Many people have asked about the maintenance of Earthship homes through our website, forums and our Visitor Center, and ask about comparing the maintenance to that of a conventional home. Even though Earthships help to create a self sufficient and free-living lifestyle, it does not mean that there is no upkeep involved. Earthships create a symbiotic relationship between residents and their homes, which calls for participation in this relationship.
Most maintenance questions start off with the Power Organizing Module (POM), and solar panels, but namely the battery bank. The batteries that we have been using typically are L-16 Lead Acid batteries, which can have a lifespan of up to 10-15 years but that all depends on how well they are maintained. It is important to check the water levels in the batteries about once a month and refill with distilled water if necessary.
The level of the water should reach be at the bottom of columns inside, as shown in the picture above. Once it gets below that point, it should be topped off with the distilled water.
The batteries off-gas hydrogen and other corrosive gasses, therefore making it a necessity to ventilate the battery boxes and keep them out of a living space (i.e. rooftops). Hydrogen is also flammable, so when checking water levels, use a flashlight and not an open flame/lighter. The terminals need to be checked for corrosion as well. If showing signs of corrosion, a wire brush can be used to brush off the corrosion and then can be coated with Vaseline.