Can I leave my RV plugged in all winter?

Whether you live in a cold climate, or a warm one, you may want to leave your RV plugged into shore power for many reasons. These reasons can vary, but there are also downsides to be aware of which we will cover throughout this article.

Can I leave my RV plugged in all winter? Yes, you can leave your rv plugged in all winter. There are several reasons you may want to leave it plugged in such as leaving the refrigerator on, charging batteries, keeping the RV heated or cooled so you can take it out in the winter months. There are, however, several precautions to take.

Why would you leave your RV plugged in all winter?

Leaving the Heat On

If you live in a climate that still has camping running throughout the winter season, you may want to leave your RV ready to go. Some of these climates can have freezing, so you would not want your RV water lines to freeze.

You can leave your heat on or have a small electric heater to keep your lines heated while you are not using your RV so it is ready to go and has no possibility of freezing.

Leaving the A/C on

If you live in a warm climate, you may want to leave your air conditioner on so you can keep your unit cool if you periodically use it or go camping throughout the off season.

Keeping Batteries Charged

Keeping your batteries topped off will ensure they are ready to go at a moment’s notice. This may not be a good idea in freezing climates. You can find out more about that below.

Leaving Fridge On

Many people like to leave the refrigerator on for extra space if their house refrigerator gets full. This can also be helpful if you are having a party or get together and you need to offload your items in your house fridge to provide more room.

Also, you can leave your fridge stocked so you can take your trailer or RV out at a moment’s notice.

Extra Housing

You may have family in town for Christmas or throughout the holiday season. Letting them use your RV will both keep you and them more comfortable by giving each other your individual space.

This is also helpful if you do not have room inside your house to have guests stay. By leaving your RV plugged in, you can keep it warm, keep items such as the refrigerator on as well as water lines heated with an electric heater if you are in the colder climate. If you are in the southern climate, you can turn on the a/c prior to guests arriving to make them comfortable.

Why you shouldn’t leave your RV plugged in all winter

There are several reasons you should not keep your RV plugged in all winter. These are as follows:

Extra Cost

Having your RV plugged in with utilities on will cost more on your electric bill than if you don’t. Just charging the batteries and running basic items will run draw that will cost money. If you leave a heater on either gas or electric will cost time and money either checking on your pipes to make sure they don’t freeze or getting propane to fill up because you don’t winterize your vehicle.

Extra Wear and Tear

By leaving your RV plugged in, you will have extra wear and tear on your devices such as heat, air conditioner, batteries, etc… These will require more upkeep as they are being used around the year versus just the summer or camping season where you live.

Lots of people like to leave their fridge on, but will find out that they have to clean it out and defrost in spring as it can become musty depending on how it was set.

Battery Health

Batteries are meant to be used by having some draw and not plugged into the charger 100% of the time. If you have a smart charger that will trickle charge your batteries, you may leave it plugged in, but if you have an older RV, this will do lots of damage.

RV batteries are typically wet cell meaning you need to check the fluid and refill periodically. If you leave your RV plugged in, make sure to check your batteries once a month or more often depending on how they look.

Batteries are not meant for the cold, so if you live in a cold climate, it is strongly recommended you remove your batteries and store inside a garage or basement on a piece of wood and keep on a battery maintainer or charged periodically. This will keep your batteries in good condition for the following season.

What would I do?

Warm Climate

If I lived in a warm climate and had the ability to use my trailer or RV year round, I would leave my RV plugged in so I can have some basic food items and condiments left in there as well as to keep the batteries charged so my camper is ready to go at any moments notice.

Cold Climate

If I were in a cold climate which I am, I would not leave my trailer or RV plugged in as I won’t be using it for that period of time. There is no way I am going to get my trailer out when it is snowing and try and tow and use it. I always remove my batteries, store them in the basement on some wood and charge them periodically.

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