Friday, July 14, 2017

8 Ways to Save RV Battery Power

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Do your slides require battery power to open and close? Know all the places in your RV that require electricity. The full list may surprise you.

8 Ways to Conserve
RV Battery Power

    By now you know that your RV batteries allow you to light up and cool down even if you are not plugged in or running a generator. 

    Known as the “house” batteries (as different from your engine’s “start” battery)  they are designed for long periods of use. Even if you operate on household power that is supplied by an inverter, it’s the batteries that provide the juice.

    House batteries are charged when you plug into an electric hookup and may also be charged by solar panels or running the engine. 

    How long and how strong depends on how you use them. Here’s how to make them last longer.

    1. First, know what items in your RV draw on battery power. It isn’t just lights and a 12-volt fridge. It’s pumps, electronic ignition in the gas stove and gas furnace, entertainment electronics, the electric awning, vent fans, slides  and the chargers for your phones and other devices. It’s easy to forget that you’re using battery power when, say, flushing the toilet or  running the electric step in and out. 

    2. Learn new habits when it comes to using juice. You can’t just take it for granted any more. For example, when running the fridge on battery power you can turn off the automatic icemaker, which uses extra power. 

    3.   Even if you’re not tech savvy, have a general idea of what appliances are the biggest battery drainers. Generally, that’s is anything that makes heat such as a 12-volt hair dryer or slow cooker. Do the lights go dim when a motor kicks in? That too is a clue to high energy use. 

    4. When you plug into shore power don’t forget to fully charge all your rechargeables including tools, flashlights and the Dust Buster. When recharging from an inverter, unplug chargers when finished or they will continue to consume power. 

    5.  As much as possible switch to LED bulbs. They give much more brightness for much less power. 

    6. You don’t have to go to a complete solar installation to make use of sun power. The RV market offers solar vent fans that are easily installed on existing overhead vent spaces. Automotive and office supply  markets offer inexpensive windowsill solar phone  chargers for phones and other small appliances. This solar fan cools the refrigerator vent when the RV is parked in hot sun.

    7. Watch that energy waste when you are outdoors and using RV power. Replace awning lights with LED bulbs. Use LED lanterns outside instead of the RV’s lights. Keep tabs on the kids when they are using 12-volt inflaters for beach toys. In fact, this is a good time to educate kids in all types of energy conservation. In an RV, supplies are limited.

    8.  Explore alternatives to 12-volt appliances. Heat water on the gas stove to use in a drip coffee maker or French press. Devise a fireless cooker to replace the slow cooker. Snuggle under a goose down duvet instead of a 12-volt electric blanket. 

         When we were kids, Dad always reminded us to turn off the lights when we left the room. It's still a good habit to have. 
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