RV Batteries Part 4
Flooded batteries design has changed little in over 80 years while the manufacturing processes and internal containers have improved. But the basic components and the chemistry have not changed much. They are the most widely available, and in most cases, the most cost effective of the three types for RV use.
The downside with Flooded batteries is that they take the most maintenance and attention, and are the easiest to be damaged by vibration and potholes. The fluid inside flooded lead-acid batteries is a concentrated sulfuric acid. If it escapes from the battery container, either from splashing out from being jostled, or boiled out by overcharging, you have two problems.
First and most immediate, is cleaning up the acid spill. And since the acid is no longer in the battery, your second problem is the electrolyte level within the battery. This can prohibit your battery from being fully recharged. Also, if “the spill” is not cleaned up quickly, the sulfuric acid on the surface of the battery will, over time, react with the battery terminals and form some beautiful crystal formations on the terminals. This is battery corrosion and the formation of this corrosion drains energy from your battery.
Also, if the leaked battery acid flows down the sides of the battery to the tray beneath, it will eat through the paint and start to corrode (rust), the steel pan holding it in place. As bad as this sounds, a bit of love and attention will keep your flooded batteries working properly for 3-5 years down here in south Texas. But when it is time to replace them, don’t delay, replace it. Dragging out the replacement time just leads to more work, more frustration and a higher probability of not having the power reserve you will need. Their condition will only get worse.