Tips For Washing Forklift Batteries

Proper forklift battery maintenance can double the life of the unit and substantially reduce a company’s equipment budget. Automated battery washers pay for themselves in a short time by helping to keep cells in tip top shape.

Why Wash Batteries?

Forklift batteries contain acid and some of that acid will leak out onto the terminals and the surface. If it overflows, it should be washed immediately — but even in normal use a small amount of acid will contaminate the surface. The unit should routinely be washed at least every six months or more often in heavy use.

If left untended, the acid corrodes the terminals and can pose a safety hazard to workers handling the equipment. What many maintenance managers may not realize is that acid also acts as a conductor. This causes batteries to discharge even when not in use. If batteries aren’t holding a charge for very long, this can be a symptom they need to be washed.

Battery Washers Make The Job Easy

Although forklift batteries can be washed by hand, the process is tedious and even dangerous as workers are exposed to toxic and corrosive chemicals. For large forklift fleets hand washing is impossible, and even small fleets will benefit from using automated washers.

Using battery washers is as simple as loading the cell and pushing a button. It is then is rinsed in an enclosed space so workers are not exposed to acid or heavy metals that might spray off during the cleaning process. Large battery washers can handle many units at once, washing each in turn without intervention. This frees workers up for more important tasks and reduces a company’s staffing needs.

Washing The Wash Water

Another reason to use automated washers is that they collect the dirty water in a tank so it can be processed. Used wash water is contaminated with acid and heavy metals such as lead and copper. Lead is a particular concern since a few ounces of lead can contaminate hundreds of thousands of gallons of groundwater. Companies that let wash water go down the drain or soak into the ground are not only damaging the environment but are subject to significant financial penalties.

Professional industrial waste water treatment contractors charge high fees for cleaning wash water, so many companies prefer to buy their own filtration systems. These filters neutralize the acid and remove the heavy metals from the water. The water is then recycled back to battery washers rather than being dumped down the drain. The best form of recycling is reuse.

Proper maintenance keeps your forklift fleet running and saves your company money. This applies to batteries as well. Invest in a battery washer and filtration system to extend the unit’s life and reduce operating costs.


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