If You place Your Batteries in the Fridge, You’re Doing It Wrong
What is a stack?
A battery is, first and foremost, a chemical reaction that produces electricity. This is done through an exchange of electrons between a positive electrode and a negative electrode through a metal wire. The ions resulting from this transfer of electrons cross an electrolyte, liquid, or in the form of a gel. And the reaction continues until the electrolyte is completely exhausted.
However, this chemical reaction can be affected by temperature like any chemical reaction.
Not too cold
The American battery manufacturer Energizer has carried out several studies on the effects of temperature on battery performance. His data shows that the batteries are less efficient when used at temperatures corresponding to a fridge or freezer. In other words, and the major battery manufacturers all agree on this point, the maximum performance of the battery is not achieved at low temperatures. Manufacturers recommend storing batteries in a cool, dry place at normal room temperature for maximum performance. Therefore, storage in a refrigerator or freezer is neither required nor recommended for today’s batteries. Cold storage can have harmful effects on their shelf life. Similarly, the humid environment will cause condensation on the batteries, which will lead to rust or other damage.
Energizer particularly suggests storing batteries at normal room temperatures (20-25°C) with moderate humidity levels (35-65% RH). Panasonic recommends storing the batteries in a dry environment at a temperature of 15°C. At these ambient temperatures, standard cylindrical alkaline batteries can be stored for 5 to 10 years and cylindrical lithium batteries for 10 to 15 years. To prolong battery life, Duracell also recommends removing batteries from devices that are not in use and storing them in a dry place at room temperature, with the terminals not touching.
Not too hot
These are approximate temperatures. Panasonic states that a temperature “a little warmer” than 15 degrees will not damage the batteries. On the other hand, extreme heat can be just as harmful as cold. A temperature exceeding 30°C will tend to accelerate the self-discharge process. That’s why manufacturers, like Duracell, recommend storing batteries out of direct sunlight and avoiding placing battery-powered devices in very hot places. This should preserve battery life. Extreme temperatures, hot or cold, can reduce performance or cause leakage and even rupture. It should be remembered that when stored correctly, the discharge rate of a single-use alkaline battery is negligible: approximately 3% per year. Single-use lithium batteries lose even less. On the other hand, the more a battery is used, the less efficient it becomes. This is why the phone battery does not perform so well after a year or two.
Extreme temperatures, hot or cold, should be avoided. The fridge is therefore not a suitable place to store batteries. The cold does not prolong their life, and condensation, when taken out, can damage them.