How to Be Cautious With Dangerous Chemicals in Your Batteries?

Reconditioning is often proposed as a way to extend the life of old batteries of all kinds. In theory, this makes sense in today's economy. Concerns for the environment motivate us to reuse products rather than replace them.

Tight budgets lead us to try to get every bit of energy we can from batteries before buying expensive replacements.

Some batteries such as those used in cell phones and laptops can be reconditioned without chemicals. There are several processes than can be used. The most common is to fully discharge the battery before recharging it.

The battery charge should be reduced almost to nothing (just enough to avoid data loss). When the recharging is done, the battery should be left on the charger for 30-45 minutes after a full charge is indicated.

For a cell phone that is often placed on the charger for short periods of time, you may need to discharge the battery and recharge it fully 3-4 times. For a laptop battery one cycle is usually enough to help the battery hold a charge more reliably.

Battery Safety

Batteries are mechanisms for processing electric current. They are electrochemical products that can have some dangers associated with their use.

The energy in a battery is created by a conductor that utilizes metals like nickel, cadmium, lead and mercury. These are heavy metals that are known to damage the environment and can be harmful to people.

In a car battery (lead acid battery) the electrolyte used to provide energy is sulfuric acid and water. Though sulfuric acid is commonly used in industrial processes it is not a safe chemical for an amateur to use.

When you hear the term "battery acid" it means sulfuric acid that can damage your eyes and burn your skin. Breathing the fumes over time can lead to pulmonary edema which is a buildup of excess fluid in the lungs.

Safety Tips

When working with dangerous chemicals you need to take many of the same safety tips used in laboratories across the country. Wear clothing made of polyester - this is an acid-resistant material often associated with working with chemicals.

Your skin should be fully covered by the clothing to avoid burns from splashing or spraying. Wear goggles at all times to protect your eyes.

Goggles that totally surround the eye are preferable to standard workshop safety goggles that may have an open area where fumes or splashed chemicals could reach your eyes.

Remove any and all jewelry. Chemical liquids and even strong fumes can react with the metals in jewelry and cause skin irritation. Wear gloves at all times to protect your hands.

There are methods you can use to recondition batteries using chemicals that can be a money saving do-it-yourself project. Before you start you should read all of the information about the chemicals you plan to use.

Know the procedures for handling and safety storing the various chemicals and the requirements for air handling the manufacturer recommends.

Reconditioning must be used in an area where air ventilation is reliable. The fumes that build up when some of the chemicals are in use can pose a risk of suffocation or be a fire hazard if explosive fumes are created in an area where a spark is possible.

Knowledge is Power

There are cottage businesses online that offer reconditioning and that sell previously reconditioned batteries as a low cost alternative to buying new replacements.

If you are accustomed to doing things yourself, reconditioning is not a complicated process. Know what the dangers are of the chemicals you plan to use.

Buy those supplies from a reliable source to be certain you are getting what you paid for. Read all of the instructions and cautions and observe good safety habits when reconditioning batteries with chemical substances.