Battery Safety | Vermont
Batteries used in renewable energy systems are potentially the most dangerous system component if improperly handled, installed, or maintained.
Dangerous chemicals, heavy weights, and high voltages and currents are potential hazards that can result in electric shock, burns, explosion, or corrosive damage to yourself or your property. The following safety rules should always be followed anytime you are installing, removing, performing maintenance, or working in the vicinity of your battery system.
- Remember that batteries contain sulfuric acid, which causes severe burns and can emit hydrogen gas which is explosive.
- Do not smoke, use open flames, or create an electrical arc or spark in the vicinity of the battery.
- Ensure that the battery is well ventilated when charging to prevent a build-up of explosive gas.
- Remove any jewelry before working on or around batteries.
- Use insulated tools when working on or around batteries to prevent shorting the terminals.
- Wear protective clothing (especially eye protection) when working around batteries.
- If you get battery acid in your eyes immediately flush with clear water for 15 minutes and seek medical attention. Do not use a neutralizing agent in your eyes.
- Keep a neutralizing agent on hand. (1 pound of baking soda thoroughly mixed with 1 gallon of water) Use this agent to neutralize any acid that may get on your skin or clothing and for general battery cleaning. Rinse with clear water when the bubbling stops.
- Disconnect the battery bank from any sources of charging before working on the batteries.
- Do not lift the batteries by the terminal ports or by squeezing the sides of the battery. Lift from the bottom or use carrying straps.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Always use common sense.
Battery Do’s and Don’ts
- Do think safety first.
- Do read the manufacturer’s manual.
- Do perform regular inspection and maintenance.
- Do recharge the batteries immediately after discharge.
- Do recharge the batteries completely.
- Do ensure that your battery bank is sized appropriately.
- Do use only distilled or de-ionized water in your batteries.
- Do equalize frequently and completely.
- Do remove the negative cable first and install it last.
- Don’t forget…Safety first!
- Don’t add new electrolyte.
- Don’t use unregulated high output battery chargers.
- Don’t store batteries without some type of device to keep the batteries charged (trickle charger).
- Don’t remove the battery cables while the charger is charging.
- Don’t put off recharging the batteries.
- Don’t use tap water in your batteries…it may contain minerals which will contaminate the electrolyte.
- Don’t discharge your batteries below 80%.
- Don’t overcharge your batteries.
- Don’t mix size and types of batteries in a battery bank.
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