Battery maintenance, while necessary, is a cumbersome and dirty task. Add too much water you have a problem. Add too little or check infrequently, you have a problem.
According to Batterystuff.com, “A serviceable battery needs to have the fluid level checked. Use only mineral free water, Distilled is best as all impurities have been removed, and there is nothing left that could contaminate your cells. Don’t overfill battery cells especially in warmer weather because the natural fluid expansion in hot weather can push excess electrolytes from the battery.”
Most experts recommend checking the water level in your lead acid battery at least once per month, perhaps more in extreme hot or cold weather. Our rig, a Berkshire 34QS has two maintenance free (for the water level anyway) 12-volt engine batteries, however, it has four 6-volt house batteries, all of the lead acid type. So once a month I had to remove 24 cell caps and try to squeeze my body into the battery bin with a flash light in an attempt to determine the water level. Not a pretty sight!
“Battery maintenance should only be performed on a fully-charged battery.”
A little research led me to the Flow-Rite On Board Battery Watering System and the related Flow-Rite Pro-Fill/Qwik Fill Hand Pump (required for using the Flo-Rite watering system). A brilliant invention which replaces the cell caps with interconnected winged float valve manifolds, all connecting to one or two water lines. Once a month connect the one (or two) water line(s) to the Hand Pump. Insert the other end of the hand pump into a gallon of distilled water. Give the pump a few squeezes or until it no longer pumps and you’re done! No fuss, no mess, no over or under filling. Nothing could be easier. Caution, though. Maintenance should only be performed on a fully charged battery.
One Watering System kit will fit two 6-volt batteries so my rig needed two kits. You will only need one Hand Pump. With the assistance of my son we were able to install the kit ourselves onto all four batteries in about 40 minutes. If we had to do it again I believe we could cut 10 minutes off of that. The only tools required were a sharp pair of scissors to cut the tubing to the proper length and a flash light to illuminate the battery bin.
The following video from Pro-Fill provides visual step-by-step instructions on installing the Flow-Rite kit:
I hope you find this short review and video helpful. We’d all like to have lithium batteries in our rig, but, until their price comes down this may have to do for now. If you’d like to purchase this fill-kit check out the links below. I purchased mine on Amazon.com and found the price is very reasonable given the time savings.
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