Is It Bad To Leave Your RV Plugged In All The Time? See The Right Answer Here

Not always you will be able to course through long RV nomad trips. When you tuck yourself safely in your house, your RV also needs extra care and attention to keep it working.

With regular maintenance, you can save yourself from the trouble of dead batteries and damaged appliances.

So now let’s answer the question. Is it safe to leave your RV plugged in all the time when you are not using it?

Let’s see.

Is it bad to leave your RV plugged in all the time?

To answer this question, you need to know about the nature of RV batteries first. There are two types of RV batteries: deep cycle batteries and lithium batteries.

Deep cycle or wet cell batteries(lead-acid) are traditional batteries, whereas lithium batteries are generally found in modern RVs. It requires low maintenance and care. But it is very expensive compared to the other. [1]

That brings us back to traditional wet-cell batteries which functions with the help of electrolytes present in it. The water present in the battery will charge it.

Therefore, flooded wet cell batteries require regular maintenance because, if the electrolyte depletes with the charging, it will damage the battery. It will boil off and make it unusable.

Next important thing is that your RV runs off on two power sources 120 V AC and 12 V DC. When the RV is connected to an electrical hookup, the converter connects AC to DC and charges the batteries. This, in turn, is used to run big electrical appliances including AC, refrigerators.

Therefore, if you are leaving your RV plugged in all the time, the battery will keep on charging. The converter will convert the shore power into battery charge and use it to run the electric devices inside.[2]

Leaving your RV plugged in all the time: Bright Side

This will make sure that your battery won’t die when you are not using it. Constant charging will keep the batteries up.

In short, it will keep your battery sufficiently charged. Your RV battery will die out of sulfation if you don’t.

If your RV runs on lithium batteries, you can leave it plugged in all the time because they have an effective control system that prevents overcharging. That is why they are expensive, but it will safeguard your battery from damage.

But if your RV uses wet cell batteries it is not advisable to leave it plugged in because it will harm the battery by emptying the electrolytes in it.

RV batteries charge when plugged in. So if you overcharge it, it is prone to damage.
Most things in RV won’t work without house batteries. They are responsible for routing electricity into an RV.

It helps to keep appliances running when the RV is not running, with the energy stored inside the battery.

Another benefit is that it will save your battery from sulfation. Sulfation kills the battery when left uncharged for a long time, due to the formation of small crystals inside the battery.

winters your battery would freeze if not charged, so plugging it full time will ensure this won’t happen.
Both undercharging and overcharging are harmful to the RV battery. [3]

Leaving your RV plugged in all the time: Negative Side

As mentioned earlier RV batteries are vulnerable to overcharging. Overcharging will deplete the electrolyte level will kill your battery.

When an RV is plugged into a house battery all the time, it charges the battery repeatedly. Even if it is just a trickle of charge, overtime it will overcharge and dry up the cell.

In order to prevent this, you need to keep an eye on the electrolyte level once a month and maintain the electrolyte level.

Do a regular check and ensure the water level is adequate. You can replenish the battery using distilled water if the need arises. It should be watered only after charging. If properly maintained it would last for 6 years.

Also, you need to make sure that the battery is not overcharging, or else it will fry your battery and leave it damages beyond repair. [4]

What should I do now?

Monitor the electrolyte levels of the batteries if you are using lead-acid batteries. Check once in a month when their electrolyte levels have gone dry or gone low.

If low, top them off with distilled water and replenish it, without drying them out. Make sure none of your 120 v appliances is on.

You can also keep your battery charged without plugging it all the time when you are not using it.

This is where the Battery Disconnect switch comes into play. There are devices in your RV that constantly draws electricity from batteries, like safety devices and clocks. Turning the battery disconnect off, you disable all these devices.

When you turn battery disconnect off, you will leave the battery with the same state of charge it was and it will leave the battery fully charged when you come back. It will leave the battery in a good state.

They can be installed separately if your camper is not equipped with one.

If you are using lithium-ion batteries, you needn’t worry about the frequent maintenance and upkeep.
You can also use a converter to convert DC to AC without draining the batteries.

Conclusion

If you are not a typical RV nomad, there arises a need to keep it plugged in at home when you are not traveling, so know your battery and charger and take appropriate measures.

Ensure your charger is accurately set for the right size and type of your batteries.

So, next time when you are confused about what to do with your RV during off-seasons, keep these tips in your mind.

Use your judgment and decide what is best for keeping your RV battery safe. Taking a few safety measures will ensure a long life for your RV.