Save Money & Extend The Life Of A Sealed Lead Acid Battery: Learn How To Prevent Sulfation Build-Up

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Designed for heavy duty applications, Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries offer a long shelf life and meet the power demands of your electronic and industrial applications.  However, all SLA rechargeable batteries, as with any other rechargeable battery, have a limited lifespan.  Over time, their performance will decrease, until eventually they no longer hold a charge long enough to be useful.  Average battery life has become shorter as energy requirements have increased.  The most common cause of battery failure is sulfation build-up, which is due in large part to poor charging and maintenance.  Sulfation build-up occurs when a buildup of sulfur accumulates on the lead plates.  This can cause corrosion and interrupt the flow of electric current to the battery.  Ultimately, the battery will no longer hold a sufficient charge.

When your sealed lead acid battery no longer functions properly, it is replaced with a new one, which can be inconvenient and expensive. But there are methods you can employ to make sure your sealed lead acid batteries achieve their maximum operational life. By following the tips provided here, you can learn how to prevent sulfation build-up and extend the lifespan of your sealed lead acid batteries significantly. 

  1. 1.    Should I always store my battery fully charged?

Yes.  It is important to always store your sealed lead acid battery at full charge.  If the battery is not going to be used for an extended period of time, it will eventually lose its charge due to its natural charge depletion.  Undercharging of a battery to just 90% of capacity will allow sulfation of the sealed lead acid battery using the 10% of battery chemistry not reactivated by the uncompleted charging cycle.  And if you allow the battery to become completely discharged, sulfur build-up will be accelerated which will greatly shorten its lifespan.  For this reason, apply a top charge every 6 months to extend battery life and keep it from going flat and being damaged.

2.   Is it best to perform repeated deep discharges?

No.  A deep discharge is when the unit is run at its depleted state.  It is much better for it to be charged from a semi used state each time, rather than a repeated full charge. This puts less stress on the sealed lead acid battery, and reduces the rate at which sulfur deposits form on the plate.  It is best to charge your sealed lead acid batteries more frequently and in a smaller charging time span.  If under normal usage this proves to be impossible, then you should consider using a larger battery.

3.   How can I prevent sealed lead acid battery sulfation from occurring?

You can minimize sulfation by paying attention to how you charge your sealed lead acid batteries and using a good quality battery charger. Inexpensive chargers have the potential to state incorrect charging levels and settings, which will lead to accelerated sulfation.  Modern chargers have electronic software that helps maintain optimum charge and prevent overcharging.  To remove sulfation build-up, use a good quality specialized battery charger that provides a high current pulse. This will break down the sulfur crystals and dissolve them back into sulfuric acid, leaving the lead plate clean again. By reducing contamination, this will renew your battery and improve its ability to store charge. 

4.  Is it safe to leave my SLA battery in extreme temperatures?

No, it is not safe.  Heat of 100 degrees or more increases internal discharge. As temperatures increase, so does internal discharge. A new fully charged battery left sitting at 110 degrees 24/7 for 30 days would most likely not function properly.  Cold weather can also cause damage to a battery. The sealed lead acid chemistry does not make the same amount of energy as a warm battery. A deeply discharged battery can freeze solid in sub zero weather.

In any case, practicing good battery charging and maintenance tips can save you a lot of money, time and energy, especially if you have several things around the house or at work that depend on batteries.  Sulfation can be a huge problem for sealed lead acid batteries not being used, sitting on a shelf in a garage, or being stored in a parked vehicle at a high temperature.  It is important to apply a top charge to all batteries in storage, never to perform deep discharges, and to always use a good quality battery charger.  This is key to extending sealed lead acid battery life.

At the same time, it’s important to know that there are times when an old or weak battery needs to be replaced, no matter how well you’ve cared for your battery. If the battery is damaged with a cracked casing or you’ve followed the guidelines here and you’re still unable to get your sealed lead acid battery functioning, it is time to purchase a replacement battery.

For more information or to find the best sealed lead acid battery for your individual needs, visit our website at or call us at 877-469-4255.

By jennymwright

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