We get a lot of questions about how to properly store batteries. Let’s break down the real do’s and don’ts for storing your batteries in the offseason.
Do: Get It Clean and Keep It Clean
Dirt and corrosion can increase a battery’s discharge rate. It’s important to clean the battery casing and the terminals thoroughly before you connect anything to it and throughout the battery’s life cycle. As long as you properly cleaned the battery before you store it, you should be able to just keep it clean and dust free with a clean dry rag for dusting.
Don’t: Put Your Battery In Storage Without a Charge
One of the worst things you can do is store a battery away for a few months without charging it. All batteries have a natural rate of self-discharge. By not charging the battery fully first, you are just asking to come back to a completely dead battery that can’t be revived.
Do: Make Sure It’s Completely Disconnected
If you’re not planning on removing the battery completely from the equipment it’s connected to, you’ll need to make sure that the battery is disconnected from any and all terminals. It’s important that nothing touches the battery terminals that could potentially create a discharge.
Don’t: Forget To Plan For Off Season Charging
Whether you will be using a trickle charger or just simply hooking up a standard charger every so often while the battery is in storage, it’s important to make sure that you have the charger you need and that it is in good working order.
There’s nothing more frustrating than to check on your batteries and find out the charger you have isn’t working or isn’t an effective charger for your battery. A battery that has been kept charged throughout its lifecycle will last longer and perform at peak levels throughout its lifespan.
Do: Keep An Eye On The Environment
While not storing your batteries on a cement floor isn’t really an issue anymore, it’s still the safest bet to keep it off the ground and in a temperature controlled environment. Moisture and extreme temperatures are a sure fire way to increase your batteries rate of self-discharge.
A good rule of thumb is to store the battery above 32°F and below 80°F.
Don’t: Store It and Forget It
Batteries are not items you can put away for the winter and forget about. They have to be checked and maintained throughout the entire time they are in storage.
In fact, lead-acid batteries that are properly maintained can be stored for up to 2 years. Pay attention to the charge levels. Some maintenance chargers have an auto shut-off and some don’t. (You’ll want to make sure your charger is keeping the battery right in the charge range as outlined by the manufacturer.)
If you are charging off and on throughout the storage time as opposed to using a trickle charger, you may find yourself getting frustrated with how long it takes the battery to charge. Keep in mind that while a higher voltage may charge faster, it’s a lot more damaging to your battery.
Once you know how, storing a battery is an easy and effective way to lengthen the life of your battery and keep it working like the day you bought it.