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An RV battery is a vital component of your rig. Without this 12V unit, most of the devices will not function. So, you may want to know everything about the battery, especially if you do a lot of dry camping. Keeping the battery charged is a challenge. Does RV battery charge when plugged in? That is a valid question that could come from any travel trailer owner. Well, here we are going to discuss the RV house battery, its charging methods, and how to take care of it.

What is an RV Battery?

The RV house battery is a deep-cycle, lead battery unit that supplies operation power to devices and gadgets by storing electrical power for a long time. Its power delivery rate is stable until it needs recharging, which means its charge being dropped below 20%.

Charging the batteries take more time than draining them. To keep the battery functioning and healthy, you have to recharge it whenever its charge is low. Normally, a house battery can be drained below 80% but manufacturers recommend not to drain it below 45%. A battery can last for a minimum of 10 years if taken well care of.

A deep cycle natter is different from the units that deliver only short energy bursts. The former one delivers sustained energy for a longer period while the latter can deliver only a small percentage for every use.

The short energy providing batteries are good for machines that need a quick start or a good amount of energy for kicking off. But a deep-cycle battery is good for machines that need a continuous energy supply, such as RVs, forklifts, kitchen appliances, and more.

Does RV Battery Charge When Plugged in?

Yes, it does. The battery draws charge every time you plug in your RV. As this is only trickle charging (which means powering up a completely charged battery at its self-discharging rate), the battery’s electrolytes get consumed. So, checking the battery’s condition is necessary when you leave the RV plugged in for a long time, such as during the winter months.

A battery gets charged in three stages. You should use a three-stage charger instead of an in-built charger for a smoother charging process.

How to Keep Batteries Well for a Long Time

Charging the RV batteries the wrong way can cut their lives short. You will need to follow some rules if you want to run them for a long time.

  • You already know that the battery keeps getting charged, exhausting the electrolyte level, when you store the camper by keeping it plugged in. To prevent the inevitable drainage, disconnect the ground wire when storing the vehicle.
  • A battery functions at its peak (yielding the highest amount of voltage) when fully charged. So, keep it as charged as possible to get the best service. However, never overcharge as it could destroy the electrolytes.
  • To make sure the battery survives more than its usual lifespan, never let the charge drop below 45%. Depleting the charge below 20% is harmful to the battery’s health, and it may never perform at its 100% again. Some batteries have an indicator to display its charge level. If there is no indicator, check the voltage to find out the charge status.
  • Does RV battery charge when plugged in? Yes, it does. But that is not good for its health. A connected battery experiences parasitic drainage as various components like clocks, stereos, gas leak detectors, and many other things keep draining power. So, keep it disconnected when you don’t intend to use it.
  • Don’t keep the battery in a place that is extremely hot. Hot temperatures are bad for the health of batteries and can eventually kill them. You need to examine the battery regularly during the hot months. If the electrolyte level is low, add distilled water to prevent damage.

Related: Do I Need a Battery for My Travel Trailer?

RV Is Hooked up to an Outlet: Should You Keep the Battery Switched off?

does rv battery charge when plugged in
No need to switch off the battery for frequent hooking up.

Does RV battery charge when plugged in? You know that it does, which is damaging to its health due to parasitic drain. However, it is only true when you are going to keep in storage for a long time.

There is no need to switch the battery off every time you plug the camper into an electrical outlet. When the camper is plugged in, the RV converter delivers the 12V DC electricity to the vehicle, bypassing the battery. The same thing happens when you run a generator.


However, check the electrolyte level at regular intervals (at least once in a month) if the camper is hooked up to an outlet constantly. Refill with distilled water if the level is low. You can leave the batteries turned on unless the RV is going to be unoccupied for a long period.

About Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman is an interesting travel blogger and outdoor photographer with a great sense of humor. He owns an RV Accessories shop in New York City so he has the knowledge necessary to provide thorough reviews and give advice on how to choose the right products for RV travel. He puts all that RV knowledge and experience to good use in his sharing posts. Besides product buying guides/reviews, Chris also writes informative articles, how-to articles and RV camping guides in his own interesting viewpoint. Chris’s blog is one of the most reliable information sources for RV campers no matter if you're an expert or a determined beginner.

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