The Great and Powerful: Tips on Battery Care and Storage
You’ve heard it a million times—keep batteries around the house in case of emergency. If you need a flashlight in a pinch, or you are using a weather radio in your bathroom while waiting out a tornado, or your power goes out, you’re going to need batteries.
But just like any other supply, batteries take special care; and, after a while, they need to be replaced. If you end up not needing your emergency kit or supply stash for a while, first, be thankful. Then, second, make a note to refresh it and make sure all items are safely stored and up to date.
When it comes to batteries, make sure to follow these tips for care and storage:
- Do not store devices with batteries in them. Remove the batteries and keep them nearby to use in an emergency. Also remove batteries when a device is being powered by household (AC) current.
- Keep battery contact surfaces clean by rubbing them with a small pencil eraser or cloth before inserting them into a device.
- Store batteries in a dry place at normal room temperature. Extreme temperatures will reduce battery performance. Several stores sell battery storage containers specifically for batteries, but airtight plastic containers like Rubbermaid or Tupperware also work well. When possible, store batteries in their original packaging.
- Do not attempt to recharge a battery unless it is specifically marked as rechargeable.
- Some dead batteries, when exposed to high temperatures, might leak. Be sure to discard of batteries properly, and never crush, puncture or burn them.
- Never carry loose batteries in a bag, pocket or purse, especially when they can come into contact with other metal objects, such as change, keys, or snaps and zippers. This can cause the batteries to short-circuit, which can lead to high heat or leakage.
- Don’t keep batteries within reach of small children or pets as they are a choking hazard. If you suspect your child has swallowed a button battery, please contact the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 202-625-3333 or www.poison.org/battery.
Follow these tips to ensure you have usable batteries at the ready when you need them. In the case of an emergency, the power will literally be in your hands.