Battery Use and Storage
Lead-acid batteries are designed to provide users many years of dependable service and performance. The proper handling and storage of lead-acid batteries are essential to both and it’s longevity over time and user safety.
Lead Acid Battery Safety Considerations
While today's lead-acid batteries are safe to operate and simple to maintain, the following procedures should always be in place when working with them:
Protective Eyewear & Gloves
Lead-acid batteries contain corrosive chemicals and it is important always to wear appropriate eyewear protection and gloves when handling them. Choose safety equipment that is designed to prevent chemicals from coming into contact with skin.
Should contact occur, flush the affected area with water for at least 15 minutes and seek medical attention immediately.
Avoiding Sources of Spark or Flames
During the charging process, lead-acid batteries can produce oxygen and hydrogen gases from the unit’s electrolyte. To maximize a safe environment, keep all sources of spark and flame away from a battery and charging area.
Prevent Accidental Arcing
Users of lead-acid batteries should always be aware that metal jewelry or non-insulated tools can cause an arc if they are put into contact with a battery terminal and a ground source. When working with lead-acid batteries, be sure to remove all metal jewelry from the hands and use only quality, insulated tools when around a battery's terminals.
Use the Right Charger
Not all chargers are compatible with lead-acid batteries. Ensure the charger you choose is designed to be used with the type of battery being charged.
Refer to the battery and charger manufacturer's directions on how to charge your battery not only for safety considerations, but to optimize the unit's lifespan and power performance. Always charge lead-acid batteries in well-ventilated areas.
Properly Storing Lead Acid Batteries
The below guidelines should be followed when storing a lead-acid battery:
Remove the Battery from Equipment
If you are planning to store a lead-acid battery for later use, remove it from the piece of equipment it was being utilized in. Keeping a battery hooked up can lead to power drain, terminal corrosion, and other detrimental conditions.
Leaving a battery in a piece of equipment that needs to be stored will shorten the battery's lifespan and performance capabilities over time.
Charge Before Storage
It is always advisable to fully charge a lead-acid battery before it is put into storage. Choose a charger that is compatible with the battery and follow the charging instructions that come with the battery and charger. Lastly, ensure that the battery has an adequate amount of water in it before charging and storing.
Optimal Storage Temperatures
Maintaining the proper temperature where lead-acid batteries are stored will prolong their service life and power performance when they are called back into duty. The best storage temperature for lead-acid batteries is around 59°F.
It is acceptable to store lead-acid batteries at higher temperatures, however the higher the temperature the more energy discharge the unit will experience. This is especially true of storage areas in excess of 100°F.
Periodic Charging While in Storage
If a lead-acid battery is going to be stored for long periods of time, it should be occasionally recharged to maximize its longevity and power performance capabilities. While recharging every 6 months is a good rule of thumb, consult the battery’s manual for optimal recharging intervals.