Best Practices for Battery Safety and Storage
Powering your equipment and your productivity starts with a reliable battery. That’s why Cat® batteries are designed to deliver unmatched performance, durability, and starting ability in temperature extremes when compared to other batteries.
And while Cat batteries are also engineered to resist vibration – the leading cause of battery failure – there’s more to reliable battery performance than just a proven, durable design. Battery storage – whether it’s a new battery in your parts inventory or a battery in a machine that won’t be used for an extended period of time – also plays an important role in ensuring that the battery delivers a fast, reliable start. Before learning more about best practices for battery storage, it’s important to first understand and follow safe practices when working with batteries.
TIPS FOR BATTERY SAFETY
Batteries contain highly corrosive sulfuric acid which can burn the skin and destroy clothing. Knowing that, it’s important to follow these safety tips whenever working with or around batteries.
- Protect your eyes – always wear safety glasses and a face shield when working on or near batteries.
- Keep sparks, flames, and cigarettes away at all times — batteries can generate hydrogen gas which can explode when exposed to an ignition source. Avoid creating dangerous sparks by always turning off charging and testing equipment before attaching or removing clamps, and by first disconnecting the grounded cable from the battery, and re-connecting it last.
- Perform all battery-related work in a well-ventilated area.
- Never lean directly over a battery while jumping/boosting, testing, or charging it.
- Neutralize acid spills with a paste made of baking soda and water.
- Never use compressed air for cleaning near a battery – rapid air movement combined with dust and dirt creates static electricity which may cause an explosion.
TIPS FOR BATTERY STORAGE
Whether you’re storing new batteries or parking equipment for the winter or any time longer than four weeks, follow these proven battery storage tips to help prolong battery life and ensure the battery is charged and ready to work when you are.
- Disconnect the battery cables – doing so helps prevent the battery from accidentally discharging due to a short or a device continually drawing small amounts of current.
- Keep batteries warm in the winter, and cool in the summer – for maximum battery life, the ideal temperature for storage is a constant 40-50°F (5-10°C) in a cool, dry area. If the vehicle or equipment is stored in an unheated area during the winter, remove the battery and move it to a heated space as batteries should never be stored in below-freezing temperatures. Batteries should always be fully charged before being stored.
- Only stack batteries if they’re in cartons or on shipping pallets protected by corrugated packaging – for stability purposes, don’t stack batteries more than two high.
- It’s okay to place batteries directly on concrete floors – despite what you may have heard or been taught previously, today’s batteries’ polypropylene containers provide insulation that prevents discharging into the floor.
- Always rotate your battery stock – use the “first in, first out” (FIFO) method, not the “first in, still here” (FISO) practice. All Cat batteries include a date code on the battery cover with the letter indicating the month the battery shipped. A is for January, B is February, and so on, while the number indicates the year. For example E9 translates to a May, 2019, ship date.
Treat your new or used Cat batteries right, and you’ll avoid unplanned maintenance and downtime. If you need more advice on selecting, installing, storing, or charging batteries, contact your local Carter Machinery store.