Stock batteries safely at home
What is the best way to store batteries safely at home and what can you do if something goes wrong? In this blog you will find some tips and solutions that answer these questions.
Use a box
Don't store your empty batteries just anywhere in the house (and certainly not in the device itself), but use a box. Place it in a dry and well-ventilated place. Batteries should be stored at room temperature, so do not put the box in the refrigerator.
Do not store small batteries in pillboxes or together with other medication. Because of the shape and size of for example button cells, they can easily be confused with the medication.
‘‘Attention: do not store your batteries in a metal box to prevent short circuits.
Store used and (semi-)full batteries separately
Do not store used batteries together with new batteries. You cannot tell from the outside whether a battery is empty or full. If you store them separately, you immediately know which batteries you can still use and which you cannot.
What about batteries that you have removed from your device but that are not completely empty? A handy tip: put two storage boxes in a fixed, dry and well-ventilated place. One box for empty batteries and one box for batteries you can still use. Stick a label on each box to differentiate between them.
Keep out of reach of children
Provide a safe - preferably a little higher - place for the box in which you store your batteries. Small batteries like button cells look a bit like sweets, which can lead to unfortunate situations for grabby children's hands.
Also make a habit of not replacing batteries in the presence of children. Forbid your children to play with batteries and set a good example by not putting batteries in your mouth to 'hold' them while changing a battery.
‘‘Keep batteries away from grabby children's hands.
You can also avoid a number of risks preventively. For example, when buying appliances, make sure that they can only be opened with a screwdriver or coin. Also buy your batteries in blister packs, because they are not so easy to open for children.
Despite all the precautions, does it still go wrong? Read here what you can do.
Avoiding short circuits
The current in a battery is generated by the electricity flowing from pole to pole. When the + and - poles come into contact, a short circuit occurs.
Because button cells have such a flat shape, their positive and negative poles are very close together. If they come into contact with other batteries in the collection box, such as a 4.5 Volt or 9 Volt battery, or with other button cells, this sometimes causes a short circuit. Empty batteries are never completely empty.
The solution? Stick all button cells neatly on a strip of adhesive tape, this way you cover one of the poles with a 'protective layer', which eliminates the risk of a short circuit. For 4.5V and 9V you also cover the poles with a piece of tape or painting tape.
‘‘Cover the poles with a piece of tape or painting tape.
Safe handling of damaged batteries
Batteries start to leak if they remain unused in a device for too long. Then you get those recognizable white grains that are caked around the battery. If that's the case, you should place each battery separately in a transparent plastic bag to store them. Store the bag in a dry and well-ventilated place and keep it as far away as possible from flammable materials such as white spirit.
‘‘Leaking batteries can be recognized by the typical white grains.
You can remove the leaking batteries safely by putting on household gloves and an apron. In this way you avoid contact with chemicals, such as battery acid, and avoid skin irritation. Make sure the room where you replace the batteries is well ventilated and work out of reach of curious children or pets. And wash your hands when you're done.
By the way, you can easily clean the device itself with vinegar or lemon juice.
Especially now that we can almost only stay in virtual contact with each other, a swollen battery is less welcome than ever ... Are you confronted with a smartphone that suddenly bursts its bounds? A tablet with a bulge? A laptop with a bump?
Batteries can swell for all kinds of reasons, such as overheating. In extreme cases, up to twice their original size, causing the casing of your device to bulge as well. Gas formation occurs when the battery gets too hot. This can happen if you charge it too often, due to a production fault, a wrong or poor charger or if the battery fails due to age. So, make sure you charge your mobile phone, tablet or laptop correctly.
‘‘Be sure not to puncture a hole in the swollen battery of your mobile phone, tablet or laptop.
If it's already too late, don't wait for the battery to 'shrink', but switch your device off immediately and don't use it anymore. Bring it to a service centre as soon as possible. Don't try to solve the swelling yourself, e.g. by puncturing a hole in it. The gas that is then released is not only flammable, but also unhealthy.
Above all, make sure that damaged batteries cannot cause a short circuit by sticking the contacts and/or packing the batteries individually. Preferably store them separately and away from fire-sensitive material.
More tips on how to handle batteries safely? You'll find them here.