Imagine waking up on a crisp winter morning, your breath forming tiny clouds in the frosty air. You’re eagerly planning your next epic RV adventure, but there’s one crucial question nagging at the back of your mind. Is it ok that I leave the battery in my RV during the winter? Is it bad if my battery is in my RV when it freezes? Will cold weather hurt my battery? Will they survive the cold, or will they succumb to the icy grip of Mother Nature? In this deep dive into cold weather and batteries we seek to uncover the truth behind the notion that batteries should be removed from boats and RVs during the off season and discover whether leaving batteries in your RV is a daring move or a chilling mistake.
The short answer is all batteries benefit from being in a warm, cozy, and dry space for the winter. But this short answer misses a lot of important details.
The long answer is it depends on which type of batteries you have. Lead acid, regular lithium, or Dakota Lithium.
For lead acid batteries, AGM, or SLA it is recommended you store the batteries in a warm and dry place during the winter since it will maintain its performance and extend its lifespan. Freezing temperatures can negatively impact lead acid battery health and lifespan, potentially leading to irreversible damage. Therefore, it is generally recommended to remove those heavy lead acid house batteries from your RV and store inside a heated garage or home. That said, most lead acid batteries only last a year or two, so you may need to replace them next year anyway so you could just not bother and leave them in.
Lithium batteries are better than lead acid batteries in cold weather for discharging. Many lithium batteries can be used down to -20F. This is why your cell phone still works when you are skiing. You will notice that lithium batteries have less capacity in the cold. This is why you cell phone battery does not last as long in the cold. Its the same in your RV. The batteries will discharge well.
The problem is most lithium batteries cannot be charged in the cold. When you charge most lithium batteries in the cold it hurts the battery, reducing the lifespan signifyingly. This does not happen to Dakota Lithium Plus batteries. (see next section).
The best batteries for cold weather use are Dakota Lithium Plus batteries. You can install them once and then leave them in you RV or boat for the life of the battery, estimated at 12 years and backed up by an 11 year warranty. Dakota Lithium Plus batteries are the best batteries for winter use because they can discharge down to -40F and include internal heating that allows charging during low temperatures. This means the battery will be ok in your RV of boat during extreme cold. This is why Dakota Lithium batteries are the most popular battery among ice fishermen, skiers who camp in their vehicles at ski resorts, and winter campers. Built for high performance in a North Dakota winter, Dakota Lithium Plus batteries are the most reliable, longest lasting battery choice for winter warriors.
All batteries benefit from being stored in a warm and dry place for the winter. It will improve the lifespan of the battery. That said, Dakota Lithium Plus batteries perform well in the cold and it is OK to leave them installed in your RV or boat.
Before storing your camper for the winter ensure your lithium batteries are fully charged. This step helps to prevent the battery from discharging over time. For lead acid batteries it minimizes the risk of sulfation, which occurs when lead sulfate crystals form on the lead battery plates (its as toxic as a process as it sounds, lead and sulfate crystals are both toxic). You can use an RV battery charger or a tender designed explicitly for camper van batteries to maintain a fully charged battery.
One of the best ways to protect your waterproof van’s battery during the winter is to store it in a climate-controlled environment. Extreme temperatures, significantly below freezing, can cause the lithium battery’s electrolyte solution to freeze, which reduced the batter lifespan over time. Store your RV in a garage or storage facility where the temperature remains stable and above freezing.
Parasitic loads, such as onboard clocks or alarms, can drain your 12-volt battery even when the van is unused. To prevent this, consider installing a battery kill switch. This switch allows you to disconnect the 24v battery connection to the waterproof van electrical system, ensuring no unnecessary drains on the battery during storage.
Lead acid batteries are finicky and require maintenance. It’s essential to check the electrolyte levels for deep-cycle RV batteries regularly. If the water levels are low, add distilled water to bring them to the appropriate level. This step helps to maintain optimal performance and prevents the lithium battery from drying out.
If storing your RV battery indoors is impossible, try to find a warmer spot within the RV, away from exterior walls or windows. Placing the battery in a warmer location helps to mitigate the effects of freezing temperatures, reducing the risk of damage.
Using an RV battery charger or a battery tender effectively maintains your RV battery’s charge during long storage periods. These devices provide a low, constant charge to the deep cycle battery, preventing it from discharging and ensuring it remains in optimal condition.
Before storing your camper van battery for the winter, take the time to clean its terminals and connectors. Use baking soda and water to remove any corrosion or buildup. This step promotes good electrical conductivity and helps prevent potential issues in the future.
Storing your 12v deep cycle battery rv inside your home during the winter can be an excellent option if you have space. By bringing the battery indoors, you can ensure a controlled environment with consistent temperatures. However, it’s important to note that some batteries may emit tiny amounts of hydrogen gas during charging, which can be potentially hazardous in enclosed spaces. If you store your 36-volt lithium battery indoors, provide proper ventilation to mitigate potential risks.
The temperature at which an RV battery can be damaged depends on its type and construction. Generally, most standard lead-acid RV batteries can withstand temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) without significant issues. However, it’s essential to note that freezing temperatures can reduce the battery’s capacity and increase internal resistance, affecting its overall performance.
The best batteries for cold weather use are Dakota Lithium Plus batteries. You can install them once and then leave them in you RV or boat for the life of the battery, estimated at 12 years and backed up by an 11 year warranty. Dakota Lithium Plus batteries are the best batteries for winter use because they can discharge down to -40F and include internal heating that allows charging during low temperatures. This means the battery will be ok in your RV of boat during extreme cold.
Disconnecting your lithium RV battery from the RV’s electrical system before storing it for the winter is highly recommended. Disconnecting the battery prevents any potential parasitic loads from draining it over time. By disconnecting the lithium battery, you can ensure that it remains fully charged and ready for use when you’re ready to hit the road again.
It is essential to use a proper charging system to prevent overcharging or undercharging your waterproof vans batteries. Consider investing in a quality RV battery charger or a battery tender designed explicitly for your battery type. These devices typically have built-in safety features and charging algorithms that ensure your 24-volt lithium batteries receive the correct voltage and current, preventing overcharging or undercharging.
As you prepare your Dakota lithium RV for the first summer trip after the winter season, remember to check the condition of your battery. Inspect the terminals, connectors, and overall battery health. Following the recommended storage practices, your battery should be in good shape. However, if you notice any signs of damage or a significant decrease in performance, consider replacing your battery with a new and reliable option, like Dakota Lithium Plus batteries.
Taking care of your Dakota lithium RV battery during the winter is crucial to ensuring its longevity and optimal performance. By following the tips mentioned in this article, such as keeping your batteries charged, storing them in a climate-controlled place, and using battery tenders, you can significantly reduce the risk of damage and extend the lifespan of your RV battery. Remember to take preventive measures, such as disconnecting the battery and checking electrolyte levels, to safeguard against potential issues. With proper care, your RV battery will be ready to power your adventures for years.
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