Preparing Your Batteries for Winter

Well, here we are in November, our short summer is behind us, and we are now looking to what many predict as a long, cold and snowy Canadian winter. Our options to deal with this infamous Canadian winter is to load up and head to warmer parts in the Southern USA or Mexico or get prepared and face it head-on and get winterized.

Preparing for winter means cleaning garden beds, spreading fall fertilizers and covering those shrubs and trees that are near roadways to protect them from caustic road salt. Additionally, you'll want to cover or store your outdoor patio and lawn furniture so that you can enjoy it again in 6 short months. While doing those regualar winterizing duties, don't forget to properly winterize your RV!

Coolant antifreeze levels and viscosity must be checked to ensure against freezing. RV’s must have water lines and holding tanks purged and RV antifreeze added to prevent from freeze damage when the thermometer drops to sub-zero temperatures. Often overlooked in RV’s are the house batteries that may have not received a full charge at the end of the camping season. These batteries left alone will most likely be sulphated and frozen come spring if they are not tended to. Prior to winter storage, RV batteries should have the electrolyte levels checked to ensure the plates are covered and topped up with distilled water if low. Batteries should then be put on a overnight charge to ensure they are at 100% before stowing. In order to prevent battery drain while not in use, the battery should be disconnected from the system by removing the negative battery cable or disengaging the battery disconnect switch found on many new RV’s.

Your motorcycle, boat and garden tractor batteries should also have the electrolyte levels checked and topped up if required. Charging the batteries overnight with a good quality automatic charger is also very important as it is very common for personal watercraft batteries to be in a partial state of charge due to their start/stop nature and often the charging systems to not return them to full state of charge. Most personal watercraft have some type of parasite or off-key draw that will discharge the battery while not in use so it is also very important to disconnect the negative cable to prevent this battery killing phenomenon while not in use.

Remember that with any seasonal batteries, ideally they should be charged every 2-3 months while in storage to ensure they are at 100% state of charge. It is not necessary to bring batteries indoors for the winter months as cold weather slows the self discharge rate of batteries. However, many people choose to store their batteries in the garage or basement so as they can charge them periodically over the off-season. There are many options for battery charger maintainers like the Pulsetech brand that are designed to be left connected to the battery indefinitely when not in use. These chargers will ensure the batteries are always at 100% state of charge and utilize a patented high frequency pulse that keeps the internal plates free of any damaging sulfation.

Maintaining and charging batteries during the off season will ensure they are ready to start when the season returns, and will save you hundreds of dollars in unnecessary battery replacement.