As a result, refrigerating or freezing them will usually only aid to keep their charge by a little amount. It's difficult to justify the effort required to cool them. However, storing alkaline batteries at higher temperatures causes them to lose capacity more faster. This is because as they heat up, the acid in them starts to break down more quickly.
It is recommended that you do not refrigerate or freeze alkaline batteries. This is because each time you take out the battery to use it, its charge will be depleted a little bit more until it reaches its end of life.
The best way to store alkaline batteries is either in a drawer or closet where it will remain undisturbed for years at least. The only other option is to put them in a plastic bag when not in use to prevent any damage from happening to them.
Several studies have demonstrated that putting batteries in the freezer helps them retain their charge for a longer period of time. At "room temperature," alkaline batteries self drain at a rate of less than 2% per year. But if you need those batteries for something critical, then this method is worth knowing about.
How does freezing affect batteries? Batteries contain acid which can be corrosive when exposed to air for a long period of time. So keeping them frozen prevents any further degradation and keeps them ready for use when you need them.
Does freezing damage cars? No, car batteries are made to handle cold temperatures without damage being done to the battery or your vehicle. The only thing that freezing temperatures do is preserve the battery's charge for a later date. When you go to put your car's battery back into action after it has frozen, you will need to thaw it out first before testing it for power. If it doesn't start, there may be other issues preventing it from running. A dead car battery is not just an annoyance, it can also be dangerous if you need to drive it anywhere. A frozen battery cannot deliver any charge to the car engine so it's best to have it taken care of by a professional as soon as possible.
Can I just leave the battery inside my car during a snowstorm? Not really.
On the other hand, deep-discharge batteries can be kept for many years in the frozen state.
Freezing alkalines will not harm them as long as they are thawed out and recharged properly. The chemicals within the battery will migrate to the coldest part of the cell, which is the anode, and cause no damage provided that you do not leave the batteries in the freezer for too long. If you have some that need charging, just take them out of the freezer and let them warm up for a few minutes before putting them back in the charger.
The same thing applies to frozen deep-discharge batteries. Just make sure you don't freeze them again before giving them a new life!
This is less true for alkaline batteries (freezing only improves their shelf life by roughly 5%) than for NiMH and Nicad batteries, which are often used in electronics. Still, freezing batteries is a quick way to get more use out of old ones.
The reason behind this benefit is that ice crystals form inside the battery during freezing, preventing any further chemical reactions from occurring. This means that the overall chemistry of the battery is preserved, so it can be recharged or used as needed.
Batteries that are still capable of being charged are usually labeled with instructions on how long they can be frozen before they should not be. Once thawed out again, these batteries will still work but may lose some capacity over time. Batteries that no longer hold a charge are simply discarded.
Freezing batteries is an easy way to get more use out of old ones and reduce landfill waste at the same time. However, this practice is not recommended because it may cause other parts of the battery to break down too. For example, if the foam inside the case begins to freeze, this could lead to damage of the metal shell of the battery itself.
Only keep your batteries refrigerated in severe temperatures. The common misconception about batteries is that they live longer if they are refrigerated. And it does, but not by much: alkaline batteries drain at less than 2% each year. They will, however, lose a quarter of their charge under sustained heat of roughly 100 degrees. That's why it's important to store them in cool, dark places.
Refrigeration doesn't help lithium-ion batteries last any longer. These batteries can die if not used or stored properly. Don't leave batteries inside phones and other devices when they're not in use. This wastes energy and decreases the life of the battery.
Also, don't expose batteries to water or other liquids. This will cause corrosion and shorten the life of the battery.
Last, but not least, don't throw old batteries away. Even if they no longer work, they can be recycled.
When maintained at normal temperature, alkaline batteries discharge at a rate of a few cents each year. Unless you reside in a really warm temperature zone, freezing them won't make much of a difference. On the other hand, if you leave them in a cold garage or shed for several years, they will lose most of their capacity.
Freezing does cause some problems for lithium-ion batteries, including losing about half of their battery capacity if left in ice for more than 12 months. However, this is not an issue for cells used in devices that are removed from the freezer regularly.
Alkalines contain sodium and potassium ions that migrate out of the electrodes during use and into the electrolyte. This is called "salt migration". As these ions move around inside the battery they create a potential difference across its surface which can lead to localized heating and even combustion if the concentration of salt molecules reaches a certain level. Losing part of your battery capacity due to salt migration isn't too bad, but if it continues over time it could become a problem later. There are two main factors that determine how quickly this happens: the type of battery material and the temperature environment it is kept in.
The most common type of alkaline battery is the "D" size, which contains approximately 1,820 mAh of storage capacity.