Why Does My RV Battery Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

Have you ever been in your RV and smelt rotten eggs? Only to trace that smell back to the battery?

An RV battery produces a smell that can easily be mistaken for rotten eggs, but it is actually a sign of a problem. The odor is the result of hydrogen sulfide gas being released from vents on the battery caused by overcharging. The smell is created when chemical reactions with lead and sulfur in the battery create an energy-rich compound called sulfate. In the process, hydrogen sulfide gas is released from vents on the battery to remove heat from the reaction, which in turn creates an unpleasant odor.

The reason your RV battery smells like rotten eggs is because it’s probably been overcharged. When you overcharge your RV house battery the acid inside can boil which can send out sulfur gas, which smells like rotten eggs.

Why Does An Overcharged RV Battery Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

An RV battery that is overcharged can produce a chemical reaction that emits an unpleasant odor similar to rotten eggs. The sulfates in the electrolytes of the battery combine with atmospheric oxygen to produce sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide gas. In some cases, if the battery isn’t properly taken care of, this unpleasant odor may persist for three months or longer.

Not only does this gas smell like rotten eggs (thanks to the sulfur) but is poisonous and flammable. If you notice this rotten egg smell in your RV and it’s coming from the battery then ventilate your RV and disconnect the battery from it’s charging source.

What Do I Do If My RV Battery Smells Of Rotten Eggs?

If you suspect that your battery is the cause of the rotten egg smell in your RV then you need to act fast as this gas is harmful to humans. It could be that your smoke detectors go off before you can smell the gas, in any case try not to inhale the gas and do the following.

  • Turn your RV off.
  • Turn the battery switch off, and disconnect everything from the battery and remove it from the RV.
  • Ventilate the RV by opening all the doors, windows and vents.

Unfortunately once you have overcharged your battery you won’t be able to repair it, so it will need to be replaced with a new one.

What Causes An RV Battery To Overcharge?

Your converter is the most likely reason why your battery is overcharged. A broken converter will continue to charge your battery when it’s fully charged leading it to become overcharged. Even smart or three-stage converters can overcharge your battery if you have the wrong settings on it.

A smart converter has three charging settings:

• Bulk – this quickly charges your battery up to 90%.

• Absorption – this charges your battery up to 100% slower.

• Float – this keeps your battery charged as and when it needs it, ensuring it doesn’t go flat.

If you leave your smart convertor on bulk or absorption charge settings and forget to check then you can easily overcharge your battery. 

How To Stop My RV Battery From Overcharging

The best way to ensure that you don’t overcharge your RV battery is to use a smart converter and make sure that you don’t leave it on the bulk or absorption setting. Most new RVs come with the smart converters now, but you should definitely check that your converter is smart.

RV batteries need to be replaced every 3 to 4 years if looked after properly. Overcharging them will kill them quicker so it’s important to make sure that you keep track of the battery’s charge level.

To keep track of your battery’s charge level you can use a portable battery monitor, this LNEX Portable Battery Monitor will alert you when you battery level is high or low so you can stop it from going flat and being overcharged. This little device will increase the lifespan of your RV battery and pay for itself many times over.

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You can also charge your battery via a trickle charger, which charges it very slowly. 

How Do I Get Rid Of The Rotten Smell From My RV?

The best way to get rid of the rotten egg smell caused by an overcharged battery is to first eliminate the cause of the smell by disconnecting the battery and replacing it. 

Then you will have to keep your RV ventilated and try to air it out as much as possible. You can try air fresheners and room sprays on the furniture, but the best way to get rid of the smell is good old fashioned air flow.

After a few days of having the windows open your RV should be smelling normal again.

Final Thoughts

If your RV battery smells of rotten eggs then it’s probably because it’s overcharged. When lead acid batteries are overcharged the excess heat will cause a reaction that gives off the foul smelling gas.

If this happens, ventilate your RV well and disconnect the battery, unfortunately you will more than likely need to replace your battery.

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