By Jim Twamley
When I owned a house it came with a lawn which I had to water and mow and water and mow. As a full-time RVer I no longer owned a lawn (angels singing, fanfare playing) and therefore I no longer had to water the lawn. However, I still had to water my batteries.
A vital component of your RV’s electrical system is your battery bank. It really is like a bank because you make deposits of electricity and then make withdrawals and hopefully you never let the balance in your account drop below 50 percent. Why? Because this will ruin your batteries like bounced checks will ruin your credit.
You also need to “water” your batteries from time to time. This means that you “top off” the cells with distilled water. Always use distilled water because the minerals have been removed and will prevent CBU (crud build up) on your battery plates. To do this job you will need distilled water, a turkey baster, eye protection, a flashlight and some paper towels.
First put on your eye protection (you’re working with acid here), then open your battery cell cover. Mine are the e-z-open kind with flip-levers, but you may have batteries that require a flat-head screwdriver to pop them open. Next, you suck up some water in the old turkey baster and fill your battery cells so that the water completely covers the lead plates (hopefully you haven’t let the water level get this low). I usually fill the cell until the water is even with the bottom of the fill hole.
Do not fill it to the top because when you replace the cap, it will spill battery acid all over your battery and run down the side and muck up your battery compartment causing severe CBU. If you do accidentally fill it to the top, just use the baster to remove the excess and put it into the next available cell that needs topped off. Do not — repeat DO NOT gargle with this stuff!
Put the covers back on and wipe up any spills with the paper towels. Be sure to wash your hands — a mixture of baking soda and water will neutralize any acid that may have come in contact with skin or anything else for that matter. Try not to get any of this stuff on your skin or your clothing. But if you do, don’t freak out, just neutralize it and thoroughly wash it off. That’s it, you’re done.
Oh, one word of advice: Don’t use your kitchen turkey baster. Trust me, you wife will know you used it no matter how much you clean it! Just pick one up at the Dollar Store and stay out of trouble.
photo: Jim Twamley