View Full Version : Refrigerating Batteries: An Additional Concern
06-19-2007, 01:17 AM
This refers to the Straight Dope Staff Report: Should batteries be refrigerated for storage?
Another thing to watch out for is when you take those batteries out of the fridge on a hot, sticky summer day, better let them warm up before you stick them in your equipment. Otherwise you'll have all kinds of condensation dripping from your batteries and inside your delicate equipment. We all know what happens on the outside of a cold can of soda or beer on a hot, humid day!
Here's a link (http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mbattcharge.html) with the coding fixed.
If no juice is flowing, no chemicals are reacting, and there's no point in refrigerating the battery. Quite the contrary--since refrigeration slows a reaction, the electricity won't be there when you want it.This is misleading. Even when a battery is not connected, a small level of chemical reaction is unavoidable - batteries reliably degrade with time, even when never connected. A useful rule of thumb is that chemical reaction rates double with an increase of temperature of 10 degrees C - so refrigerating batteries will extend their shelf life.
And saying "the electricty won't be there when you need it" isn't accurate. Once the battery is at normal temperature it will work just fine, and even a battery freshly removed from the refrigerator will produce a fair fraction of its rated output. It is true that batteries will perform better when warmed to around room temperature; waiting about 15 minutes after removing them from cold storage should accomplish this (holding them in your hand helps).
The staff report recovers with its final paragraph:
Now, it's true all batteries lose some charge over time in storage. (Some lose a lot--rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries, for example, are notorious for discharging when not in use.) Refrigeration presumably will retard this process. But the thinking seems to be that the slow loss of charge is a small price to pay for the advantage of having the electricity available when you want it, rather than having to wait for the battery to warm up. So unless your wife was planning to store those batteries for a loooong time, she's probably best off just keeping them in a drawer. Of course you could keep a couple of batteries in a drawer and the rest in the refrigerator.
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