Generally, there are three types of deep-cycle batteries used in floor cleaning equipment: flooded lead-acid batteries (FLA), Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries, and gel electrolyte batteries.

AGM and gel batteries differ from flooded lead-acid batteries in that they are valve-regulated, or sealed, during manufacturing. Unlike flooded lead-acid batteries, AGM and gel batteries don’t need regular maintenance.

“We always try to tell customers to go with AGM batteries because they are maintenance-free,” says Evan Ghen, vice president of marketing at Scoles Floorshine in Wall, N.J. “They cost more, but they are worth it in the long run.”

Some industries, such as grocers and healthcare systems, require sealed batteries to limit acid exposure. Even if accidentally punctured, AGM and gel batteries have low leakage rates. Additionally, in its green cleaning requirements the U.S. Green Building Council considers gel batteries to be the “environmentally preferable,” choice for facilities pursuing LEED certification.

Though flooded lead-acid batteries may be considered “old-school” to some, distributors say they continue to be the most popular battery in floor machine applications, due both to their lower cost and to their purportedly longer life cycles.

BSCs should check in with their distributor or manufacturer to identify what type of battery has been installed in their floor machine. This will help determine the level of maintenance needed to preserve battery efficiency.

“To replace a battery is extremely costly, at least a few hundred dollars,” Ghen says. “That’s the mistake of not doing basic maintenance on a battery.”

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