Keeping your forklifts and other electric equipment running is critical to keeping your operation productive. For electric forklifts, watering the battery is an essential maintenance step. Like humans, lead acid batteries in electric forklifts can’t go without water. Failing to water them at the right time can lead to serious damage.
Water is a key part of how a lead acid battery works. Batteries are made up of flat lead plates that are immersed in an electrolyte consisting of water and sulfuric acid. The metal plates activate the electrolyte solution to create energy. During the operation of your forklift, some of the water will evaporate. Also, during charging, the water breaks down, releasing small amounts of hydrogen and oxygen gas. Gassing causes water loss which is the reason that additional water is needed to maintain proper functionality.
Overwatering or underwatering can damage your battery, reduce the time between charges (cycle time) and shorten the lifespan of the battery by as much as half. Underwatering exposes the metal plates to dry air that can damage the battery. Overwatering can cause water to overflow from the battery cells, reducing the concentration of sulfuric acid and lowering battery performance.
Water that is free from impurities and measuring between a 5 and 7 on the PH scale is preferred. Forklift battery water should always be clean and pure. Using water containing even small amounts of impurities, such as regular tap water, can lead to battery damage from the chemical and mineral content in the water.
How much water should I add?
Only add enough water to cover the plastic element protector by ¼”. The extra space is needed for expansion while gassing/bubbling at the end of a charge. A single-point watering system will save time by filling all the cells at once.
New forklift batteries can be expensive. Let Southwest Toyota-Lift take care of your batteries. Call Southwest Toyota-Lift today to set up a battery maintenance program for your fleet.