Letter Re: Batteries for Long Term Storage

A note about future trade items. Large conventional lead-acid batteries. They are necessary for starting most vehicles, tractors, etc. They are necessary for off-grid solar electric systems, et cetera. The problem as I see it is – long term storage. Most batteries come filled – and degrade over time regardless if you use them or not. Some companies are willing to sell batteries dry – for long-term storage – but even that comes with a problem. Most batteries offered for sale as “dry” have actually been filled once, charged, and then drained – thus the common term of “dry charged.” These batteries still degrade over time – it’s slower but still happens. For long term battery storage, what is needed is a truly dry battery that has been assembled but never filled or charged. Very few companies sell them this way, but some do on special order.
JD from New York

JWR Replies: If stored “wet” typical automobile and deep cycle batteries will sulfate to the point where they won’t hold a charge after 8 or 9 years. You are correct that the way to avoid this is to store batteries “dry”–sans battery acid. Some of the larger battery distributors including Interstate Batteries will indeed provide truly “dry” batteries on special order. But you are right: that you need to be sure that you are getting batteries than have never been filled with electrolyte. And of course you will need to also procure some carboys of battery acid. Filling batteries has its own set of handling, safety, and storage concerns.

If you do things right, with enough cash you could potentially buy yourself a 30+ year supply of spare batteries for your vehicle(s) and for your alternative home power system. And yes, JD, you are also correct that they will be an awesome barter item.