RV Battery Care & Maintenance
Before performing any maintenance on the battery, always disconnect the battery terminals. To inspect the electrolyte level, remove the vent covers and visually ascertain the electrolyte level in each cell, using a small flashlight may help. (If a maintenance free battery has been purchased – no way exists to check these levels.) If the level needs to be replenished in any or all cells, carefully pour in distilled water only. Never use acid or tap water. Tap water contains minerals and chemical impurities that will permanently damage the battery. Besides maintaining the electrolyte level, visually inspect the battery for loose terminals, corrosion, or any damage to the vent covers or case. Tighten any loose clamps on the terminals of the battery and clean any corrosion off the terminals. An inexpensive device for cleaning these terminals can be purchased at automotive stores. When working with batteries, be extremely careful. The acid in batteries is highly corrosive and flammable. Batteries produce a flammable hydrogen gas that will explode if ignited. Never place batteries in any compartment or near anything that could spark, even a 2 Volt switch. Never smoke or use open flames anywhere near the battery. Secure batteries in a battery box or in a compartment specially designed for battery storage. Wear safety glasses and appropriate clothing when performing any maintenance on a battery. In case of a spill or splash, immediately flush the affected area with cold water for 1 5 minutes and call the poison control centre for further instructions.
When storing your motorhome for an extended period, fully charge the battery before storage. Batteries will self-discharge over time and are subject to freezing, especially if in a discharged condition. Inspect batteries while in storage every 2 to 3 weeks. Hook up to a battery charger at least once a month to prevent discharge and sulphating. An easy solution is to remove the battery completely from the unit during storage and place it at home in a warmer location, such as a garage, so that the battery condition can be monitored and charged as needed during storage periods. When storing a battery, do not place the battery directly on concrete, as the battery will discharge more rapidly. Note; the acid in batteries is highly corrosive and hydrogen gas is produced which is extremely flammable. Avoid placing near a possible ignition source such as open flame or potential spark producing wiring. Before performing any maintenance on the battery, always disconnect the battery, removing the negative (-) cable first and then disconnecting the positive (+). Always disconnect the negative (-) cable prior to working near batteries to reduce risk of arcing and igniting.