RVs, fifth wheels, and travel trailers have multiple sources of power that must be in working order for you to have a carefree and memorable trip. One major source of power is your RV batteries. Properly taking care of your batteries will help prolong their life and allow them to work for years to come.
RV batteries run parts of your RV such as your lights and must always be working well. There are multiple times throughout the year that your RV batteries need to be stored; such as in freezing temperatures or when you park your camper to be stored for a season.
The best way to store your RV battery is by taking the battery out and placing it in a warm and dry location until you are ready to use it again. Storing RV batteries is a simple and effective step you can take to get the most use out of your batteries during every camping season.
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The Best Way To Store An RV Battery
Lead-Acid Batteries, common for cars and RVs, are best stored in room-temperature (70F-78F), dry locations.
Lead-acid batteries lose their effectiveness as their parts corrode or as the water evaporates or develops air pockets. Excessive heat exposure can affect the lifespan of your battery. This paper shows that operating temperature can greatly impact the lifespan of a battery–and while you can’t always control the weather, you can help your battery lifespan if you don’t put it in extreme cold or hot conditions while it’s not being used.
I had trouble finding concrete temperatures for ideal battery storage, but what we do know is that the hotter a battery runs, the shorter its lifespan–it follows that storing your battery in extreme heat (like our garage right now in South Texas) is not the best place for it.
RV batteries like most vehicle batteries are for the most part, Lead-Acid batteries, meaning they use a chemical reaction between different chemicals to provide power.
What Does an RV Battery Power
RVs have multiple sources of power, one major source of power for your RV is your RV battery. RV batteries power the 12v systems throughout your RV and must be in working order to have a great trip. 12v systems throughout your RV include your lights and some small appliances.
RV batteries allow you to have power to your RV when you are not hooked up to shore power. Your RV water pump is another part of your camper that is often powered by your RV batteries. Making sure your batteries are well taken care of will allow you to use your lights, water pump, small appliances and other aspects of your RV without being hooked up to shore power.
How to Disconnect an RV Battery
Disconnecting an RV battery is a simple step you can do before you leave your RV, camper or fifth wheel parked for the winter.
- Turn off all items within your camper that draw power from your battery such as lights and the water pump.
- Next, disconnect the negative (black) terminal.
- Then disconnect the positive (red) terminal and you are good to go.
Note: When you are reinstalling the battery it is opposite, connect the positive (red) first then the negative (black) terminal second to prevent any dangerous shorts.
How to Store Your RV Battery
After a wonderful season of camping, you always want to winterize your RV and make sure it is ready for any cold temperatures. One thing you must do when winterizing your RV is detaching your RV battery and storing it properly. Although the RV battery powers smaller aspects of your RV, if you leave your battery plugged in it will slowly be drained throughout the season.
Once you detach your RV battery there are multiple steps you should do to take care of your battery and make sure it’s in great condition for your next camping season.
- Clean your battery of any corrosion. You can clean your battery by using a wire brush as well as baking soda and water to get rid of any corrosion. Corrosion on your RV battery can cause complications when reattaching your battery and connecting it correctly. Always make sure to wear safety gear such as gloves to protect yourself from battery acid or corrosion on your skin.
- Next, take the time to fully charge your battery before you store it.
- Check your battery throughout the season to make sure your battery is continually charged.
- Find a dry place to store your battery that is guaranteed not to freeze. A frozen battery can be a disaster, especially if you try and charge it and it explodes.
Ways to Charge Your RV Battery
While your battery is hooked up to your RV and to shore power, the converter in the RV will recharge your batteries, so you will not have to worry about charging your batteries while connected to shore power.
Whenever you are not connected to power, you will need to figure out a way to recharge your battery. There are multiple options you have to recharge your battery with ease whenever you store your battery or if you need to charge your battery while boondocking.
- One way to charge your batteries is by using solar power. Mobile Solar panels will easily charge your RV batteries when you are camping or when you need to store your RV battery. Solar panels that are installed on your trailer will automatically charge your battery and keep it in working order.
- Another way to charge is by buying a battery charger. You can use this to maintain a full charge throughout the storage season. Simply purchase a 12 volt battery charging station that you can keep near your battery.
How to Keep Your RV Battery From Freezing
RV batteries left connected during an extremely cold winter can easily freeze. It all comes down to where and for how long you want to store your RV, as well as how harsh of a winter you are expecting.
If you are planning to store your RV for a short amount of time near shore power and do not expect a lot of freezing temperatures, you can leave your battery connected and simply plug it up to shore power every so often to recharge your battery.
The problem with RV batteries in cold temperatures is that they can freeze and destroy your battery. If you ever have a frozen battery, charging your frozen battery may result in an exploded battery and an absolute disaster.
The best bet to keep your RV battery from freezing during a cold winter is to remove your battery, and store in a warm space inside your home. Also, place your battery off the ground to prevent any freezing temperatures from reaching it.
RV batteries are an important aspect of your trailer, fifth wheel, or camper and must be taken care of. When it comes to winterizing or storing your RV for long periods of time, it is wise to take the necessary steps to properly store your RV battery.
When storing your RV battery, turn off any power that is run by the 12v system, disconnect the negative (black) terminal then the positive (red) terminal. Once you have disconnected your battery, make sure to clean the corrosion off of it.
When your battery is cleaned and taken care of, choose a warm spot indoors to store your battery for the winter; a spot where your battery isn’t sitting on a cold floor. Make sure to charge your battery before you begin your new season.