What is the shelf life of a sealed lead acid battery?

The shelf life of a sealed lead acid battery varies according to several factors

  1. Temperature: (The ideal temperature to store SLA batteries is 50 degrees Ferhnheit or less.)
  2. Capacity: (Was the battery fully charged when placed on the shelf and is it being recharged periodically?)
  3. Age: (All sealed lead acid batteries eventually exceed there life expectency.)

A SLA (Sealed Lead Acid) battery can generally sit on a shelf  at room temperature with no charging for up to a year when at full capacity, but is not recommended. Sealed Lead Acid batteries should be charged at least every 6 – 9 months. A sealed lead acid battery generally discharges 3% every month.

Sulfation of SLA Batteries

If a SLA battery is allowed to discharge to a certain point, you may end up with sulfation and render your battery useless, never getting the intended life span out of the battery. Sulfation is when the electrolyte in the sealed lead acid battery begins to break down. Sulfur in the solution leachs from the electrolyte and begins to stick to the lead plates becoming Lead Sulfuric Crystals. The crystal build up on the lead plates keeps the plates from working as intended and also eliminates the needed sulfur in the electrolyte solution.

Storage Temperatures of SLA Batteries

The combination of these issues weakens the ability of the battery to accept and and deliver a charge. If you are going to store sealed lead acid batteries on a shelf without charging them, it is recommended you store the batteries at 50 degrees Fahrenheit/ 10 degrees Celsius or less.

Periodic Recharging of SLA Batteries

When storing sealed lead acid batteries for long periods, it is recommended that you top charge the batteries periodically. The top charge should be for 20 – 24 hours at a constant voltage of 2.4 volts per cell. 6 volt sealed lead acid batteries have 3 cells which amounts to 7.2 volts where as 12 volt sealed lead acid batteries have 6 cells which amounts to 14.4 volts.

Replacing your SLA battery

If your SLA battery has been stored for some time and is now not holding a charge then it is no longer serviceable and will need to be replaced.

Whatever the battery is, BatteryGuy can offer you substantial savings. To make it easy we’ve made it possible for you to search out your replacement in a number of ways:

  • With over 10,000 cross references you can find your replacement using the part number of the battery you have just removed.
  • By dimensions, voltage and Amperage if you can’t see any part number

To search online visit our how to find your replacement battery page or simply call us Toll Free on 800-572-1975.

See also How to store lead acid batteries.

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4 Comments

  1. santhosh kumar

    We have purchased lead acid batteries and kept unused in out store for 3 years.
    Storage is proper. Will it affect the performance of battery , when put in to service.
    Please clarify

    1. BatteryGuy Editor

      Unfortunately at this point they have been permanently damaged unless you have been top charging them approx. every 6 – 9 months. Here at our plant we recommend every 3 – 6 months they be top charged and marked with the date they were charged. If they have been in storage, even in an ideal temperature setting (68º – 78º) and not top charged, sulfation has occurred on the negative plates and will have had a detrimental effect on the battery now taking a charge.

      If you have been keeping them regularly top charged, you will more than likely still have batteries that perform just well, but are closer to the end of life and excepting less and less of a full charge.

  2. Dan Griscom

    The article says “it is recommended you store the batteries at 50 degrees Farenheit/ 10 degrees Celsius or less”; surely there’s a minimum temperature?

    1. BatteryGuy Editor

      Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries from manufacturers such as Power Sonic can be stored from -4º F to +122º F and operate normally. The answer to your question being -4º F is the minimum recommend storage temperature to store a Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) battery. Also of note – Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries can also be stored in extreme conditions down to -40º F and up to +140º F, but won’t except a charge/ cycle as designed in these conditions. In extreme conditions below -4º F and above +140 F, you may only be able to charge your battery up to say approximately 50% because of the extremes.

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