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Friday, December 11, 2009

Efficient battery/generator electrical usage tip

Once you have some boondocking time under your belt, you will be surprised at how easy it becomes to limit or eliminate using some of those high energy appliances (HEAs. These are the ones that suck the available electricity out of your batteries like a vampire hooked on sulphuric acid. In many instances, cutting back on these appliances may be just a matter of breaking old habits.

Air-conditioning, for instance, is a luxury you can learn to live without while boondocking. Once your body adjusts to regulating its own temperature, you will only occasionally miss it. As RVers and boondockers we move around with the weather. We don’t stay in the desert when the sun is so hot it will fry eggs on a rock, or stay at hot lower elevations when we can cool off by climbing in altitude or camping in cool, shady forests. And do you really want to stay cooped up inside your rig with all the windows closed and the air-conditioner running? Much better to leave the windows open to air circulation and go outside and seek shade or a breeze.

The (HEAs) that run only a short while--like a microwave, water pump, blender, or coffee grinder--you can schedule to run when your generator is producing the electricity and will run the appliances. This will pump a little electricity back into your batteries, minimize your generator run time, and preserve the electricity--instead of depleting it--already in your batteries.

For instance, turn on your water heater after dinner while you clean up. When the water is hot (it only takes about ten minutes) turn on the generator so it is running the water pump while you wash up your dinner dishes. Your partner can shower during this time, followed by you. While you are showering, your partner is grinding the coffee beans for the morning coffee, drying and putting away dishes.

Leave the water heater on for a few minutes after you finish to replace the hot water you used. This will then last until the next evening so you can turn off the water heater, saving propane and the noise of it turning on and off. This efficient use of your generator and HEAs will make your available electricity last longer, minimize generator use, and make you feel good from having used your natural resources wisely.

Learn more about boondocking with my new eBook, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands.

1 comment:

  1. Grouping things together in the morning and at night is a great idea but only the water pump and heater of all the HEAs you mention run on battery. The rest all require 110 / generator. I find the worst battery consumer are the lights in the rig. Very thirsty! The water pump and water heater don't draw that much juice. Only when they're used. It is best to shut off the hot water heater when the water gets up to temperature as there is no reason to keep reheating it to scalding every half hour or so. I also find that in three different RVs I've used, the hot water has to be heated twice a day. Best way to conserve battery power is by limiting overhead lighting or installing LED lights.