For lead acid batteries, proper use and maintenance can directly affect their service life. Correct and safe charging methods can keep the stable performance for a long period of time. Battery life can also be extended. Since the charging process may take a dozen hours, it is common that some people choose to charge a lead acid battery overnight. This seems to save time during the day and is a handy way to ensure the enough time for the recharging. The fact is that it harms the battery, resulting in lower performance and shorter battery service life.
Let’s take a look at why to charge a lead acid battery overnight is not safe and how it affects lead acid batteries. Lead acid batteries are batteries that charge and discharge based on a chemical reaction between lead and sulfuric acid. The maintenance and safe use of lead acid batteries determine that they must be charged and discharged correctly. Improper charging habits will surely reduce the life expectation of the batteries. To summarize, to charge a lead acid battery overnight can damage the battery in the following ways.
How Charging a Lead Acid Battery Overnight Damages the Battery
1. It brings stress to the battery
Since lead acid batteries generate a certain amount of heat when they are being charged, they are subjected to be more stressed than usual when they are charged. During the process to charge a lead acid battery overnight, it is likely that the battery will undergo more than 1 cycle of recharging process because the charge current is continuous. Doing this can result in a decrease in the battery’s recoverable capacity, which will in turn shorten their life.
2. It causes damage to the battery
Unless you choose a battery charger that can automatically turn off when the battery is fully charged, to charge a lead acid battery overnight will inevitably result in the overcharging of the battery. That is, the charging current keeps entering the battery indefinitely even though it is already fully charged. Overcharging can cause the release of hydrogen and oxygen from the battery. As well as the releasing of gases, the electrolyte inside the battery will also be heated. With the evaporation of electrolyte, the battery’s plates will be exposed to the air. Once they touch the air, they will be prone to be damaged by corrosion.
3. It may even cause an explosion to charge a lead acid battery overnight
In severe cases, when the temperature is high, to charge a lead acid battery overnight will lead to the rise of the temperature and pressure inside the battery. This is why lead acid batteries will easily swell. Sometimes, it may cause the battery to catch fire or even burst. This will not only cause irreparable damage to the battery, but also cause certain damage to the vehicle itself.
In view of the above-mentioned problems, here are the common solutions:
- Choose a battery charger with timing function to control the charging time.
- Based on the capacity of the battery, choose a trickle charger that can keep charging for a long time.
A smart battery charger with timing function can monitor the charging status of the battery at any time and automatically enter the float charging mode when it is fully charged. This ensures that the battery is fully charged and not damaged. Properly controlling the charging time of the battery can avoid excessive accumulation of heat in the battery as well as the degradation of the battery. In order to effectively control the temperature of the battery, it is recommended to remove the battery from the vehicle during the charging process. A quality battery charger can monitor the temperature of the battery in real time while it is working. They can prevent the battery from overheating by adjusting the charging current. Last but not least, when a lead acid battery is being charged, there should be someone checking the charging process once in a while.
A trickle charger gets its name compared with their conventional counterparts. Their low charging current setting makes them capable of charging or maintaining lead acid batteries for long periods of time without overcharging problem. They are ideal for slowly and fully charging lead acid batteries. They can also keep the battery at a reasonable power level when it’s not in use and prevent the battery power from running low when the are left idle.
In summary, to safely charge a lead acid battery overnight, there are some precautions that must be followed. They can be summarized as the following:
1. Select a battery charger that matches the battery type
There are a wide variety of lead acid batteries, including flooded, gel acid, AGM, etc. Remember to choose the product that matches the battery type and charging current when making the selection.
2. Choose a smart battery charger with a timer or automatic shutdown function
When choosing a lead acid battery charger, a product with timing or automatic shutdown function should be preferred. These smart battery chargers often have several safety measures, which can provide great convenience and safety guarantee for battery charging and maintenance for the end users.
3. Good ventilation condition
It is suggested to charge lead acid batteries in well-ventilated places. Good air ventilation condition can prevent the temperature of the battery from rising too high. Also, the gas released by the battery (hydrogen and oxygen) can be quickly dissipated, which reduces the risk of explosion.
4. Avoid causing a fire
To avoid causing a fire, smoking or any activity that may cause sparks should be avoided while a lead acid battery is being charged nearby.
5. Consult a professional
Lead acid batteries can fail to be properly charged for a number of reasons. If there is any battery problem which is difficult to figure out, to avoid any potential risks, stop charging the battery and send the battery to a professional for testing.