When preparing your caravan for winter storage, remember to look after the leisure battery as well. The leisure battery is an essential part of keeping the electronics in your caravan running so you will want to make sure that it survives the cold temperatures. There are several factors that can affect the condition of a battery. Use the following tips to ensure that your caravan’s leisure battery will still be in good condition when you go on your next trip.
Should You Remove the Leisure Battery or Leave It in the Caravan?
There are two options for the caravan’s leisure battery. Either, remove the battery from the caravan and keep the battery at home while the caravan is in storage. Alternatively, leave the leisure battery in the caravan and occasionally return to the storage space to check its condition. Both are valid options as long as the correct precautions and maintenance steps are taken. So how do you decide which one is the better option?
Choosing between leaving the leisure battery in the caravan during storage or to take it home depends mostly on the storage space. Ask yourself these questions when trying to decide. Is it convenient enough to go to the storage space to check the condition of the battery? Are the battery fluids and battery container save from cold temperatures and freezing? Is it possible to use a trickle charge while the caravan is in storage? Is there an electricity supply available in the storage space? If you’ve answered ‘no’ to any of these questions then you might want to consider removing the leisure battery and taking care of it at home.
Another factor to consider is your insurance policy. Does your insurance policy still hold up when there is no electricity available during storage to activate the alarms? For this reason alone, you might need to keep the leisure battery working in the caravan during storage.
Regardless of which option you choose, the leisure battery should not be left unused for longer than six weeks at a time. Also, make sure that the resting voltage of the leisure battery remains above 50%. If it drops below 50% then the capacity of the battery significantly lowers.
What To Do When the Leisure Battery Is Removed
If you choose to remove the leisure battery from the caravan during winter storage, then keep the battery in a safe and dry place at home. Leisure batteries are not extremely large so it can easily be kept in the garage or storage room.
Make sure that the battery won’t be exposed to extreme temperatures. Also, wipe the terminals clean before applying a layer of petroleum jelly. This layer will protect the terminals from corrosion caused by weather conditions.
Make sure that the leisure battery is fully charged (list of the best leisure battery chargers here) before it is going to be left unused. Since the battery is not in use once removed, you can connect a trickle charger. A trickle charger provides the battery with a very low charge that is equal to the battery’s rate of depletion. This keeps the leisure battery at the same charge and prevents depletion.
What To Do If the Leisure Battery Is Left in Caravan
There are two ways to keep the leisure battery in a good condition when it is left in the caravan during winter storage. Either connect the leisure battery to a trickle charger or return to the storage space to regularly swap batteries.
If you choose the latter, you will need to have at least two leisure batteries. Replace the leisure battery in the caravan with another fully charged one every six weeks or more often. Check what the depletion rate is of the leisure battery to determine how often the batteries need to be swapped out.
If you choose to use a trickle charger, consider purchasing a solar panel instead when storing your caravan in an outdoor space. You will no longer need another electricity supply if you are using a solar panel. Also, depending on the battery, you can connect the solar panel directly to the leisure battery which cuts out the need for other electrical equipment. Of course, this is not an option for enclosed storage spaces.
If the solar panel is an option, check how much energy the solar panel can provide and how much is needed for the battery. Keep in mind where the solar placed. Preferably, place the solar panel facing south for maximum sunlight. Also, consider how perhaps windows or other blocking factors affect how many watts the solar panel can actually provide.
Remember that electrical equipment might still be using electricity when left on stand-by. Unplug all electrical appliances during storage with exception of the alarm system or tracker. Alternatively, make sure that none of the appliances drain energy from the leisure battery by using the caravan’s isolation switch. Even when you use a trickle charger, no electrical items should be left on. This will deplete the charge faster than the trickle charger can match.
For both options, take precautions to protect the leisure battery from frost and freeze. Cold temperatures reduce the capacity of the battery. It is worth it to turn on all the systems in the caravan every few weeks to make sure that everything is still functioning.
Other Battery Storage Tips
Before you remove the leisure battery or before you leave the caravan for winter storage, check the resting voltage. Disconnect the battery after it has been fully charged. You will be able to get an accurate reading after four to six hours since the leisure battery has been used.
Check that there is enough ventilation. A battery that is overcharged can release a foul smell which is actually hydrogen sulfide. Dispose of the battery as soon as possible when you notice the smell. The battery is no longer safe to use nor will it have the same capacity.
Why not invest in a battery monitor? That way you can keep an eye on the charge all the time.