How Temperature Can Affect Your Forklift Batteries

Temperature extremes can significantly diminish the performance and lifespan of your forklift batteries. High temperatures can lead to energy loss and potential thermal runaway, while low temperatures can slow down chemical reactions and risk freezing the battery. Learn more about how temperature can affect your forklift batteries and tips for maintaining optimal temperatures.

High Temperatures and Energy Loss

When forklift batteries operate in sweltering conditions, their self-discharge rate escalates, leading to energy loss even when not in use. Operating temperatures above 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) can accelerate the chemical reactions within a battery, leading to an increased rate of corrosion on the battery’s internal components. This corrosion, in turn, can obstruct the flow of electric current, reduce the battery’s capacity to hold a charge, and ultimately shorten its lifespan.

Excessive ambient heat exacerbates thermal runaway, as it accelerates the chemical reactions within the battery. Thermal runaway happens when the internal temperature of the battery rises rapidly, leading to extreme overheating that may lead to fire or explosion.

Low Temperatures Harm Chemical Reactions

Conversely, cold temperatures can slow a battery’s chemical reactions, diminishing its power output. Frigid temperatures can increase the resistance in each battery cell, impairing both the charging and discharging processes. In extreme cases, the battery is at risk of freezing entirely, an event that likely spells the end of its usability and warrants costly replacement.

Leaving a battery in a discharged state in cold weather can cause the electrolyte to freeze and lead to irreversible damage to the battery’s internal structure. This is especially true for lead-acid batteries, where the electrolyte in a completely discharged battery can freeze at around 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.66 degrees Celsius). The freezing process can cause the electrolyte to expand, which can rupture the battery cells and lead to a loss of capacity or complete failure. Also, remember that it is unsafe to charge a frozen battery because the ice prevents proper ion flow, leading to overheating and potential explosion.

Tips for Maintaining Optimal Temperatures

Temperature extremes can affect the safety and reliability of your forklift battery, so it’s important to maintain optimal temperatures when using, charging, or storing it. While using a forklift, avoid overworking the machine, which can lead to battery overheating. Regular breaks during operation can help maintain a safe temperature by giving the battery time to cool down. If the battery starts to get too hot or cold, consider moving the forklift to a more temperate environment or using tools like battery heaters or fans to regulate the temperature.

While charging a forklift battery, always use a charger with the correct specifications for your battery. Charge in a well-ventilated area to help disperse generated heat, and never interrupt the charging cycle, as this can lead to imbalances in the cell temperatures and potential overheating.

Finally, store batteries in a cool, dry location with stable temperatures to prevent extreme temperature exposure. Store the battery at a state of full charge to minimize self-discharge and potential freezing in cold conditions.

Power your lift truck with a Crown forklift battery from Green Power Forklift Batteries. The high-performance design makes this a resilient tool for industrial workloads. Shop with us today for new forklift batteries and boost operational efficiency at your facility.