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Can you put batteries in a storage unit?

Woman removes battery from a smartphone before putting it in storage
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Operations - Store and Insure

Should you remove the batteries before you store an electrical item?

So many belongings in our homes, garages and sheds are powered by battery, but do we often think about how dangerous they can be if not stored or disposed of properly?

The London Fire Brigade attends 24 fires each week started by chargers, batteries or cables – and these call-out rates are similar across the UK.

Different batteries contain different chemicals, but any of them can cause harm, from the AAAs in a child’s toy to the battery in your car. At the very least, the chemicals they leak can burn your skin and in a worst-case scenario they can explode!

The trouble is that electronic equipment soon becomes outdated. Sometimes it seems easiest just to pack away an old laptop in a box of other belongings that might come in useful one day. Or perhaps you are unsure how to dispose of electrical goods and batteries.

But the metal batteries are made of can corrode over time and that is when chemicals start to leak. Even single-use batteries can burst, with the chemicals destroying the things around them – and if they mix with other chemicals the reaction can be catastrophic.

Large batteries and rechargeable batteries are the most dangerous. Lithium-ion batteries are full of flammable parts and larger batteries contain plenty of fluids which can leak.

Remove batteries before storing a gadget

Think about whether you really need to store a gadget. If it is obsolete, remove any data you want and take the device to be recycled. That way the materials can be reclaimed and used again. If you definitely do need to store an electrical item, the best advice is to remove batteries from any equipment you are not using. If you are going to store something with an integrated battery, it’s best to remove it and replace it with a new one later.

Store batteries in separate sturdy plastic boxes. You can even buy boxes for this purpose. For some of the best products see this Best Reviews Guide .

Don’t put off getting rid of old batteries either. You can put them in a non-metallic container and either take them to your recycling centre, a community drop-off point or, in some areas, you can leave them in a separate bag for your household refuse collection.

The storage option

It is really quite dangerous to store batteries and chargers, especially as they often end up stowed away for months or years. It’s best to remove the batteries from devices you are planning to store and dispose of them. Then replace them with new ones if you need the gadget again. If you really must store them, be very careful! The London Fire Brigade has some good advice.

Many storage facilities don’t allow you to keep batteries there, and if they do, there are strict rules about how they are stored. If you decide you do want to store your batteries, find the right climate-controlled facility that allows battery storage. Ideally, they should be stored at a temperature of between 4-20 Celsius, with humidity no higher than 55 per cent. Make sure that your batteries are in a plastic box with the terminals not touching. Visit your storage unit regularly and recharge stored batteries to keep them in good working order.

You will need insurance for the items you are storing – get a free quote from Store and Insure.