Anyone that has ever lifted a battery knows that they are quite heavy and bulky. In many cases the demand for power on a boat is greater than the space that is available to hold the battery banks. In these instances it is important to take a long analytical look at our system and make some choices. Knowing the power requirements of your vessel and being able to separate the heavy loads from all else can be beneficial when performing a power audit.
Turning off navigation equipment like the autopilot or radar when not under way or turning off the cabin lights when they are not being used can take consumption down. However, it may not be enough to reduce frequency of charge.
Here are some examples that can be used to reduce power consumption.
- Refrigeration: Among the biggest consumers of power on a boat it is important to make sure that it is working correctly and in older boats it should be an upgrade consideration.
- Lights: Change navigation, anchor and cabin lights to LED (light emitting diodes) this simple move can reduce the power consumption for the purposes of illumination by 90%. Traditional tungsten and halogen light bulbs are highly inefficient. Another benefit of LEDs is that there are a myriad of colors that are available so you can get creative.
- Inverter: Since many inverters have a stand-by draw of 1 to 2 amps, you should consider turning inverters off when you don’t need any AC.
- Large AC Loads: Use only large AC loads such as microwave or hair dryer when power supply is not limited to a battery bank. The energy need for those comforts that we are used to having at home like the microwave can mean the difference between charging once a day or multiple times.