The Role of Temperature in Battery Life
Heat is an enemy of all lead acid batteries, and Flooded, AGM and Gel Cell batteries are all lead acid. Chemical reactions internal to batteries are driven by both voltage and temperature. The higher the battery temperature, the more rapidly chemical reactions will occur. Even very small increases in temperature can have a negative impact on battery life.
When setting up batteries for a renewable energy system, it’s crucial to make sure there’s enough space around each battery to stay cool, at least 2”. Avoid the temptation to put batteries close together to save space as they need room to cool, to get a decent life. If a battery feels hot to the touch when it’s charging, that's a problem! Keeping alert to temperature changes will help maximize the life of your batteries.
As a rule of thumb, for every 18°F increase in temperature the reaction rate doubles. Thus, a month of battery operation at 95°F is equivalent in battery life to two months at 77°F. While higher temperatures can provide better discharge operation, the increased rate of chemical reactions will result in a loss of battery life in the long run.
Many folks put batteries close and even touching in banks - and have problems. One user called us as he had measured his battery temperature at 123°F When he sent me a picture of the bank, sure enough they were all touching. I told him to separate the batteries and within an hour they were at 79°F.
It’s common to see motor homes with batteries jammed together in a compact tray in a tiny compartment or boats with batteries pushed close together to keep from sliding when the boat moves. Both practices cause battery performance problems and a shortened life.
The reverse example of high heat is an old wives’ tale about putting batteries on concrete. It was thought or witnessed that when a battery was put on concrete, the charge was somehow “sucked” out. The reality was simply that the concrete was cooler than ambient air and it had a cooling affect and the capacity dropped slightly.
Battery Boxes for Renewable Energy
When building a battery box to house your battery bank, you must know the quantity and sizes of batteries needed for the system, so you can provide enough breathing room between and around the batteries in your design. Get an overview of battery accessories here.
There are multiple options for a battery system and it’s important to know which will be optimum for your solar power needs. To understand the best battery set up for your solar power system, based on your energy goals, location and other key factors, call us at 888-826-0939 for guidance. With 50 years in the battery business, we’ve seen it all and are happy to share our insights with you!