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  1. #1
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Default Storing a Battery for winter..?

    What would you guys recommend to do for us that DO NOT have garages to store them in. I just got done taking both out and fully charging them. Is it safe to store them inside the house, basement (Utility room)..? Any toxic fumes or gases i should be aware of..? Please advise, Thanks.

  2. #2
    Supreme Mariner Silvertip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Bring them inside but place them away from any open flame such as the furnace, water heater, etc. If the cells can be checked for water, do so and top off any cells with distilled water if the tops of any plates are showing. Charge them once a month or so. They will sleep well.

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    Honorary Moderator Emeritus SpinnerBait_Nut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Do as Silvertip says only if mine needs topping off, I use battery acid to top them off with.
    I have 9 to worry about and was told by the battery person that is the best to do as acid won't freeze.


    "JUST KEEP ON, KEEPING ON"
    "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

  4. #4
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus Don S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Top off the battery electrolite level, and make sure it's fully charged when done for the season.
    Once the boat is in storage, disconnect the battery, and it should be fine.
    I would bet 99% of the boat batteries in the world have to live outside during the off season.

    I would guess the battery manufactures would want you to keep them warm, and in front of the TV so they can be happy also.
    Don S.


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  5. #5
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    First off, you should use the specific gravity of a charged battery to determine if acid or DI water should be added. I keep my batteries in the basement during the off season on a metal shelf, charging them maybe twice through out the winter at 1 amp. My batteries have lasted me anywhere from 10 to 13 years. My 1970 boat is only on its 3rd battery since new.
    1970 14ft Winner 90hp Merc (44 seasons of saltwater operation);
    2003 Malibu skiboat V-8 inboard. (fresh water boat)
    Original owner of both.
    First boat; 1963 13ft Fabuglass Fury 50hp Merc (63-69)

  6. #6
    Senior Chief Petty Officer azlakes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    I top off my ATV batteries with acid as SBN states, you can buy this acid at your local Auto Parts store for less than 10 bucks and it goes a long ways. I also suggest placing your batteries on a piece of carpet or old mat. I have had good luck with my deep cells keeping them off my concrete floor. Dont know what it is about that but wont argue the results on these expensive batteries.
    86' Capri 1950 BR
    Force 125hp
    Desert Southwest

  7. #7
    Rear Admiral Boatist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    If the batteries are charged they will be fine outside. Batteries do vent gasses and can explode but normally only when charging. Batteries like most chemicals slow down when cold and if charged the cold will not harm them. This means the self discharge is slower in winter. Also why can get by with charging every 2 months in winter and should charge every month in summer.
    Have some fun and enjoy the Great Outdoors.
    Love to fish out of Bodega Bay, California.

  8. #8
    Vice Admiral Scaaty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Harbor Frieght $6 on sale "float chargers'..over 12 batts on now...last new batt over 4 years ago...oldest going on 9 years They toss VERY little amps..but keep the voltage at the 13.20..13.50 sweet spot..don't argue with me ..read any Tech Facts on it..full charge first..make sure water up to snuff..then drop it off in the spring, wait 24 hours, then toss a load tester on it..(or any auto store..(but YOU watch the meter..along with them...)

  9. #9
    Supreme Mariner Silvertip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Keep the battery charged and you can set it by the back door. Up here in the tundra it gets down to 35 below zero. If it weren't ok to leave the battery outside in sub-zero weather every car owner would need a new battery every morning in the winter. Keep it charged and it will be fine. Charged batteries don't freeze (to a point).

  10. #10
    Petty Officer 1st Class Jack Daniels's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    First year to handle batter storage and was wonder what you guysthought about a trickle charger. I am planning on disconnecting the battery from the motor and connect the trickle charger to the battery in the boat. From what i read this is a way to keep it charged all winter and not have to worry about removing it from the boat. Any thoughts?
    1983 Bayliner Capri 1600
    1983 FORCE 85 HP outboard

  11. #11
    Lieutenant Junior Grade JCF350's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Quote Originally Posted by SBN View Post
    Do as Silvertip says only if mine needs topping off, I use battery acid to top them off with.
    I have 9 to worry about and was told by the battery person that is the best to do as acid won't freeze.
    You should only add acid in the case of a spill and adding just water in this case will lower the specific gravity. Adding acid just to top it off throws the specific gravity off. Batteries are designed to operate with a specific water to acid ratio. The farther you get from this ratio the less efficient the battery will be, plus you can ruin it by adding to much acid.

  12. #12
    Supreme Mariner Silvertip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    You want a well regulated battery maintainer or float charger as they are sometimes refered as. Schumacher makes an excellent unit for $24.95 at our local farm store. It's a sealed unit and I have it mounted permanently in the boat. It's plugged in at the dock at night and right now the boat is in my garage for the winter and it's plugged in now until spring as it has been for the last four years. I had one in my previous boat as well.

  13. #13
    Petty Officer 1st Class Jack Daniels's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Quote Originally Posted by Silvertip View Post
    You want a well regulated battery maintainer or float charger as they are sometimes refered as. Schumacher makes an excellent unit for $24.95 at our local farm store. It's a sealed unit and I have it mounted permanently in the boat. It's plugged in at the dock at night and right now the boat is in my garage for the winter and it's plugged in now until spring as it has been for the last four years. I had one in my previous boat as well.
    Awesome i just hooked it up today, its a 1.5 amp battery maintainer trickle charger. It said it fist slow charges the battery at 1.5 amps and then maintains it over the duration of the winter. I currently have it set at 12 volts is that correct or should i put it on 6 volts. Thanks for the info
    1983 Bayliner Capri 1600
    1983 FORCE 85 HP outboard

  14. #14
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus SpinnerBait_Nut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Quote Originally Posted by JCF350 View Post
    You should only add acid in the case of a spill and adding just water in this case will lower the specific gravity. Adding acid just to top it off throws the specific gravity off. Batteries are designed to operate with a specific water to acid ratio. The farther you get from this ratio the less efficient the battery will be, plus you can ruin it by adding to much acid.
    Don't know, just going by what the battery guy told me on my golf cart batteries(6)
    Says when I check them and they are low to add acid and they will be stronger and last longer.


    "JUST KEEP ON, KEEPING ON"
    "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

  15. #15
    Lieutenant Junior Grade JCF350's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Quote Originally Posted by SBN View Post
    Don't know, just going by what the battery guy told me on my golf cart batteries(6)
    Says when I check them and they are low to add acid and they will be stronger and last longer.
    Your battery guy is incorrect.
    But don't just take my word for it, do some research online and you'll learn a bunch about batteries.

  16. #16
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus SpinnerBait_Nut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Quote Originally Posted by JCF350 View Post
    Your battery guy is incorrect.
    But don't just take my word for it, do some research online and you'll learn a bunch about batteries.
    He maybe, like I said don't know.
    I do know batteries with water in them can and will freeze.
    That I do know.
    So how do you know when you get to the point of too much water and not enough acid?


    "JUST KEEP ON, KEEPING ON"
    "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

  17. #17
    Senior Chief Petty Officer azlakes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    So how do you know when you get to the point of too much water and not enough acid?

    For me the battery no longer held a charge or died quickly under a load when I just kept adding water.
    86' Capri 1950 BR
    Force 125hp
    Desert Southwest

  18. #18
    Lieutenant Junior Grade JCF350's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    So how do you know when you get to the point of too much water and not enough acid?
    You will lose a few molecules worth of acid in normal use (after all you can smell it and it will corrode the surrounding area) but not enough to degrade the battery over its life span. Now if you get one hot enough you'll lose acid but by then the battery is damaged by the temperature, it still may crank an engine or drive a motor but its capacity will be severely diminished.

  19. #19
    Lieutenant Commander drewmitch44's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Thing about batteries on the concrete floor is a old wives tale. Like you have to keep your gps unit in a wool sack so as not to harm it. If you leave your gps in a cotton sack the clouds will fall from the sky and you will be dancing with the devil and the fork ran away with the spoon after the cat jumped over the moon cause the itsy bitsy spider bit him.

  20. #20
    Lieutenant Commander drewmitch44's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    I never thought about buying acid for my batteries. I usually use tap water and boil it, making it distilled. But i know you can buy that stuff at a lot of places. Maybee ill top off with that this year.

  21. #21
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Boiled tap water is not distilled. It can still have a lot of trace minerals in it. I can get distilled water at the grocery for around 68 cents a gallon.

    I've stored my batteries outside in a big blue tote container. You know the ones you store clothes in? I keep them beside the garage in a sealed container all winter, and they are always fine.

    Of course temps hardly ever get below 10 degrees fahrenheit here anyway. The lowest we've been in 5 years is 15 degrees.
    Everyone starts boating with a bag full of luck.
    As you gain experience the bag of luck empties, and becomes a bag full of experience.

  22. #22
    Supreme Mariner Silvertip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Unbelievable! A hydrometer is used to check the specific gravity (condition of a battery). Adding water doesn't do anything other than cover the plates. Charging the battery brings the specific gravity back up. Adding acid to a battery is done only on new batteries that are delivered dry. In fact the last one I bought for a motorcycle had specific instructions NOT to add acid after the initial charge and to top the cells off with distilled water as needed in the future. If all one does is add water to a low battery -- yes it will freeze because it is not fully charged. Dead batteries freeze -- it's that plain and simple. I repeat, if a fully charged battery froze, everyone in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota, Montana, Alaska, and the entire country of Canada would need a new battery in their car every morning during winter months.

  23. #23
    Lieutenant Junior Grade JCF350's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Quote Originally Posted by OscarNav View Post
    What would you guys recommend to do for us that DO NOT have garages to store them in. I just got done taking both out and fully charging them. Is it safe to store them inside the house, basement (Utility room)..? Any toxic fumes or gases i should be aware of..? Please advise, Thanks.
    During any long term storage the battery should be placed on a "maintenance" charger that will only charge when the battery drops below a certain level. A "trickle" charger (one that is constantly on) will damage the battery. Location is really unimportant as long it is well ventilated and no source of ignition nearby (batteries vent hydrogen and oxygen gases).

  24. #24
    Petty Officer 3rd Class
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Having a boat, vehicles and rv's in both Michigan and Florida,with a rough count of 26 batteries, and having done this for 23 years now, I think I qualify to speak on the subject.
    Cold weather.
    I live in Upper Mich (in the summer). It gets to 50 below zero at times.
    I charge the batteries, remove one post and leave them. They sit for at least 7 months like this.
    I have never, in 23 years, had a battery fail to start whatever it was in.
    Never removed from the vehicle. No recharge.
    Because I liveaboard and anchor out on my boat for the entire season I am very careful about battery failure.
    I replace the golf cart batteries every 5 years, not because they are done but because I need to be sure they do not fail in my season as there is no replacement for them where I boat.
    If a battery fails during cold weather and there is no draw, the battery was no good anyway.
    They are sluggish if the weather gets cold but that is different than draining.
    They go to sleep when it freezes and they last and are not harmed.
    A battery can fail at any time. Case in point. I have a 99 Dodge diesel.
    It has very few miles as it is only used about 2 /2 months. I boat about 3 of the 5 month I am there.
    It started fine in the spring after sitting 7 months.
    I went boating for 2 plus months.
    They were stone dead when I returned. Couldn't take any charge.
    They were about 7 years old and it was time but why didn't they die in the winter if cold weather and no charging damages a battery?

    Warm weather.
    Now here is the killer of a battery. My Florida batteries also sit 7 months. We RV 2 months a year if you are keeping track of the months.
    I lose batteries in Florida. The hot weather does harm them. I try to keep them on maintenance charge there.
    The real killer of batteries, even deep cycle, is deep discharge. No battery should be taken below 60% discharge and 50% is even better.
    Car batteries should not be used for house batteries. They are designed for high load, short term use.
    They are not designed for deep discharge.
    Golf cart batteries are a deep cycle battery and the best bang for your buck.
    2 6 volt in series make 12 volt. About $61 each at Sams and you get about 115 amp hours.
    Another thread on that would be in order.
    Doug

  25. #25
    Lieutenant Junior Grade JCF350's Avatar
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    Default Re: Storing a Battery for winter..?

    Quote Originally Posted by dmcb View Post
    Warm weather.
    Now here is the killer of a battery. My Florida batteries also sit 7 months. We RV 2 months a year if you are keeping track of the months.
    I lose batteries in Florida. The hot weather does harm them. I try to keep them on maintenance charge there.

    Doug
    Definitely right on this one. :-D

    It 's not just the temperature, the humidity (and if you live by the one of the coasts the "salty" air) leads to a higher "self discharge" rate then you would experience in drier climates, hence the need for a battery maintainer. In the auto biz the time for a shop to stock extra batteries is late May or early June because of the heat that is coming just around the corner.

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