Maintenance errors are the second-most common issue affecting battery life, particularly concerning the aforementioned proper watering of lead wet-cell/flooded batteries. If water levels aren’t appropriately maintained, cell damage can result, rendering the battery useless. To avoid doing so, Flaherty recommends clients create a watering schedule using distilled water only — never tap.

Lety agrees, stressing that customers should check water levels in each cell every two-to-three weeks. Doing so will make sure batteries don’t dry up, but distributors should also warn against overwatering.

Overfilling can result in the acid solution damaging surfaces it touches. Too much water can also dilute the battery acid and ruin the remaining lifecycle, adds Grier, who advises clients to use a funnel while filling the cells to keep water from spilling over and corroding the terminals and connector cables. Additionally, users should always wear proper personal protective equipment for the eyes and face, chemical-resistant gloves and an apron when filling batteries.

As for sealed lead-acid batteries, Flaherty says these require no maintenance other than inspecting the cables for tightness, cleaning for dust and periodically checking the state of charge (SoC) with a multimeter. TPPL batteries need little in the way of maintenance, says Pavlic, adding that these are rarely damaged and can sit up to two years — provided that the cables are disconnected from the machine. Meanwhile, AGM/gel batteries also fall into this low maintenance category, although end users are advised to check their voltage every two or three months — giving these batteries a boost if the charge falls below 75 percent.

Few things are completely maintenance free, but lithium ion batteries might come close.

Pavlic stresses that these batteries can be damaged in extreme weather conditions or if they’re pushed past their points of low-voltage cutoff. But if maintained correctly, customers should have few problems with them.

Meanwhile, educate end users that wet-cell/flooded batteries should be completely charged before storing them, making sure they’re stored in a cool, dry place that is protected from the elements. All batteries should be stored in this kind of environment, keeping them off the floor for the best results.

Customers must also be trained on the fact that batteries can’t be ignored because they aren’t being used on a regular basis. Those batteries that sit in storage for prolonged periods of time still need to be maintained.

For example, wet-cell/flooded batteries require frequent checking to monitor the charge. If the level of power hits 70 percent or less, Flaherty suggests giving them a boost charge, then a full charge before reactivating.

Sealed lead-acid batteries require the same attention and response, although for these, Flaherty encourages clients to maintain a charge of 70 percent or higher — adding that with proper attention, they can be stored for up to two years.

Storing AGM/gel batteries for extended time periods also requires frequent recharging and should be done in a cool, well-ventilated area — fully charged before storing. Customers should know that failure to sufficiently recharge them can result in sulfation, damaging the plates. Pavlic says these batteries can generally store up to a year in normal temperatures.

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