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How to Keep Your RV Batteries in Top Shape for Next Season

How to Keep Your RV Batteries in Top Shape for Next Season

It’s that time of year again when many seasonal users are getting ready to put away the RV for the season. Sure, most folks will have the basic checklist covered by emptying out the tanks, protecting against rodents and getting rid of all the perishables but many RV users forget about one of the most important components - the batteries.

First, let’s review the types of batteries that we are dealing with. RV’s have what are referred to as coach batteries, which power all the creature comforts in the rig. Coach batteries are deep cycle, which means that they are designed to deliver a sustained, lower current and be almost completely discharged before they are charged again. Motorhomes also have one or more chassis batteries. These are used to start the engine and power the headlights, dash heating and more. Chassis batteries have a short cycle, high current construction meant for things like starting the engine. Now that we know what types of batteries we are dealing with, let’s get them ready for the offseason.  

The best and easiest option for winter storage is to remove the batteries from your RV and to store them indoors or someplace warm. If you plan to keep a battery charger on them, make sure it is a Smart Charger that will regulate the levels and keep the battery from overcharging.

If you are set on keeping your batteries in the RV, you absolutely must keep them charged. An idle battery will lose its charge over time and discharged batteries will freeze and crack when the temperature dips below zero. If this is still your best option, you will definitely need to find a way to keep them charged. If your RV storage spot has power available, an AC Charger is likely your easiest choice. Again, make sure you invest in a Smart Charger to prevent overcharging and killing the battery. If your storage space doesn’t have a power source for you to plug in to, or you prefer a more eco-method, you may want to consider solar panels. A  60 to 80 watt set up is fine for most rig’s batteries and can be mounted on the roof for maximum exposure to daylight. Again, much like a Smart Charger, make sure that there is a Charge Controller installed to shut off the power from the panels to the batteries once they are charged.

If you have an inverter installed in your rig, a word to the wise based on personal experience. An inverter will continue to draw power and deplete your coach batteries, even if you turn off the disconnect switches. You will need to get a full physical battery disconnect switch to physically unlink the inverter from the batteries. Even still, you will need to keep the solar or AC charger power connected to the battery posts.

September 27, 2018

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