The main purpose of batteries is twofold: either to store energy for later, and to give off energy when you need it. This happens thanks to chemical reactions inside the cell. How does temperature influence those? Is there a way to prevent or to solve it? Read on to find out more about cold weather & batteries.
Sensitive to changes
The chemicals inside batteries are sensitive to changes in the environment, such as temperature. Whenever a battery is subject to extreme temperatures, it may change the rate at which the chemical reactions happen. This applies to both self-discharge during storage and regular discharge when in use. Usually, chemical reactions are slowed down by the cold, and sped up in warmer environments.
Ideal conditions give ideal results
So, it’s better to store batteries in the cold and use them in warmer areas, right? Not necessarily. Relatively speaking, extreme heat will do more damage than extreme cold - especially on the long run. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to combine cold weather & batteries unnecessarily.
With some batteries, it may have made perfect sense for people to store their batteries in the refrigerator, as that would slow down the self-discharging process. Nowadays, it’s not always a good idea to do so. While the cold inside your refrigerator may indeed slow down self-discharge, taking them out or storing them in the wrong way could damage them.
That’s right: especially the changes in air humidity can cause condensation, which can be detrimental to your batteries. It’s not worth the risk. For the best results, it’s always better to store (and use) batteries in “normal” conditions, i.e. between 10 and 25°C.
When all else fails… use the right type
Sometimes however, you have no choice. Say you’re going out for a nice photography session during winter. Even something as simple as unlocking your car with a remote key could be prevented by the cold - that is, if your batteries aren’t up for the task. You’ll need your batteries to sustain such low temperatures as well as possible.
Among the Panasonic range of batteries to withstand colder environments are EVOLTA NEO (overall high-drain devices), lithium coins (for remote car keys and other small devices) and cylindrical lithium (torches and smoke detectors). The effects of the combination of cold weather & batteries can usually be reduced with the right type at the right time.