So you bought an RV at the beginning of spring and enjoyed using throughout the season. However, winter is around the corner, and you know you have to start getting ready to put it away until next spring.
Do you leave it plugged in all the time to keep the battery good? You know you want to keep everything running so you can get back out there in the spring, so what do you do?
Is it bad to leave your RV plugged in all the time? It’s not fair to leave your RV plugged in all the time. Over time, your battery will begin to lose capacity, and might even cause it to stop functioning altogether. Although you can leave your RV plugged in for short periods, keeping it plugged in all the time is not recommended.
It is time to put your RV away for the winter, and you want to be sure that you are following the proper steps to maintain your RV for years to come. So the debate is, what about the battery?
You already know how you need to flush the system and add the antifreeze, but batteries can be a different story. Can you leave it plugged in all the time, or are you better off leaving it unplugged?
Is It Bad to Leave Your RV Plugged In All The Time?
It is not recommended that you leave it plugged in all the time. If you do leave it plugged in, you run the risk of overcharging the battery.
If you overcharge your battery, it may cause it not to run at the full performance or to no longer hold a charge as long as it used to.
You may even find that it doesn’t take charge like it used to. Just like any battery, overcharging can eventually become an issue, and replacing the battery could cost you hundreds of dollars when you are ready to get back out in the spring.
Should You Leave Your RV Unplugged All Winter?
Just like leaving your RV plugged in, leaving it unplugged can also lead to costly issues. If you leave it unplugged, all of winter and the levels get too low, and this can also damage the battery.
Low levels, like high, can cause the battery to no longer work properly and also no longer hold the charge that it used to.
If it goes for a long time undetected, you may have to replace the battery entirely if it will not take charge anymore.
Related reading: 5 Practical Ways To Unfreeze Water Lines In RVs (That Actually Work)
How to Prep Your RV Battery For Winter Time?
When you are prepping your RV for winter storage, it is recommended that you remove the battery and store it in a warm place.
Doing this is nothing hard. It is super easy to do and will help you save you hundreds of dollars in the spring when all you want to do is get back to enjoying your RV.
Just six simple steps will preserve your RV battery and your spring and summer adventures.
6 Steps to Prepping Your Battery for the Winter Months
Remove the battery from your RV. You do not want to leave your battery in the RV during the long cold winter.
- Check the water levels and fill it up if needed. Always be sure to wear eye protection and gloves when adding water to your battery and to use distilled water.
Have you ever even considered the water levels in a battery? It is essential to check these levels if they are too low. Letting your water levels get too low can have both long and short term effects on how your RV operates.
2. Short Term: Systems stop operating correctly, and your battery does not charge. You also take the chance that your batteries could overheat and cause your RV to catch fire.
3. Long Term: You could catch your RV on fire, putting it entirely out of commission
4. Charge the battery fully. Before you store your battery, you will want to be sure it has a full charge.
5. Store the battery in a warm, indoor location like your basement. You do not want to leave it outside in a garage or shed where it will still have the cold dampness of winter to endure.
You also want to be sure you place it on a piece of cardboard or something and not directly on the floor.
6. Attach a battery maintainer to keep it charged during storage. You can try the NOCO GENIUS1, 1-Amp Fully-Automatic Smart Charger, 6V And 12V Battery Charger, Battery Maintainer, And Battery Desulfator. With Temperature Compensation, this will provide the slow charge that your battery needs to keep it operating at maximum performance.
Check your battery monthly to make sure it is fully charged. Even though you have the battery maintainer connected, you still want to check that it is charged every month.
If it is not charged and you have not checked it, you may find yourself in the same position as if you did not take the steps you needed to.
Ways You Can Extend Your RV’s Battery Life
- Perform routine maintenance on your battery. Always be sure to recharge a discharged battery as quickly as you can. If your battery stays in a discharged state without being recharged, you may lose the battery completely.
- Never let your battery voltage go below the actual voltage of the batter. For example, a 12-volt battery fully charged is 12.7 volts. You want to make sure it never goes below 12 volts.
- Reduce the level of discharge that you let your battery get to. 50% discharge daily will have your battery lasting longer then if you let it get down to 20%.
- Leave vent caps on while charging
- If you have a battery disconnect switch, make sure it is off when you are not using the RV.
- Hot temperatures can kill a battery. Make sure you are checking your water levels and filling with distilled water when needed.
- There are three levels that your charge your batter at:
- Bulk: Charges your battery to 90% quickly
- Absorption: Charges the remaining 10% and prevents loss of water
- Float: Maintains your charge
Related reading: This Is Why Your RV Battery Is Overheating? (Read This First)
In conclusion, like when you are winterizing the waterlines with antifreeze, there are specific steps you want to take to make sure it is done correctly. When you maintain your battery and winterize it in the cold, harsh winter months, your battery should last you 5 to 7 years.
If you find yourself replacing it every couple of years, you will want to work through the steps again to find what you may have missed getting more time out of your batteries.
Keeping up with the systems that make your RV function and provide you with the relaxation that you are looking for, you have to make sure you are giving them the chance to do their jobs.
The last thing anyone wants to do is plan their first spring vacation only to clean out the RV and get everything packed up and ready to go, and then you have to wait because something is not working right.
Or worse, take the chance of your battery overcharging and setting fire to your RV, and now your plans for any vacation are on hold indefinitely.
So remember, a little time and maintenance could save you massive amounts of time and money in the future. Not to mention saving those memories that you can never get back once they are gone.
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