Specific types of batteries can last longer if stored in cool places such as a refrigerator or freezer. Rechargeable batteries can benefit from this concept compared to their alkaline counterparts. Cool temperatures can slow down the corrosion process that affects the internal components of the batteries. When placing batteries in the refrigerator, they need to be protected from moisture and therefore they have to be placed in a sealed container.
Effects to Alkaline Batteries
Most refrigerators maintain an average temperature of about 40°F or 4°C with very low humidity levels. Theoretically, this is very ideal for storing batteries since low temperatures minimize the power drain on the electrolyte fluid within the battery. Several studies have proven how cold temperatures can slightly extend the shelf life of alkaline batteries. It was concluded that refrigerated alkaline models can maintain 93% of their power after five years, while non-refrigerated ones kept in other cool and dry places can maintain only 90%. Overall, alkaline batteries do not benefit much even when refrigerated in an attempt to prolong their shelf life. Extremely cold temperatures can cause corrosion of the contact points on either end of batteries. The biggest downside is that alkaline batteries need to be thawed to room temperature prior to use.
Effects to Rechargeable Batteries
Compared to alkaline models, rechargeable batteries like nickel-metal hydride models will benefit more from refrigeration. These models have greater advantages than their alkaline counterparts; however, they have a tendency to have shorter battery life as time passes when they are kept at room temperature. When properly stored in the refrigerator, a rechargeable battery can maintain about 90% charge for several months. Just like alkaline batteries, they need to be stored in sealed freezer bags inside an airtight container to minimize risk of moisture. They also need to be thawed before using on gadgets and electronics.
Other Tips to Extend Shelf Life of Batteries
Rechargeable batteries are definitely worth the investment since they can be used multiple times without replacing. This not only cuts down on cost but also helps the environment. These types of batteries need to be recharged before they become completely drained to ensure extended lifespan. It is also recommended to use the appropriate type of battery for particular gadgets. Many digital cameras consumes battery fairly quickly, so it is advisable to use rechargeable batteries for these types of devices.
Another way to extend the life of batteries is to remove them from devices when not in use, especially those that are seldom used. Many gadgets still consume power even when turned off and will eventually completely drain the battery, which is undesirable since this can shorten battery life.
Instead of going through the hassles of refrigeration, many users just try to look for a cool location with low humidity for storing batteries. Cold storage can slightly extend shelf life while heat and humidity can cause faster battery deterioration. Experts do not recommend storage of batteries in the kitchen because of the presence of a stove that generates heat. One of the best places to store your batteries is a cool closet that is away from direct heat or light.