By Bob Difley
One of the skills for making boondocking more enjoyable if you haven’t installed solar panels is the efficient use of your available electricity, which will reduce the length of time you need to run your generator or engine to recharge batteries. Recharging batteries always takes longer than you think, and the sound of a running engine can detract from the otherwise peace and quiet of boondocking in the wild.
So the simplest and most efficient skill is learning where and how much electricity your rig uses and what you can do to reduce this usage. First the simple stuff:
- Turn off all lights, including porch light and unneeded inside lights.
- Turn off TV, radio, computer, etc., when not in use. Don’t leave electronics in stand-by mode, which still drains the battery.
- Next, change your old electricity-using habits acquired from too many years of too much cheap electricity. Get up in the morning with the sun and go to bed at night when the sun does (well, mainly in the summer), saving the use of lights.
You can both recharge your batteries and stall their depletion by lumping heavy electrical usage together while running your generator. For example, if it’s been a hot day, use the dinner hour to run your roof air conditioner to reduce interior temps and your microwave for cooking. Then wash your evening dishes while your partner showers (both using the high-usage water pump), then you shower while your partner dries – all accomplished in a little over an hour of running time. Your batteries will have lost none of their stored electricity, and you will have given them a boost as well.
- Have plenty of rechargeable AA batteries for your book light, instead of using an interior light that drains your main house battery. Recharge when you get to hookups or with an inverter while on the road.
- Train yourself to enjoy quiet, so that you don’t automatically turn on the radio or television just to have some noise.
- Cut down on your TV time by taking a walk after your evening meal. You not only reduce your TV time, but will get needed exercise and help digest your meal. And this time of day is the active period for birds and wildlife, so bring your binoculars.
You can find Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.