A Comprehensive Guide to Storing Batteries

While choosing a suitable battery for your device is necessary, knowing the proper storage method is also critical to the battery's lifespan and the device. Learning the right way to store your batteries will reduce the dangers of damaged batteries. However, since different items have different storage guidelines, it is essential to strictly follow instructions on how to store batteries.

Tips for Storing Batteries
 
Below are the steps to help you properly store your battery.
 
Store Batteries at Room Temperature
 
Make sure to store your battery at room temperature and away from extreme cold or hot temperatures. Regulated room temperatures increase your battery's lifespan and guard the device's function ability.
 
Extreme hot temperatures will lead to corrosion and water loss of the battery, which can result in the bursting of the battery. At high temperatures, a battery’s chemical reactions are the catalyst that can lead to a rise in battery self-discharge.
 
Extreme cold conditions can also tamper with the overall battery life. Batteries subjected to temperatures of -22 degrees F can reduce their performance capacities by almost 50 percent.
 
The recommended storage temperature for most batteries is 15°C (59°F). However, on the extreme side, most chemistries recommend –40°C to 50°C (–40°C to 122°F). Otherwise, since weather conditions are sometimes unpredictable, you can secure battery safety using Air Conditioner (AC) to maintain room temperature in your storage unit.
 
Remove the Batteries From Your Devices
 
Always empty the device by removing the battery. Leaving the battery inside your device will lead to quick draining and leakage, which is disastrous to your device. Remember, corrosion on battery terminals could permanently damage equipment if left unchecked.
 
Even for rechargeable batteries, no battery storage method shouldn’t be carried with batteries inside a device. Always put batteries in their original non-metallic container or box before storage.
 
Keep Them in Their Original Packaging


Keeping one-time-use batteries in their original packaging will prevent any draining of the batteries. Initial packaging containers are designed to avoid contact between the opposing ends with one; otherwise they could react, causing short-circuit.
 
With the above storage materials, batteries are kept safe from factors such as a rise in humidity and self-discharge. Also, the original package reduces the chances of mistaking freshly charged batteries for older ones. If you don't have the original packaging, you can opt to use a plastic container or box while ensuring the same terminals of the batteries face the same direction.
 
Storing batteries in their original packing has the following benefits.
 

  1. Batteries are protected from environmental factors such as adverse temperatures- the packages regulate the humidity, thus no threat to the storm's lifespan.

  2. There are no dangers like unintentional activation or short-circuiting caused if the terminals come into contact with a metal object.

 
While storing batteries in the original package, always place the container in a dry and well-ventilated place, away from the refrigerator or oven. Avoid mixing all your batteries into one storage unit.
 
Separate Old And New Batteries
 
Always store used or partly used batteries separately from the new batteries. The essence of this is to reduce confusion and to feed your appliances with suitable batteries of the same brand, age, and capacity.

Separating old and new batteries prevents any chance of short-circuiting while at the same time minimizing any risk of having your new batteries drained by the old batteries. In case you get confused along the way, use a battery tester to help sort through good and bad batteries for easy storage.

Keep Batteries Of The Same Type Together

 

Batteries can be grouped into AA batteries, AAA batteries, D batteries, and 9 volts etc. It is essential to understand the chemistries and voltage variances across the brands. Note that some brands of batteries may have abnormal chemical reactions in regards to weather conditions. 

 

Mixing different types of batteries can lead to battery leakage and sub-optimal device performance. It can also lead to increased corrosion or even destroy battery life. Therefore, it is necessary to understand each storage guideline in situations when you have multiple types on hand. Pair the same brands of batteries together for safe storage.

 

Store Batteries Out of Reach of Children

Small children can pose a significant challenge when keeping the batteries out of their reach. 

 

Here are some tips to keep children away from the dangers of contacting batteries.

 

  1. Completely keep coin lithium battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of children. Some coin lithium battery-controlled devices include remote controls, singing greeting cards, digital scales, watches, hearing aids, children's toys, calculators, key fobs, t-light candles, flashing holiday jewelry or decorations, all containing button batteries.

  2. Keep loose batteries locked away, or place a piece of duct tape over the controller to prevent small children from accessing the battery.

  3. Try storing batteries in high or raised cabinets.

 

In the unfortunate event you suspect your child has ingested a battery, immediately reach out for medical assistance from the nearest hospital. Avoid inducing vomiting or have your child eat or drink anything until assessed by a medical professional.

 

Keep Batteries Away From Metal Objects

 

Always keep your batteries from coming into contact with metallic objects. Any connection between batteries and metal can stir up chemical reactions, leading to short-circuiting and affecting the battery's lifespan.

 

Ideally, never store batteries with metallic objects in the same storage container. Ensure the battery storage container is made of either plastic, glass, box or wood. 

 

To prevent your batteries from electrical conductions, take the below steps:

 

  1. Do not store batteries in a metal container. Use a sealed plastic container or a specialized battery storage box.

  2. Do not store coins or other metal objects in the same container.

  3. Align batteries so the positive terminals cannot contact the negative terminals of other batteries. Cover the terminals with masking tape or plastic caps if you cannot guarantee this.

 

Control Humidity

 

Always keep your batteries in a vapor-proof container in case of high humidity temperature or if there are high chances of condensation occasioned by low temperatures. Condensation in a battery can occur both at the internal and external parts of the battery.

 

To increase the life of your batteries, control extreme heat through AC; otherwise, store your batteries in a fully climate-controlled facility. Other than condensation, high humidity causes corrosion and leakage in batteries.

 

Since prolonged dampness and highly humid climatic conditions can significantly impact battery life, you should strive to ensure your batteries are stored in a dry, cool place.

 

Avoid storing your batteries in areas like the bathroom or beneath the kitchen sink. These areas are susceptible to moisture which can affect the battery life. In addition, do not store your batteries down on the ground.

 

Even though most batteries prefer drier environments, alkaline batteries can be safely stored in moderate humid conditions (35-65% relative humidity).

 

While moderate low temperatures increase the lifespan of batteries, in case you would think to store your batteries in a fridge, ensure they are first placed in a vapor-proof container before storing them in the refrigerator. Allow them to acclimatize at room temperature for about 24 hours before use. Do not store your battery in freezers unless recommended by the manufacturer.

 

Maintain Rechargeable Batteries

 

Non-rechargeable batteries may be of no use after single use; hence should be discarded from useful or rechargeable ones. Leaving non-rechargeable batteries in a device can cause permanent damage to the device.

 

Regularly check the charge levels on rechargeable batteries to avoid permanent damages subject to extended exposure to a discharged state. Ensure before you store your battery, the charge is at 40 per cent charge, which creates room for gradual discharge.

 

Recharge lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries periodically before you store them. The danger of keeping a lead acid battery with a shallow charge is sulfation- a permanent crystal formation on the battery. Sulfation reduces the performance capacity of a storm.

 

On the other hand, storing a lithium-ion battery with low charge results in the formation of copper structures, impacting the battery's capacity. For Lead Acid batteries, always ensure they are fully charged before storage. This will ensure there is no sulfation which lowers capacity.

 

To know the exact recharge instructions per battery, follow the guidelines laid by the manufacturer. Some of the commonly recommended guidelines include:

 

  1. Lithium Ion – for best results, store at 30-50% on the higher side of the charge. However, if you are not planning to recharge it within a few months, have it fully charged before storage.

  2. Nickel-based (NiMH, NiZn, NiCd)- can be stored at any state of charge.

 

Generally, over time, most batteries leak power; thus, when stored at zero charges, it is most probable they won’t recharge again.

 

Recycle Your Old Batteries

 

Rechargeable batteries will probably be worn out over time and thus can no longer hold back their charge as witnessed when new. Therefore, you may be wondering how to store such outdated batteries.

 

In most cases, you won’t hesitate to throw them away.

 

However, you can trade old batteries with your local cell phone or car battery store owner. Sometimes, stores are willing to return the core charge fee once you return the old battery.

 

For standard-size batteries like AA and AAA batteries, follow the local hazardous materials recycling dates, or you can coordinate with the local home improvement stores to have your batteries recycled.

Conclusion

 

Generally, batteries are manufactured in different sizes and shapes and with distinctive use. Because of these variances, it is essential to understand each type of battery while following the guidelines on its storage. Giving proper storage to a battery not only reduces any possible hazard but also extends the battery's life. Lastly, due to the poisonous nature of batteries, always keep your batteries away from the children.