Main Tips for Storing Lithium Batteries

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Main Tips for Storing Lithium Batteries

Main Tips for Storing Lithium Batteries Feb. 05, 2024

How to Store LiFePO4 Batteries

People often store batteries without proper care, only to later find the battery short-circuited, fluid leaking, or not working for some reason.

While most of these problems aren’t an issue for Lithium batteries, especially lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP), they still require certain precautions. This is especially true when the battery is disconnected and in storage.

Many people think that disconnected batteries do not pose any risk since they are not using any power. There is also a common perception that batteries do not lose any charge when not used.

Unfortunately, these are misconceptions – completely wrong. Battery storage recommendations can vary from one manufacturer to another.

Below is the best advice on how to store LiFePO4 batteries.

 

Why is Proper Storage for Li-ion Batteries and LiFePO4 Batteries Essential?

When a battery is not connected, no external appliance draws power from it. However, this does not stop the battery’s internal chemical reactions from occurring.

LiFePO4 batteries do not require as many safety measures as Li-ion batteries. LFP batteries use stable compounds of iron that do not create any toxic gases or explosive reactions. Even so, LFP batteries are an expensive investment. Correctly storing a LiFePO4 battery can ensure that the money you invested does not go to waste.

Many batteries come with a battery protector. This can help to store LiFePO4 batteries safely. However, as a point of note, a battery protector should not be used to store a battery in a discharged state. Protectors work well for batteries with at least 40% to 50% charge, as discussed in the sections below.

 

How to Store Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries?

 

The main factor influencing how to store lithium iron phosphate batteries is how long you plan to keep them in storage. Below are the main tips for storing LiFePO4 batteries and specific recommendations regarding storage time.

Main Tips for Storing Lithium Batteries

Disconnect Switch: Almost all manufacturers recommend storing lithium batteries after disconnecting them.

For motorhomes and caravans, simply using the disconnect switch on appliances will not disconnect the battery pack. Some components remain active, for example, sensors, even when there is no external load to draw power. The correct way to disconnect the battery pack is by disconnecting the [+] and[-] wires to the battery pack terminals.

Unlike other types of battery packs, a lithium battery does not require trickle charge voltage. Therefore, there is no need to provide a power source when the battery is stored. LiFePO4 batteries have a 2% monthly self-discharge rate, so they retain most of their charge capacity during storage.

It is crucial to store a lithium battery away from any fire, radiator, or heat source. Batteries have chemicals that can heat up and explode when exposed to high temperatures for extended periods.

When storing the battery, keep it away from conductive objects such as hairpins or other metals. These objects can cause a short circuit if they accidentally come into contact with both battery terminals.

The battery should not be used if it displays strange behaviour when taken out of storage. Strange behaviour includes any smells, fluid leaks, physical deformations, or other abnormalities.

Places with high magnetic fields should be avoided when storing a LiFePO4 battery because magnetic fields can disorient or damage the battery management system aboard a lithium-ion battery.

Short-Term Storage

Ensure you store the battery in a dry area. There should be no leaking fluids or corrosive gases that can enter it. The wet temperature range of LiFePO4 batteries can be between -20 degrees to 35 degrees C. Any changes in this range can make batteries rust or leak fluids, leading to a decrease in battery life or permanent failure.

When you disconnect and store LiFePO4 batteries, it is highly recommended that you use a lithium charger to charge them to at least 50% of the max charge capacity. This ensures an optimal charge when the battery is reconnected and helps preserve the battery’s overall condition.

Long-Term Storage

Self-discharge can increase when stored for long periods. Self-discharging can also increase when the battery warms and is stored outside the recommended storage temperature. To counter this, put LiFePO4 batteries in a warm place, and charge them sufficiently before you physically disconnect them. The ideal temperature range is 10℃ to 30 ℃.

When a battery is stored for longer than 3 months, it is best to run a charge and discharge cycle every three months. This will maintain the battery’s health and keep it in excellent working condition when it is taken out for use.

Cold temperatures stop the battery’s internal chemistries, increasing battery health. Therefore, keeping the battery in freezing temperatures is a good thing for preserving its health in long-term storage. However, the battery’s self-degradation rate should be taken into account. It is best to charge the battery to 40% to 50% of its capacity to keep it in optimal condition.

Ideal Storage Temperature for LiFePO4 Batteries

 

For LiFePO4 batteries, the temperature range depends on the storage time. Generally speaking, follow the guidelines below:

Less than 30 days: -20℃ to 60℃

Between 30 and 90 days: -10℃ to 35℃

More than 90 days: 15℃ to 35 ℃

Storing LiFePO4 Batteries in Cold Weather (Winter)

Low temperature is not an issue for lithium batteries since it leads to slower chemical reactions inside the battery, increasing its life. However, while the battery chemistry enhances in cold weather, extremely cold temperatures may cause some battery components to crack (such as its plastic casing). Therefore, it is a good idea to store lithium batteries indoors and avoid extremely cold temperatures.

Storing LiFePO4 Batteries in Hot Weather (Summer)

Storing LiFePO4 batteries in high temperatures or out in the hot sun can pose serious threats to the battery. Extreme temperatures can cause internal heating of the battery resulting in unwanted chemical reactions. These can lead to uncontrolled battery voltage drops or even battery fires. Therefore, avoid storing batteries in high temperatures or outdoors in the sun for long periods.

 

Should LiFePO4 Batteries Be Disconnected From the System When Not In Use?

 

Yes, we recommend disconnecting LiFePO4 batteries from the system when not in use. Simply turning off the main switches isn’t enough.

Disconnect the battery terminal cables before storing the battery. If the battery is not uninstalled, there will always be a small current leak. This current can ruin the battery’s health or the appliance to which the battery is connected. This is because some components, such as sensors, are often designed to bypass the main disconnect switch.

 

How Do You Maintain a Lithium-Iron Phosphate Battery?

Lithium-ion batteries, including an LFP battery, are easier to maintain than lead-acid batteries. There are concerns, such as the possibility of fluid leaking in the case of a lead acid battery.

Besides the recommendations listed here, there are a few other maintenance tips that can ensure the performance of this type of rechargeable battery and an extended charging life. For convenience, we have listed these tips in our detailed guide to maintaining LiFePO4 batteries.

Conclusion

 

Due to its low self-discharge rate and several other benefits, a LiFePO4 battery is easier to store than any other lithium-ion battery or a sealed lead-acid battery.

However, learning how to store LiFePO4 batteries the correct way is essential to preserve battery health. Even though the battery chemistry is quite resilient, the physical components are still vulnerable to many environment-based factors.

Therefore, following the information above will be enough to store most lithium-ion batteries, especially liFePO4 batteries. Lastly, getting a good-quality battery can make the storage process much easier.

Check out the vast catalogue offered by Eco Tree Lithium for the best-in-class LFP batteries. These batteries come with a 6-year warranty, so you know they are made with quality in mind.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the most important thing about storing lithium-ion batteries correctly?

Before putting lithium-ion batteries into storage, disconnect the lithium battery from the appliance. Remove the terminal wires, and keep the battery in the temperature range that the manufacturer recommends.

4 Key Points To Master How To Store Lifepo4 Batteries

All in all, proper storage of Lifepo4 batteries should be taken seriously - not only for optimum performance and longevity, but also for safety reasons. Follow these guidelines and your battery should last a long time!

Unfortunately, many people do not understand the importance of storing Lifepo4 batteries properly. Ironically, they often don't realize the risks associated with improper storage until it's too late. My advice? Don't take shortcuts when it comes to properly storing your Lifepo4 batteries! Taking the time to get things right will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Proper storage of Lifepo4 batteries is critical. Otherwise, it will not only reduce its performance and life, but also cause danger. There are four key points to follow for Lifepo4 battery storage: storage time, storage temperature, storage environment, and how to store it with the system. To ensure optimum performance and safety, it is important to charge the battery before storing it. Additionally, regular maintenance is essential to prolong the life of Li-ion batteries.

 

More FAQ

1.  Should solar lifepo4 batteries be placed outdoors or indoors?

It depends on the type of battery and the conditions of the installation site. However, an outdoor installation is preferred as it allows for better ventilation, reduces the risk of fire and extends battery life.

Indoor installation is recommended if the location is in direct sunlight, hot weather, or severe rainy weather. It is worth mentioning that it is important to ensure proper ventilation and follow the manufacturer's guidelines to avoid any potential safety issues.

2. Should you fully charge your LiFePO4 battery before storing it?

It is recommended to fully charge the LiFePO4 battery before long-term storage. This helps prevent the battery from self-discharging and entering a deep discharge state, which can damage the battery and shorten its lifespan.

However, it should be noted that overcharging should be avoided, and storing a fully charged battery for a long time will also cause performance degradation, so it is best to check and maintain the battery charge status regularly during storage.

3.How do you store lithium batteries when not in use?

When lithium batteries are not in use, they should be stored in a cool, dry place with a stable temperature between 20°C and 25°C. It is recommended to store them at a partial state of charge, around 40% to 60% of their full capacity, as storing them at a full or empty state of charge can damage the battery and reduce its lifespan.

Additionally, it is important to keep the batteries away from direct sunlight, moisture, and heat sources, and to avoid storing them in a way that they may become damaged or short-circuited.

4. Can LiFePO4 batteries be stored on their side?

LiFePO4 batteries can be stored on their side, but it is generally recommended to store them in an upright position to prevent any potential leakage or damage to the battery. Storing them on their side may increase the risk of the electrolyte leaking out of the battery and causing damage to surrounding objects or equipment.

However, if storing them on their side is necessary, it is important to ensure that the battery is securely positioned and protected from any potential damage.

5. How long do LiFePO4 batteries last in storage?

The lifespan of LiFePO4 batteries in storage depends on various factors, such as the battery's condition, temperature, and charge level. When stored under optimal conditions, LiFePO4 batteries can retain their charge for several months without significant capacity loss.

However, it is generally recommended to recharge the batteries every 3 to 6 months to prevent over-discharge and to maintain their optimal performance. It is also important to regularly check the batteries for any signs of damage or corrosion and to store them in a safe and appropriate environment to ensure their longevity.

6. What is the best voltage to store LiFePO4 batteries?

The best voltage to store LiFePO4 batteries is between 3.2V and 3.3V per cell, which is approximately 50% to 70% of the battery's maximum charge capacity. Storing the batteries at this voltage range helps to minimize the risk of over-discharge or overcharging, which can damage the battery and reduce its lifespan.

7. Should lithium batteries be stored full or empty?

Lithium batteries should be stored at a partial state of charge, typically between 40% to 60% of their maximum capacity. Storing the batteries at this level helps to minimize the risk of over-discharge or overcharging, which can damage the battery and reduce its lifespan.

8. Do LiFePO4 batteries need ventilation?

LiFePO4 batteries do not require ventilation like some other types of batteries, such as lead-acid batteries. They are considered to be relatively safe and stable, and do not produce harmful gases during normal operation or charging. But in some cases, ventilation may be recommended in certain applications to help dissipate heat and prevent overheating.

Storing LiFePO4 Batteries: A Guide to Proper Storage

Proper storage is crucial for ensuring the longevity of LiFePO4 batteries and preventing potential hazards. Lithium iron phosphate batteries have become increasingly popular due to their high energy density, lightweight design, and eco-friendliness compared to conventional lead-acid batteries. However, to optimize their benefits, it is essential to understand how to store them correctly.

This article provides necessary details on the proper storage and handling of LiFePO4 batteries to extend their lifespan.

 

Why Proper Storage of Lithium-ion and LiFePO4 Batteries is Essential? 

Even if disconnected from external devices, internal chemical reactions can occur in batteries over time. LiFePO4 batteries require fewer safety precautions than lithium-ion batteries because they employ stable iron compounds that do not generate hazardous gases or explode. However, they are a significant investment, and proper storage ensures that your investment doesn't go to waste.

How to Store LiFePO4 Batteries?

The intended storage duration is a critical factor that affects the storage of LiFePO4 batteries. Here are some key techniques for storing these batteries:

Switch Off

Most manufacturers recommend switching off lithium batteries before storing them. For RVs and motorhomes, disconnecting the [+] and [-] wires connected to the battery pack terminals is necessary.

Avoid Heat Sources

Keep lithium batteries away from sources of heat, radiators, or other heat sources. These batteries contain chemicals that can overheat and explode when exposed to high temperatures for extended periods.

Dry Storage

Ensure that the battery is stored in a dry place and should not have any leakage or corrosive gases entering it. 

Short-term Storage

When storing LiFePO4 batteries for short durations, charge them to at least 50% of their maximum capacity, and store them in a dry place. The ideal temperature range for short-term storage is 10℃ to 30℃/ 50℉ to 86℉.

Learn more about How to Charge LiFePO4 Battery

Long-term Storage

To maintain the health and longevity of LiFePO4 batteries during long-term storage, it is important to take certain precautions. One key factor to consider is the self-discharge rate, which increases over time. Additionally, storing the battery outside the recommended temperature range can further accelerate self-discharge.

To mitigate these issues, it is recommended to store LiFePO4 batteries in a warm location and ensure they are adequately charged before disconnecting them. The ideal temperature range for storage is between 10℃ and 35℃ (50°F and 95°F).

For batteries that will be stored for three or more months, it is advisable to perform a charging and discharging cycle every three months. This helps to keep the battery healthy and in optimal operating condition when it is eventually used.

 

Cold temperatures can actually benefit battery health by halting internal chemical reactions. Thus, storing the battery at or near freezing temperature can be advantageous for long-term storage. However, it is important to consider the self-degradation rate of the battery during this time. To maintain optimal condition, it is suggested to charge the battery to a level of 40% to 50% of its capacity before storage.

Ideal Storage Temperature for LiFePO4 Batteries

The ideal storage temperature range for LiFePO4 batteries depends on the storage duration:

Less than 30 days: -20℃ to 60℃/-4℉ to 140℉

30 to 90 days: -10℃ to 35℃/14℉ to 95℉

More than 90 days: 15℃ to 35℃/59℉ to 95℉

Storing LiFePO4 Batteries in Hot or Cold Weather

Avoid storing LiFePO4 batteries in extremely hot temperatures or direct sunlight, which can cause internal overheating and lead to voltage drops or battery fires. Similarly, although cold temperatures slow down internal chemical reactions within the battery, extremely low temperatures can cause some battery components such as plastic casing to fracture.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Storing LiFePO4 Batteries

1. Should LiFePO4 Batteries be Disconnected from the System when Not in Use?

Yes, we recommend disconnecting the LiFePO4 battery system from the device when not in use. Simply switching off the main switch is insufficient. It is advised to disconnect the battery terminal cable before storing the battery.

If the battery remains connected, even when idle, there will still be minor current leakage that can adversely affect the battery's health or the device connected to the battery. Some components, such as sensors, often bypass the main circuit breaker switch.

2. Do I Need to Fully Charge a LiFePO4 Battery Before Storage?

It is not necessary to charge a LiFePO4 battery fully before storage, as storing a battery at 100% charge for a long period can damage the battery's health. It is recommended to charge the battery up to 50% capacity before storage.

3. How Long Can a LiFePO4 Battery Last in Storage?

LiFePO4 batteries can be securely stored for up to a year with no significant degradation, provided they are kept in the appropriate conditions mentioned earlier, and their voltage is checked periodically. LiFePO4 batteries have a low self-discharge rate and can retain most of their charge capacity during storage. It's recommended to recharge them every three months if stored for more than three months.

Conclusion

Compared to other lithium-ion or sealed lead-acid batteries, LiFePO4 batteries have a lower self-discharge rate and are more convenient to store. However, proper storage is crucial for maintaining their health and longevity. While the chemical composition of these batteries is elastic, physical components remain susceptible to environmental factors.

Following the guidelines above is sufficient to store most lithium-ion batteries, especially LiFePO4 batteries, properly. Finally, purchasing high-quality batteries like those offered in Power Queen's extensive catalog ensures that the storage process is more comfortable and comes with a 5-year warranty.

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