4 Methods to Use When Storing Batteries for Long-Term Use
When electrical grids are down and fuel is in short supply, batteries will be an essential component of everyday survival. Batteries can be used in flashlights, communication devices, GPS systems, and other tools that are an absolute must when roughing it on your own. Like other sources of energy, batteries also have a finite lifespan, which can leave you unable to access information or even be able to see in a darkened environment if your batteries lose power at the worst possible time.
Battery preservation is key, in this respect. It's definitely possible to store batteries for the long-term when you use the right practices. The following are a few smart storage tips to stretch your dollar and ensure you have power whenever you need it. If you know of any great preservation methods that are missing from this list, be sure to leave them in the comments
1. Keep Batteries in a Cool Place
There's a pervasive myth that storing batteries in a refrigerator or freezer prolongs their life. This myth is actually based on a real threat to battery life, which is high heat. High temperatures drain power and also increase the risk of battery failure. However, placing batteries in the refrigerator is just as problematic since they'll be constantly exposed to moisture and condensation. Instead, store your batteries in an area that is both cool and completely free of moisture and humidity.
2. Store Old and New Batteries Separately
The older a battery is, the more likely it is to fail. Pressure builds up inside a battery over time, which can break the outer casing and cause potassium hydroxide to leak out. Potassium hydroxide is highly toxic, which means any items it contaminates will need to be (carefully) discarded. This includes any batteries in the immediate area, some of which may have more juice left in them than others. Storing batteries according to age also ensures you can easily find the one with the highest charge as quickly as possible in an emergency situation.
3. Don't Store Lithium-Ion Batteries at Full Capacity
Lithium-ion batteries are extremely useful in a survival situation since they can be charged again and again. They're also the types of batteries you'll need to power mobile devices and laptops, which are essential for accessing important news and information. While they do have a finite number of charge cycles, you should still be able to get 300 to 500 charges out of them during their lifespan. Storing them at about 40% capacity also increases longevity, as a fully charged battery is more like to ignite when exposed to high temperatures.
4. Store Batteries in the Original Packaging When Possible
Storing battery with other pieces of metal, which is often the case when they're tossed into a random junk drawer, drains their energy at a must faster rate. It can also damage the batteries if there is an accidental discharge because of the metal. When you buy new batteries, hang on to the packaging so you can use it later for storage. If you don't have access to the original package, line batteries up so the positive ends are all pointed in the same direction. Take an elastic band or piece of string and wrap it around the batteries to keep them together, then place them into a plastic bag for safekeeping.
While batteries are a crucial aspect of survival, make sure you have access to various types of fuels. The best survivalists create contingency plans for their contingency plans because you just never know what kind of situation you might be faced with. Being able to adapt to different situations takes a bit of pre-planning, but you'll be more than happy you did it when a new situation arises.