of baking soda and warm water if needed, i.e. use one pound of baking soda to one gallon of water. Now you can check the electrolyte level in each cell and add distilled water if needed. The minimum amount required is on peak of these plates. If it’s below the plates add enough distilled water to cover the plates before you charge the battery.

Examine the battery state of charge with a voltmeter or hydrometer and charge any batteries that are at or below 80%. An 80% fee is roughly 12.5 volts for a 12 volt battery and 6.25 volts for a 6 volt battery. Lead sulfation starts when a battery state of charge drops below 80 percent. After charging the batteries assess and fill each cell to 1/8 inch under the fill well with distilled water. Overfilling cells will cause battery acid to float.

Caution: Batteries must just be billed in a well ventilated place and maintain any sparks and open flames away from a battery being charged. Examine the electrolyte levels before and charging batteries.

A discharged or partially charged battery will freeze much quicker than a charged battery. Batteries in storage will loose a percentage of present through internal leakage. It is not uncommon for a battery to release up to 10% a month when it’s being stored. Cold temperatures slow down this natural release process down and warmer temperatures speed the process up. Examine the
Stored battery state of charge each month and charge batteries which are at or under an 80% state of charge.

Completely charge the batteries prior to re-installing them next spring. For optimum performance you can equalize the batteries as soon as they are fully charged. An equalizing charge is an increase in charging voltage somewhat like a majority charge to convert any crystallized lead sulfate back into its original components.

In case you decide to leave the batteries in the RV while it is in storage remember to check the condition of charge monthly and charge any batteries at or below an 80% charge. Bear in mind, for your converter charger to work the RV will need to be plugged into electricity