The battery that powers your motorhome or RV is a crucial component. It keeps a lot of things running — electrical appliances in your kitchen, interior cabin lighting, TVs, and any other electrical device used within your motorhome. The deep cycle battery used in many motorhomes is markedly different from the standard automotive battery that powers the engine of your motorhome.
While a deep cycle battery can last up to three or four times as the engine battery, you should take proper steps to maintain, clean, and charge it in order to help it reach its full lifespan potential.
As you gear up for your next extended road trip, make sure you make these steps part of your routine motorhome maintenance checklist to help you get the most out of your motorhome’s battery.
Your deep cycle house battery must be properly charged in order to provide the necessary power to your cabin’s electrical systems and appliances. Checking the charge on your house battery should be part of your daily routine when on the road. If you stop at campgrounds and parks with RV hookups, charging is easy: simply connect the house battery to the provided RV hookup 120-volt electric outlet.
If you’re hitting the road and stopping at locations without electric hookups, you need to equip your motorhome with an alternative charging source, such as a converter-charger or a single or multi-stage charger.
While you don’t want to cause problems for your house battery by overcharging it, you may encounter problems if you allow the battery level to drop too low before charging it. House batteries shouldn’t be allowed to drop below a level of 50% charge. The lower the level, the higher the likelihood that the battery will have issues with functioning properly. This simple step of battery maintenance alone can help your battery stretch its lifespan to up to seven years.
Corrosion — it happens to batteries both big and small. You’ve likely experienced the frustration that comes with discovering a toy or small electronic device (or TV remote control) that was powered by simple AA batteries was ruined by battery corrosion.
Corrosion is linked to the lead acid in your motorhome battery. This battery acid can leak small amounts of hydrogen gas from the battery terminals, and when these small amounts of hydrogen gas mix with the elements present in the air they react and leave behind corrosion as a byproduct of that reaction.
Corrosion is damaging. Left unchecked and uncleaned, it can ruin a motorhome battery. Luckily, you can clean it from the battery terminals easily by using a simple mixture of baking soda and warm water in a one-to-one ratio. Carefully wipe the corroded areas with this mixture, then wipe clean with a dry cloth to remove any remaining moisture.
When your motorhome or RV isn’t in use, you should take the proper steps to store your house battery. Even if the interior cabin lights are turned off and the appliances aren’t in use, any electrical item that’s connected to the house battery will draw tiny amounts of amperage, causing a slow drain on the battery. As you prepare your motorhome for extended storage by cleaning it and unplugging the appliances, don’t forget to also disconnect the house battery from the system.
During periods of extended storage, it’s also wise to consider storing your motorhome battery in a climate controlled location to reduce the risk that it will be subjected to temperature and humidity changes that might cause discharge or corrosion. Hot temperatures found in many garages, for instance, can cause the water below the plates to evaporate. Without the proper amount of water, your battery cannot safely charge.
Cold temperatures, combined with a discharged battery, can lead to serious problems such as freezing. Storing your motorhome battery within a climate-controlled area during extended periods of storage will help you get the most out of your motorhome battery.
Taking to the road in your motorhome or RV is an experience like none other. Investing time and attention to daily checks of your motorhome battery while on the road, and taking the proper steps to clean and store your motorhome battery, can help you extend its lifespan.