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Learn About Batteries

What do TV remote controls, cordless tools and flashlights have in common?
They are all battery-powered devices. Believe it or not, there is a lot to learn about batteries, such as proper use, storage, disposal and the differences between battery types – Alkaline, Lithium and Nickel Metal Hydride or NiMH.

Batteries 101

  • Read the instructions on your battery-operated device before installing the batteries. Insert the batteries properly, following the symbols that show the correct placement for positive (+) and negative (-) ends.
  • Never recharge a battery unless it is specifically marked “rechargeable.” Attempting to recharge an alkaline or other non-rechargeable battery could result in rupture or leakage.
  • Do not use rechargeable alkaline batteries in a nickel cadmium or nickel-metal-hydride battery charger.
  • Keep battery contact surfaces clean by gently rubbing with a clean pencil eraser or cloth.
  • Always keep batteries away from children.
  • Replace batteries with the size and type specified by the manufacturer.
  • Remove all used batteries from your equipment at the same time, replacing with all new batteries of the correct size and type. Mixing old and new batteries or different types and makes of batteries could cause rupture or leakage.

Extending Battery Life

  • Store batteries in a dry place at normal room temperature. Always keep batteries or battery-powered equipment away from heat.
  • Remove batteries from devices to be stored for extended periods.
  • Handle batteries with care – never carry loose batteries in a pocket or purse with metal objects such as coins or paper clips. This can short-circuit the battery and generate excessive heat.
  • Never dispose of batteries in fire – rapid temperature increase may cause the battery to explode.

Recycling – Doing your part for the environment
All independent studies show batteries to be environmentally unimportant when disposed of as normal household waste. As battery users, consumers have a hand in protecting the environment by using batteries wisely to ensure full service life. Keep these helpful tips in mind:

  • Turn off battery-operated devices when not in use to prevent waste of battery life.
  • Batteries can self-discharge even when power is not supplied to the device. Don't leave batteries in devices being stored.
  • Batteries should be stored in original packaging without the contacts touching.
  • Avoid temperature extremes such as refrigerators or attics – cold and heat can reduce battery shelf life.
  • Mixing old and new batteries forces the older battery to keep working even after its life has been exhausted. This can lead to additional internal gases being produced within the old battery and can result in leakage or rupture.
  • Do not open battery casings. Batteries contain materials that may cause personal harm.
  • Car batteries that contain lead should be disposed of only at waste management recycling centers. Local auto retailers or service centers may also purchase used car batteries for recycling.
  • Nickel-cadmium or lead-acid type rechargeable batteries contain heavy metals and should be recycled. Check with your local government recycling coordinators for the nearest recycling center or call 1-800-8BATTERY.
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