Depending on where you store your RV, you may plug it in while it sits in storage. This can allow you to keep power to your electronics and your battery fully charged. It will be ready for whatever adventure you have planned when you want to use it.
However, can you leave your RV plugged in indefinitely? Are there risks if you do?
Today, we’re answering this important question and helping you to get the most out of your RV. Let’s get started!
How Long Can You Leave an RV Plugged In?
How long you can leave your RV plugged in depends on your RV. If you have a modern one, you have a good chance that you can leave it plugged in indefinitely and not experience any issues.
This is because the converter will detect that you have full batteries and switch to an alternative charging mode to trickle-charge them. This avoids overcharging, which can cause permanent damage to the battery.
However, your converter may not have this feature if you have an older RV. You could damage the battery by leaving your RV plugged in for extended periods. If this is your situation, you should consider upgrading to a newer converter or leaving your RV unplugged.
Can I Leave My RV Plugged in 365 Days a Year?
Plenty of people live in their RVs full-time and leave their rigs plugged in 365 days a year. Many of these individuals have modern RVs with upgraded converters that help them avoid overcharging their batteries.
However, many of these individuals have no plans to use their cheap batteries and aren’t concerned with the damage they could cause to them.
But just because you don’t need to use your battery doesn’t mean you don’t need to maintain it. You should check the electrolyte levels regularly if you have a lead-acid battery. You can create a dangerous situation if you run it dry.
Pro Tip: We crunched the numbers to uncover How Many Batteries Does an RV Need to Operate Seamlessly?
Do RVs Need to Be Plugged in When Not in Use?
Whether or not you need to plug in your RV to use it depends on your RV. Some owners have upgraded their rig’s electrical system, allowing them full use of it, whether plugged in or not.
However, standard RVs don’t come this way, and if you don’t plug into a power source, you likely can only use the 12-Volt system, which runs off the battery.
The 12-Volt system typically includes the slides of your RV, leveling gear, lights, and fans throughout your RV. If you find that these items don’t work, you have a good chance of having a dead battery or a worse situation.
Let the battery sit on a charger for a few hours, and give it another try.
Will I Overcharge My Batteries If I Leave My RV Plugged in All the Time?
Whether or not you’ll overcharge your RV’s batteries depends on the electrical system in your rig. If your converter can detect a fully charged battery, it’ll switch over to a “floating” charge setting. This will reduce the voltage sent to your battery to avoid overcharging it.
If your RV has this converter, you shouldn’t worry about overcharging it. However, if your electrical system does not have this feature, you’ll want to consider upgrading your components to ensure your battery lasts as long as possible.
Pro Tip: Be careful to avoid doing these things that Completely Destroy Your RV Battery.
What Happens If RV Batteries Overcharge?
If you overcharge your RV batteries, you can cause serious irreversible damage. Overcharging the batteries can increase their heat, which causes the electrolyte to diminish faster. This water loss can result in plate corrosion and, eventually, the total failure of the battery.
In addition to reducing its lifespan, you could also cause a dangerous situation. If the battery develops a crack, the acid inside could destroy the wiring and any surrounding components.
How Do I Keep My RV Battery Healthy?
The best way to keep your RV battery healthy is to have the right equipment to protect it. You need a converter and a battery management system that can adjust based on the needs of your battery.
You don’t want it constantly getting sent the maximum voltage. It is essential to trickle-charge your battery and back off the power running to it once it’s fully charged.
Can You Start an RV When It’s Plugged In?
It is perfectly safe to start an RV when plugged into a power source. However, you want to ensure you unplug it before you pull out to hit the road.
If not, you could cause serious damage to your RV and the power source. This is one expensive mistake you don’t want to make.
How Much Power Does an RV Use When Plugged In?
When plugged in, the amount of power an RV will require depends on what systems you run inside. If you’re simply trying to keep the batteries charged and refrigerators cool, you can expect to use between 15 and 24 kilowatt-hours per day.
However, the power draw will be substantially more if you plan to run an air conditioning unit or heater.
Whatever option you choose, just make sure you protect your battery. You don’t want to cause a dangerous situation or destroy your RV’s battery. You want it to be ready to go the next time you need to use it.
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