Friday, October 22, 2010

Equipment Batteries

When purchasing janitorial equipment that is battery powered the questions comes up,, What kind of batteries do I use? Are there advantages with on type over another? Are there choices on batteries? Here's whats newer to the market and why you should consider.

Wet Acid - Old technology, requires that you add water regularly. Since batteries heat up when being used or charged in time water from inside battery evaporates. This means that while charging, the equipment should be placed in a well ventilated area. When adding distilled water or checking water level gloves, goggles and shield should be worn. Let's not forget the human factor, getting your staff to check these regularly. For the most part these kinds of batteries have a 1 year life.

Gel - Gels have been around for quite a while but have gone through a rough time trying to work properly. That being said for at least the last 3-5 years several manufacturers have excelled with this technology. Since the battery uses a gel it becomes a sealed unit. No need to check water levels. These are stable batteries which can even be shipped on an airplane with no problems. Tilt the machine over and nothing leaks. Now you've removed health and safety since there's no need to check water levels and the human factor. Great batteries usually last about 3-5 years. Down side is they cost more and will require a slightly larger battery to do the same job as a wet acid.

AGM - Glass Mat batteries. Only being used recently in cleaning equipment these too are maintenance free. There is no need to add water or check these batteries. Similar to Gel and from the same kind of technology these batteries claim to have a 10 year life. One thing I have noticed in my limited experience is that these batteries require care when it comes to the charge cycle. Be sure to follow the instructions or you will be replacing these batteries.

Another thing to consider is if applying for any LEEDS certification in your building the equipment must have Gel or AGM batteries. Although your building may not be applying for this today may you be considering it in the near future? It is always cheaper to buy these batteries when ordering the equipment then making it an after market installation.

At the end of the day given the choice I would seriously consider the gel option. When set in the right equipment and the right charger these batteries will be safer, easier to use and last you longer, saving you and your facility money which is the bottom line when considering any purchase.

Phil-T
"Nothings too filthy for Phil-T"