If you’ve recently made the switch to lithium batteries for your golf cart, boat, or RV, you may be wondering how to store them in the winter during the off-season. While cold weather can negatively affect your batteries, lithium batteries handle it better than the alternative lead-acid batteries.
Lithium battery technology has advanced to the point that storage is much safer and the batteries can handle harsh conditions. However, proper winter storage is still important to keep your batteries in the best condition possible. Before we take a look at how you should be storing these batteries, let’s quickly go over how the cold affects lithium batteries.
Cold Weather Effects on Lithium Batteries
Lithium batteries are taking the world by storm because they’re more efficient at storing and releasing energy than any other type of battery. They can also handle higher and lower temperatures than the alternatives, but extremes on either end can compromise the battery’s efficiency.
Temperatures that are too cold lower the battery’s capacity. As a result, you’ll need to charge your battery more often, reducing your battery's overall lifespan. For example, your lithium battery will run at 100% capacity in mild to moderate temperatures, but Patriot Power Source’s lithium batteries will drop to only 80% of the rated capacity at 14 degrees.
While this isn’t a huge difference, you can prolong your lithium battery’s lifespan by taking the proper precautions when you’re storing for the winter.
Storing Your Lithium Batteries for Winter
Winterizing your lithium batteries is much easier than winterizing lead-acid batteries. Here are a few tips on how to properly store your lithium batteries during the off-season to keep them in optimal condition.
Fully Charge Your Batteries
One of the benefits of lithium batteries is that they don’t require a trickle charge during storage. They maintain their charge and only lose about 2-3% of it every month. Unlike lead-acid batteries that lose 33% of their charge in the same timeframe, lithium batteries can go more than a full year without draining completely.
With this in mind, it’s always best to fully charge your batteries before you store them for a few months. That way, you won’t have to worry about checking on them and occasionally recharging when not in use. In fact, you likely won’t even need to recharge them when winter ends and you’re ready to use them again.
Store Your Batteries in Proper Temperatures
When you’re storing your batteries for an extended period of time, it’s best to find a cool, dry place to store them. You’ll also want to keep them out of direct sunlight. The ideal temperature range is 40 to 80 degrees.
Lithium batteries can handle being stored at lower or higher temperatures, but extremes will cause a little more than the 3% charge loss per month. Plus, sub zero weather can damage the plastic casing, causing an even greater loss of charge.
Disconnect the Power to Your Batteries
Before storing your batteries for the winter, you’ll want to disconnect them or use the disconnect switch to cut off the power to your batteries. This may not be necessary for golf carts or some boats, but it’s essential for RVs and some houseboats. If you leave them connected, you run the risk of a parasitic load drain.
Many RVs have an emergency sensor that bypasses the disconnect switch, so you’ll need to make sure your batteries are entirely disconnected if you’re using a switch. You can manually disconnect the batteries if this is the case.
Preparing Lithium Batteries for Use During the Winter
Your lithium batteries should still have plenty of charge during winter storage, but there are still some things to keep in mind if you’re using your battery in the cold.
It’s also crucial that you avoid charging your lithium batteries in extreme temperatures. The lithium cells in your battery can’t accept the same charging current in freezing temperatures. That’s why it’s imperative that you only charge your batteries above 32 degrees. Patriot Power Source’s lithium batteries can be safely charged in temperatures ranging between 32 and 113 degrees.
Proper Care & Maintenance
Fortunately, lithium batteries don’t require any routine maintenance like lead-acid batteries do. You don’t have to worry about adding water, checking acid levels, or cleaning off corrosion. The only thing you need to do is make sure you’re following the tips provided about storing your batteries properly during the winter and only charging them in the recommended temperature range.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, feel free to contact Patriot Power Source at 888-287-2864.