A well-known problem with flooded lead-acid and AGM batteries is sulfation. Sulfation shortens the life of lead-acid batteries and will eventually lead to a total failure of the battery. Battery sulfation is easy to avoid, and in this article, I’ll share tips on how to prevent it from happening to your battery bank.
As an RV owner, you rely on your battery to power everything from your lights to your refrigerator. But what happens when your battery isn’t performing as well as it should be? One possible culprit is battery sulfation.
In this post, we’ll explore what battery sulfation is, how it happens, and what you can do to prevent it from happening in your RV. You might also want to review this article on Extending the Lifespan of your RV House Batteries for additional tips on maintaining your RVs batteries.
What is Battery Sulfation?
Battery sulfation is a common problem that can occur when your battery is not charged properly. It also happens when it is left in a partially discharged state for an extended period of time. When this happens, lead sulfate crystals form on the battery’s lead plates, reducing its capacity. They also make it more difficult to charge.
Over time, the sulfation process can become more advanced, and the crystals can grow larger and harder, making them even more difficult to remove. This leads to a battery that no longer holds a charge.
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How Does Sulfation Happen in an RV Battery?
In an RV battery, sulfation can occur for a number of reasons. Here are a few common culprits:
- Undercharging: Sulfation occurs if your battery isn’t charged to full capacity. This is because lead sulfate crystals created during discharge are not fully converted back into the lead and sulfuric acid.
- Over-discharging: Leaving the battery partially discharged for too long, lead sulfate crystals can become more difficult to remove.
- Long-Term Storage: If your RV is in storage for an extended period of time, your battery can become sulfated if it’s not properly maintained.
- Extreme Temperatures: If your battery is exposed to extreme temperatures, sulfation can occur more rapidly.
Preventing Battery Sulfation in Your RV
Now that you know what battery sulfation is and how it happens, let’s talk about what you can do to prevent it from happening in your RV.
- Charge Your Battery Properly: Make sure you’re charging your RV battery to its full capacity. When using a generator or solar panels to charge batteries, carefully monitor that the battery is being charged properly.
- Avoid Over-Discharging Your Battery: Try to avoid letting your battery become too depleted before recharging it. If you’re storing your RV for an extended period of time, install a battery disconnect switch. This will prevent the battery from discharging completely.
- Use a Battery Tender: A battery tender is a device that maintains its charge level. This can be especially useful if you’re storing your RV for an extended period of time.
- Monitor Your Battery’s Temperature: Try to keep your battery at a moderate temperature, between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If your RV is exposed to extreme temperatures, consider investing in a battery blanket or insulation.
- Use Distilled Water: When adding water to your battery, use distilled water. This can help prevent impurities from entering the battery and causing sulfation.
Battery sulfation is a common problem that can occur in RV batteries, but it’s also a problem that’s preventable. By following the tips outlined in this post, you can help ensure that your RV battery stays in good condition and continues to provide reliable power for years to come.
Remember, if you’re not comfortable working with your RV’s battery or electrical system, it’s always best to consult a professional. With proper care and maintenance, your RV battery can last for years. This will save you money and help you enjoy all the adventures that the open road has to offer.