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[Full Guide] How Do You Store LiFePO4 Lithium Batteries

13 Jun 2023
How Do You Store LiFePO4 Batteries

The proper storage of LiFePO4 lithium batteries is vital in ensuring its longevity and preventing any potential hazards. The increasing popularity of lithium batteries is attributed to their lightweight design, high energy density, and eco-friendliness compared to conventional lead-acid batteries. However, to optimize the battery's benefits, knowing how to store it correctly is key.

This article centers on divulging the necessary details related to proper storage and handling of LiFePO4 batteries to extend its lifespan.

Why is Proper Storage of Lithium-ion and LiFePO4 Batteries Essential?

Even if the battery remains disconnected from external devices, internal chemical reactions can transpire.

LiFePO4 batteries necessitate fewer safety precautions than traditional lead-acid battery and other type's lithium-ion batteries. LFP batteries employ stable iron compounds and do not generate hazardous gases or explode. Despite this, LFP batteries entail a significant investment. The appropriate storage of LiFePO4 batteries ensures that your investment does not go to waste. 

lifepo4 vs lead acid battery

Several batteries possess an in-built protection mechanism---battery management system, offering a safe storage option for LiFePO4 batteries. However, it must be mentioned that the protection circuit ought not to be utilized when the batteries are kept in a discharged state. The protection circuit only applies to batteries that are charged to at least 40% to 50%, as explained further below.

How to Store LiFePO4 Batteries?

The primary factor that affects the storage of LiFePO4 batteries is the intended storage duration. Here are the key techniques for storing LiFePO4 batteries and specific recommendations for storage time.

Key Techniques for Storing Lithium Batteries

Switch Off: Nearly all manufacturers recommend storing lithium batteries after switching them off.

For RVs and motorhomes, using only the off switch on the electrical system does not disconnect the battery pack. Some components remain active, such as sensors, even without external loads to draw power. The correct way to disconnect the battery pack is to detach the [+] and [-] wires connected to the battery pack terminals.

Unlike other types of battery packs, lithium batteries do not require a trickle charge voltage and do not need to be powered during storage. LiFePO4 batteries have a self-discharge rate of 1-3% per month, so they retain most of the charge capacity during storage.

It is crucial to store lithium batteries away from sources of heat, radiators, or other heat sources. They contain chemicals that can overheat and explode when exposed to high temperatures for extended periods.

When storing batteries, keep them away from conductive objects such as terminal clips or other metals that may accidentally contact both battery terminals and cause a short circuit.

If the battery behaves abnormally after removal, it should not be used. Strange behavior includes any odor, liquid leakage, physical deformation, or other anomalies.

Avoid placing LiFePO4 batteries in strong magnetic fields while storing them, as these fields can disrupt or damage the battery management system on lithium-ion batteries.

Short-term Storage

Ensure that the battery is stored in a dry place and should not have any leakage or corrosive gases entering it. The wet temperature range for LiFePO4 batteries can be from -20 ℃ to 35 ℃ (-4 °F to 95 °F) . Any variation within this range will cause rust or liquid leakage in the battery, leading to reduced battery life or permanent failure.

When you switch off and store LiFePO4 batteries, it is highly recommended to charge them to at least 50% of their maximum charge capacity using a lithium charger. This ensures optimal charging when the battery is reconnected and helps maintain the overall battery condition.

Long-term Storage

Long-term storage increases the self-discharge rate. Self-discharge also increases when the battery warms up and is stored outside the recommended storage temperature. To address this issue, place LiFePO4 batteries in a warm location and charge them adequately before actual disconnection. The ideal temperature range is 10℃ to 35℃ (50°F to 95°F).

When the battery storage time exceeds three months, it's best to run a charging and discharging cycle every three months to keep the battery healthy and in good operating condition when removed for use.

recharge every 3 months for long-term storing lifepo4 batteries

Cold temperatures stop the internal chemical reactions of the battery, improving its health. Therefore, keeping the battery at freezing temperature is a good thing for long-term battery storage health. However, the battery self-degradation rate should be considered. It is best to charge the battery to 40% to 50% of its capacity to keep it in optimal condition.

Ideal Storage Temperature for LiFePO4 Batteries

For LiFePO4 batteries, the temperature range depends on the storage time. In general, please follow the guidelines below:

  • Less than 30 days: -20℃ to 60℃ / -4°F to 140°F
  • 30 to 90 days: -10℃ to 35℃ / 14°F to 95°F
  • More than 90 days: 15℃ to 35℃ / 59°F to 95°F

Storing LiFePO4 Batteries in Cold Weather (Winter)

Low temperature is not a problem for lithium batteries because it slows down the internal chemical reactions within the battery, thus prolonging its life. However, although the battery chemistry is enhanced in cold weather, extremely low temperatures can cause some battery components, such as the plastic casing, to fracture. Therefore, it's best to keep lithium batteries indoors and avoid extremely cold temperatures. If you reside in an area with long winter seasons, it is crucial to prioritize batteries that come with low-temperature protection features

battery with low temperature protection

LiTime 12V 100Ah Lithium Battery Best For Trolling Motor

Storing LiFePO4 Batteries in Hot Weather (Summer)

Storing LiFePO4 batteries in high temperatures or direct sunlight can pose a severe threat to the battery. Extreme temperatures can cause the battery to overheat internally, resulting in unnecessary chemical reactions that could cause uncontrolled battery voltage drop or even battery fires. Therefore, please avoid storing the battery for extended periods in high temperatures or outdoor sunlight.

It is highly recommended to use a battery box to provide proper protection for your LiFePO4 batteries. This will help prevent any accidents or damage that could occur due to heat exposure.

store battery in battery box

FAQS about Storing LiFePO4 Batteries

Q: Can I leave a LiFePO4 battery connected to a device while it's in storage?

It is generally recommended to disconnect the LiFePO4 battery from any devices or equipment before storing it for an extended period. Leaving it connected could result in a slow discharge over time, especially if the device has a standby power draw. Therefore, it's best to disconnect the battery to preserve its charge.

Q: How often should I check the stored LiFePO4 battery?

It's a good practice to check the stored LiFePO4 battery every 3 months to monitor its state of charge. If the battery voltage drops significantly below the recommended storage voltage, it may require a recharge to maintain its performance and prevent irreversible damage.

lifepo4 battery state of charge

Q: Do I need to charge the LiFePO4 battery before using it after storage?

If the LiFePO4 battery has been stored for an extended period, it's advisable to recharge it before using it again. This ensures that the battery is at its optimal capacity and performance level. Following the manufacturer's guidelines for charging procedures will help prolong the battery's lifespan.

Q: Are there any safety precautions I should take when storing a LiFePO4 battery?

Yes, it's important to follow some safety precautions while storing a LiFePO4 battery. Avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures, moisture, or direct sunlight. It's also crucial to keep the battery away from flammable materials and children. If you notice any signs of physical damage or swelling, it's best to contact the manufacturer for further guidance.

Conclusion

Due to its low self-discharge rate and other advantages, LiFePO4 batteries are easier to store than any other lithium-ion or sealed lead-acid battery.

However, understanding how to store LiFePO4 batteries correctly is crucial to maintaining their health. Although the battery's chemical composition is quite elastic, physical components are still susceptible to many environmental factors.

Therefore, following the information above is sufficient to store most lithium-ion batteries, especially LiFePO4 batteries. Finally, obtaining high-quality batteries can make the storage process easier.

Check out LiTime's extensive catalog of first-class LFP batteries. These batteries offer a 5-year warranty, so you know they were made with quality in mind.

Please contact service@litime.com if you have any problems about LiFePO4 batteries.

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