This week we want to discuss how to maintain and extend the life of your RV Batteries. We have a list of Frequently Asked Questions from our customers and other RV'ers who want to know more about their RV Batteries, if you have a question, comment on our blog below and we will get it answered for you!
1.) How Does an RV Battery Work?
The main key to having knowledge about your batteries is to have a basic understanding about what an RV Battery is and how it works. Batteries used in RV's are lead acid batteries, lead acid batteries are made of lead, plates and lead oxide submersed in electrolyte that is 36% sulfuric acid and 64% water. lead acid batteries have several cells with several cells connected in a series. Each cell produces approximately 2.1 volts. A 12-volt battery with six cells in a series produces an output voltage of 12.6 volts.
2.) How Much Charge Can a Lead Acid Battery Store?
The size of the lead plates and the amount of electrolyte determines the amount of charge a battery can store. Lead Acid Batteries don't make electricity they store electricity.
3.) Does My RV Run off of One Battery?
No, it is very important that you use the right battery for the type of application you are trying to use. The battery used to start and run the engine is called the "Chassis Battery".
The batteries used to supply 12 volts to the RV itself are commonly referred to as "House Batteries". House batteries need to be deep cycle batteries that are designed to provide a steady amount of current over a long period of time. Starting batteries should not be used in this application. Deep Cycle batteries have thicker plates are designed to to be deeply discharged and recharge repeatedly.
4.) How Long Will My RV Battery Last?
The life expectancy of your RV batteries depends on you and how well you take care of your battery. Make sure to take the time to gain knowledge on how to properly take care of your batteries. If there seems to be a problem with your RV the first component you should check is your battery. The life expectancy of your battery also depends on how soon a discharged battery is recharged, the sooner it is recharged the better it will be.
5.) How Can I Protect My Batteries?
Protecting and maintaining your battery maintenance is key to a long lasting battery life. You can protect your batteries by:
-Keeping them out of direct sunlight
-Keeping the water at a correct level (Some batteries don't require water maintenance)
- Keeping them charged properly
-Keeping them stored properly
-Keeping the battery terminals clean. (You can clean the terminals and inside of cable clamps with a post and clamp cleaner)
-Using your battery disconnect often
-Inspect your battery for damages: Any fluid on or around the battery may be an indication that the electrolyte is leaking from the battery, a damaged or leaking battery must be replaced. You should also inspect the cables, connectors and battery terminals for secure connections and any damages.
-Check for signs of corrosions: Corrosion can be neutralized with a 50/50 mixture of baking soda and warm water. Use one gallon of water to one pound of baking soda.
Tip: Don't over tighten the battery terminals. This can result in major danger such as fire, post meltdown or broken battery posts.
6.) What are common causes for battery failure?
The 2 most common causes for RV battery failure is undercharging and overcharging your batteries.
Sulfation is the number one cause of battery failure, If a battery is not recharged, the sulfate material that attaches to the discharged portions of the plates begins to harden into crystals. After a period of time, this sulfate cannot be converted back into active plate material and the battery is ruined.The second major cause of battery failure is overcharging. Overcharging batteries results in severe plate corrosion and water loss resulting in a bad battery.
7.) How Do I Stay Safe Around My Battery?
Safety is necessary when handling RV batteries, it is recommended to wear gloves and googles when working with RV Batteries.
Do not smoke or use any open flames around batteries, the hydrogen gas that batteries produce when they're charging is very explosive when exposed to an ignition source or flame.
Lead Acid Batteries contain sulfuric acid which is highly corrosive and can cause major burns and even blindness.
Tip: If you get battery acid directly on your skin, flush it with water and call your doctor. If it comes in direct contact with your eyes, flush it with low pressure water and call your doctor immediately.
If you have any questions about battery maintenance feel free to contact our Parts Specialists at (928)775-7910 or comment below with your questions and we will get them answered right away for you!
Sources: Interstate Batteries, RV Battery 101 Seminar, Affinity RV Parts Specialists.