How to take care of your lead acid batteries
Taking care of your lead acid forklift battery is vital if you want to maximise battery life and improve operator and site safety. Here are some key tips to help with your battery maintenance.
- Always wear the correct protective clothing when you are working on a forklift battery. Ensure you always wear eye protection, toe-cap boots and high-vis.
- Make sure that you are always working in a well-ventilated area when charging batteries as it gives off harmful gases.
- Work with caution when you are using metallic tools to prevent short circuits and sparks.
- It is important that you match the battery with the correct charger to avoid any damage to the battery. You can check with your battery supplier to confirm that you are using the right equipment.
- Do not leave the battery in a discharged state for more than a day. Get into a routine of charging your battery fully, batteries will perform better if they have been fully charged and are not interrupted during a charging cycle.
- Check the condition of the plug socket regularly and keep contact surface clean. Ensure that no cables or plugs are worn or frayed and always report it if there are. Inspections should be done little and often to ensure safety.
- Ensure you don’t leave the battery in a discharge state for more than a day. If the battery is not required to be used keep it on maintenance charge, if the charger has the feature, so it will be ready for use when needed
- Always top up the battery AFTER a charge and with the correct water Add nothing to the cells other than distilled, deionised or approved water and do this often enough to keep the visible components covered (electrolyte visible). Having water in batteries is fundamental for the transfer of energy, so it is vital that it is topped up with the right water at the right time. Topping up a battery before a charge can result in an electrolyte spillage. Always top up water to the correct level, just above the plates, otherwise electrolyte will overflow during charging.
- Keep the top of the battery trays and containers dry and clean to prevent electrical leakage between cells. Should there be any corrosion of the metal work, remove the products of corrosion and neutralise any remaining acid with a solution of water and sodium bicarbonate or with acid-proof paint or petroleum jelly.
- Always dispose of your batteries to an authorised dealer who will recycle your old battery correctly. Failure to dispose of your old battery in the correct way will cause serious harm to the environment and it can be dangerous to persons. Do not attempt to dismantle a battery or cell.