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Do RV Battery Boxes Need to be Vented?

Sometimes, it can seem as if many components of modern RVs require a lot of upkeep and maintenance. There are quite a few things that you will have to keep in mind as you maintain your rv. One of those vital components is, of course, your RV’s battery.

If you were to take a look at your RV’s battery, could you tell if it has proper ventilation? Or, would you even know if it should be vented at all?

The facts are that your RV battery does need to be vented. While some RV enthusiasts may tell you it isn’t necessary, this is a misconception that can cause quite a serious issue. If your RVs battery box is not properly vented, it could lead to an explosion.

Do RV Battery Boxes Need To Be Vented?

RVs utilize a variety of assorted battery types – what style yours uses will depend on the manufacturer. Most commonly, you will see lead acid, gel cells, AGMs, and select others. 

These all produce gas – namely, hydrogen. If you are up on your periodic table of elements, you will know that hydrogen can be explosive. This isn’t usually a problem, as that gas will remain in the battery. The problem, however, occurs when the hydrogen isn’t allowed to completely expel itself from the battery. 

If you’ve stumbled upon a very old household battery that has been stuck inside something for quite a long time, you might have noticed that it has leaked. It’s possible that you caught this battery at just the right time; if vapor pressure had been allowed to build up, or if it was overcharged, even that little battery could have exploded.

This principle goes doubly for your RV battery. If you take a peek at your RV battery, you might notice that the manufacturer has left a notice somewhere on the body of it that references ventilation. 

The risk here arises from overcharging. When a battery is overcharged, it begins to boil, in a way. That boiling process creates a lot of excess hydrogen. When the buildup of hydrogen goes beyond 10%, you are creeping closer to the risk of an explosion. Or, even worse, a hydrogen leak that can be easily ignited by even the tiniest spark.

What can stop these dangerous scenarios? The answer is proper battery box ventilation. When your RVs battery box is cleanly vented, you’ll avoid hydrogen buildup. 

To make a long story short: yes, your RV battery box does need to be vented.

What Is Battery Box Ventilation? 

Usually, talk of ventilation in the RV sphere involves a lot of technical know-how. However RV battery box ventilation is actually a rather simple concept.

Your RV’s battery is kept inside an enclosure. This enclosure is the titular battery box, and it will likely have small holes in it on the top and bottom.

Suppose that you notice your RV battery box seems to not be pre-vented. When you run into this, fret not: you can easily add the holes in yourself. With a household drill, preferably a handheld one, drill holes in the top and bottom of the box. The standard size for these holes is about 25 mm.

If you are not into DIY, there’s always the option of buying one. If you stop by your local RV supply store, you are likely to come across several specialty ventilated RV boxes ready for you to buy and install. Most of these installations will be straightforward, something you can tackle easily. 

Take heed, you will need to ensure that you are buying a battery box that is large enough to house the battery your RV uses. Before you head out to purchase your new vent system, take a quick moment to measure the batteries themselves.

Do You Need To Vent Lithium-Ion Batteries? 

While it has been established that most standard RV batteries should be vented, what of lithium ion? Lithium ion batteries are newer on the scene for RVs. These batteries play by their own rules, so to speak; they work differently than the standard lead acid models. 

It would actually be rather uncommon for lithium ion RV batteries to become overcharged. Even if they are, a small amount of overcharging will not actually cause any damage to the battery. If it were to be damaged by an external source, such as a strong impact, the device will begin to smoke. 

This brings about an unorthodox, but still useful reason to vent your lithium-ion battery box. In the event of damages that produce smoke, the vents will allow that smoke to exit. The sight and smell of it will alert you right away to the issue. Having a head start into addressing a problem, especially one involving smoke, can make a significant difference in avoiding disaster.


If you haven’t taken a look at your RV’s battery box since you started your journey in RV ownership, now might be the time to take a look. Even though some vehicular veterans might claim that you don’t have to vent your RV battery box, this is untrue.

RV battery boxes need to be vented. The reason is that hydrogen can easily build up within the battery and potentially leak. When that hydrogen build up reaches a certain percentage, you can expect an explosion. Even if you manage to circumvent the explosion, hydrogen is extremely flammable. It only takes the smallest ember to set this gas ablaze.

If you see that you were battery box is invented, have no fear. With a hand drill, you can insert holes of your own, usually at the top and bottom of the box. If that’s not for you, you can also buy one pre-vented.

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