Tips and tricks to conserve energy and get more out of your batteries when they’re seemingly dead.
We all know how it is with household batteries. You might find them in your remote controls, flashlights, hand held game systems, cordless headphones, just to name a few. But they’re not cheap, so what’s the best way to store them and what’s the best way to get the most life out of them?
1. Cold Batteries
It’s good to keep alkaline batteries relatively cool if they’re not in use. You shouldn’t freeze your alkaline batteries, But keeping them under 90 degrees Fahrenheit is important or they’ll lose their charge very quickly. This should only be something to consider in warmer climates of the world. Refrigerating your batteries is probably the best way to ensure they keep their charge, but if the temperature outside is 70 degrees Fahrenheit or so then the savings from refrigerating them is negligible. Keep in mind that batteries work best at room temperature or slightly warmer, the act of cooling a battery (but NOT freezing) is only to slow the chemical reactions occurring within the battery that produce power.
2. Rolling batteries
Ok, we’ve all done it. Remote stops working, so we go and roll the batteries in the remote and voila, it starts working again. This works in every household appliance, though it’s mostly seen in remote controls. It happens because of two things – by rolling the batteries you’re generating a small amount of heat within the battery which helps trigger more of the chemical reactions that produce energy. The other is you are potentially creating a better connection at the terminals that the battery is connected to – rubbing off any debris or dust. Don’t expect to get tons of extra time out of them, but it’s a good quick fix to get you by.
3. Warming batteries
Under no circumstances should you ever put your alkaline batteries in the oven or on the stove. That said, warming batteries under the pit of your arm, between your legs, in the palms of your hands, or storing them for a short time in your car on a warm day, will help you get another 30 minutes or so of use out of the battery, and sometimes up to an hour. Again, the warmer they are, the more chemical reactions, the more energy they produce. But NOT HOT or they’ll burst or leak!
4. Never mix with other types of batteries
We’ve all heard this one before, but what does it mean exactly? Well it means you can’t mix alkaline with rechargeable batteries (or lithium or any other *sort* of battery). You can and are most welcome to mix *brands* of batteries. This produces no problems at all.
5. Never mix batteries at different stages of use
We know this one, but what kind of problems does it produce? Well if you have one battery in your remote that’s virtually dead, you’re reducing the life of your other batteries by up to 50%. What’s worse? Unless you can remember which one was almost dead when you put it in, you’re liable to throw all the batteries away when the device stops working (unless you take the time to test each one). Even if you do test each one – you end up pairing them with other batteries in various stages of use. And here’s a little known fact – batteries reduce in voltage as they use their power, and that’s how testers determine how much power is left in them. Do you really want a bunch of batteries in a device that are all putting out different voltages? No, not really.
6. Store batteries when they’re not in use
Take them out of the remote, take them out of the flashlight (unless it’s an emergency flashlight) if you’re not going to be using the device for a while, like if you’re going out of town, for example. Store them in a cool place (noted above), even in a cupboard is fine. This will help keep your batteries from losing any of their charge while you’re away. While the percentage you’re saving is only about %5-%10 depending on how long you’re going away for or not going to use them for, every little bit counts – and that could amount to another week in a remote or another hour in a flashlight or portable game system.
And that’s basically everything you didn’t need to know about alkaline batteries. Actually there’s a whole lot more you didn’t need to know, but you probably still don’t know it, so no worries! But you never know – warming your batteries between your legs might actually come in handy one day when you can’t find a set of brand new ones.
Published in: Do-It-Yourself