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Why Does Placing a Car Battery on Concrete Drain It?

Why Does Placing a Car Battery on Concrete Drain It?


Hello I’m Daven Hiskey, you’re watching
the Today I Found Out Youtube channel. In the video today, we’ll finally be answering
one of the more asked questions in our inbox- Why does storing a car battery on a concrete
floor drain it? Contrary to very popular belief (even touted
by many a mechanic), today’s car batteries with their hard plastic shells will not discharge
or otherwise be damaged when placed on a concrete floor. (Of course, the other way around isn’t always
true, with an already damaged battery leaking battery acid on a concrete floor potentially
causing some damage to said concrete. And if you’re curious, see our video: The
Difference Between Concrete and Cement) But don’t take our word for it. To quote Interstate Batteries, “The type of
plastic (polypropylene) used in battery cases is a great electrical insulator. Also, tremendous technological improvements
have been made in the seals around the battery posts and vent systems, which have virtually
eliminated electrolyte seepage and migration. So, it’s OK to set or store your battery on
concrete.” So how did this pervasive myth get started? As with so many such myths, it once had a
basis in fact- a remnant of an era when car batteries were made of different materials. For example, some of the earliest car batteries
were composed of lead-acid contained in glass cells, all encased in a tar-lined wooden box. Placed on a potentially damp surface such
as concrete, the moisture could cause the wood to swell and shift, and the glass cells
to break, damaging the battery. Advancements in battery technology ultimately
led to a nickel-iron battery known as the Edison cell, which was more durable but also
had a downside in its classic form. Encased in steel, an Edison cell battery placed
directly on a concrete floor would discharge more quickly than normal. A subsequent innovation, encasing the battery
in hard rubber, also had its drawbacks, as rubber is both made of carbon and a bit porous. Between the carbon and the pores, together
with moisture and a concrete floor, this could potentially lead to a path for the electricity
to flow, resulting in the battery draining. Today all of these automobile battery-destroying
or current-conducting flaws have been eliminated by using plastic shells around the various
types of battery designs. And the potential problem of damage to the
concrete floor from battery acid leakage has also been mostly mitigated, as previously
noted by Interstate Batteries. However, it is important to note that today’s
batteries will still ultimately be drained just sitting there, just in different ways. For example, if a battery’s terminals are
dirty with a combination of dirt, dust and leaked acid, the filth can potentially create
a circuit between the terminals, draining the cell. This is, of course, easily prevented by cleaning
the top of the battery case before storage. What’s not preventable, however, is the fact
that, as with all batteries, a car battery will self discharge over time due to certain
chemical reactions occurring within the cells. In fact, a discharge rate of 1%-25% per month
for modern lead-acid car batteries without any load is typical, with the two major factors
on discharge rate being temperature and age of the battery. This leads us to another common car battery
myth- that cold weather will increase this self-discharge rate. In fact, the opposite is true- cold weather
slows the self-discharge (via slower chemical reactions) and hot weather speeds it up (via
faster chemical reactions). As Pacific Power Batteries notes, “A battery
stored at 95° F (35° C) will self-discharge twice as fast than one stored at 75° F (23.9°
C).” On top of that, the overall lifespan of the
battery is also diminished when kept in hot weather vs. cold, with lead-acid car batteries
having about a 60% increase in expected lifespan when kept in cold climates instead of tropical
ones according to Pacific Power Batteries. The idea that cold weather is bad for these
types of lead-acid batteries used for automotive purposes most likely derives from the fact
that, in extremely cold weather, a battery may seem drained when one tries to start a
car, with the car potentially cranking slowly or not at all. Assuming the battery was properly charged
before the car was shut off, in most cases this is not because the battery lost its charge
but because, due to the aforementioned slowing of chemical reactions, a cold battery simply
isn’t capable of outputting as many amps to the starter as when it’s warm. An old battery on its last legs may also be
exposed as such in this scenario with its cranking amp ability already diminished with
normal age-related reduction in capacity. On top of that, the problem is (potentially)
made worse by the fact that an extremely cold engine may in some cases take more cranking
amps than normal to turn over- all potentially contributing to people thinking cold weather
is worse for the battery than hot. For reference here, according to Industrial
Battery Products, a typical lead-acid car battery will see about a 50% drop in its normal
cranking amps at -22° F (-30° C) vs. around 75° F (24° C). On the flip-side, that same battery would
see about a 12% increase in cranking amps at 122° F (50° C) vs. 75° F (24° C). Thus, if you were to place a cold lead-acid
battery back in a relatively warm environment, once it warmed up, you’d find its cranking
amps restored and that it actually would have maintained its charge level much better in
the interim while it sat there vs. stored in a hot environment; this is all thanks to
the very same slowing of chemical reactions that reduces the battery’s cranking amp output
ability in colder temperatures. So, in the end, cold storage is ideal for
this type of battery (and many others) if one is interested in extending the battery’s
useful lifespan or otherwise conserving as much energy potential as possible when storing
the battery. Which for most people’s car usage is what
they’re doing with the battery the vast majority of the hours of the day. And if you make sure to get a battery with
a large enough buffer of cranking amps for your particular car (which is generally the
default option anyway), the reduction in cold weather shouldn’t be much of an issue until
the battery is nearing the end of its lifespan. Now, you might at this point be wondering
about extreme cold weather scenarios. The chemical reactions going on in the battery
leading to self-draining continue to slow (and the overall lifespan of the battery continues
to increase) the colder the battery is kept. However, there does come a point when the
water content of the lead-acid batteries may freeze and crack the cell casing. But this physical damage isn’t something most
outside of the coldest environments ever have to deal with. For reference, according to Interstate Batteries,
a fully charged lead-acid car battery shouldn’t have any freezing issues until around -76°
F (-60° C), whereas a fully drained battery will begin to freeze at just 32° F (0° C)-
the lesson here being you definitely want to make sure a car battery being stored in
cold weather areas starts out with at least some charge. And as long as it is charged up, the cold
weather will actually be functioning to extend the car battery’s overall useful lifespan,
not hurting it, as so many think. So thanks for watching this video, if you
liked it, please click that like button below and also consider subscribing if you’re
not already and do check out our archives, we’re creeping up on 700 videos now, so
you’re sure to find something you find interesting, thanks for watching.

Comments (100)

  1. Whoa! He made Rambo seem like a teenager trying to earn Boyscout merit badges!

    It really highlights something about human nature. Even when presented with undeniable facts, we can still come up with reasons to believe otherwise. It is a great strength allowing us to probe for potentially better explanations for observations. (Thinking outside the box…)
    It is a deadly weakness trapping us in denial of reality.

  2. if this it the case then why do my atv motorcycle lawnmower need to be replaced every spring and wont hold a charge stored in a shop that stays 40-50 degrees f all winter

  3. Id take this a lot more seriously if you quoted a better battery company Interstate batteries uses inferior lead in their batteries.

  4. I always heard that the concrete changed the the spesific gravity of the the electrolyte through proximity, a negative field from a large concrete mass caused a sort of hysteresis. Simply placing the battery on a 2×4 is supposed to help. We did a test at a local Auto shop, with 2 new batteries, the one on the floor went below 6v a week sooner.

  5. Not while there are pins on the planet and i have eyes to poke them in

  6. wait,.what?? concrete and cement is a different things??

  7. Pretty good video. BUT No mention of sulfation. A car battery left to sit without use or trickle charge will decrease much faster in performance than a battery in use, contributing to the false perception of battery discharge if left on concrete.

  8. Batteries drain no matter where they are sitting. The battery on concrete thing is a myth. I'm a retired auto tech so I should know this. A dirty battery case will discharge the battery faster than sitting on cement. You can actually measure the voltage loss right off the dirt on the case of the battery. Try it.

  9. I will save you 7min. Todays battery are made of a non conductive plastic. So not matter what surface you set it on, it will not discharge faster. What will affect it, is temperature. Since temperature is simply the measurement of the speed at which the electrons in a atom are moving, slower means colder, faster means warmer, cold will actually slow the discharge of the battery down. Slower moving electrons, means a slower chemical reaction inside the battery, since the chemical reaction is what discharges the battery, it will discharge slower. Faster moving electrons, means faster chemical reaction, which means faster discharge. "But almost all batteries fail when it is cold?" You might say. This is also correct, however not because they are discharged. This slowed chemical reaction, that discharges the battery while it is idle, is also the very same chemical reaction that your battery relies on to make power, when it is needed. So if the amperage that your battery is putting out is low, due to age, or defect in the battery, it would be even more prevalent when that battery is cold.

  10. It is not "NEGATIVE Degrees, it is MINUS Degrees"
    A battery placed on a cooler concrete floor tends to have condensation on the top of it and as a result, a current path. That is why they should not be stored in intimate contact with a Concrete floor. End of story.

  11. Wow! Good job. So many people give out information that is crazy false. You, on the other hand, did well!

  12. My whole life has been a lie…

  13. So why did you channel say not to store batteries in the refrigerator.

  14. Because concrete is made chiefly of water. If electrolyte is leaking all around the batterey it provides a path to ground. Clean the battery or place it on an insulator and you're ok.

  15. Why does this myth exist? Because the majority of people are fuckheads.

  16. it was an interstate battery sales man straightened me out on that 30 years ago

  17. Concrete floors DO NOT drain voltage. I've stored car batteries on concrete for many years. Some go dead after a few months, some stay charged for years. Much like leaving batteries on the metal plate in your car. The plastic the lead plates are incased in is an insulator, thus making any shorting of the battery having to occurs at the post on top of the battery. So a humid day would do WAY more damage, because moisture would be around the post of the battery, instead of what little bit of moisture is in the concrete at the bottom of the battery away from the post, and under the plastic insulator.

  18. As a Certified NACE Technician . (National Association of Corrosion Engineers) and I would have to Disagree with this synopsis . What actually happens is, the DIFFERENCE inTemps leads to a creation of a Cathodic Cell within the battery itself. It has NOTHING to do with leadage or power drainage to the concrete. It is the battery destroying itself from within caused by the Temp Difference between the Ambient Air and the temp of the Concrete which becomes cooler, Faster at night then the battery's internal parts. Look up Effect of temperature Change on a Cathodic Cell. It is NEVER a good idea to store a battery on concrete,,,always put a wooden board underneath.

  19. GREAT work!
    You really did your homework before posting this.
    THANK YOU!

  20. I've deliberately stored my car batteries on concrete just because that myth never did make sense to me. As a bonus, the concrete stays cool when the garage gets hot, keeping the battery cooler!

  21. You didn't answer the God damned question! You asserted that it was false for modern batteries, and then made the rather weak statement that moist concrete might expand the wood and break the glass containers for some kind of antique battery. If so, I would assume that destroying the battery is different from draining it. And what difference would there be between setting the battery on concrete and setting the battery on the ground (moist dirt)? With the Edison cell, you said that it could discharge on the concrete because of its steel case (if I remember correctly). But there was no explanation given as to WHY it would discharge besides glib gibberish about moisture. So if any type of battery could discharge on concrete, then why? What about concrete would discharge a battery from the bottom (not touching the terminals) through the case? It sounds to me like there has NEVER been a case where concrete has discharged a battery. If that's the case, then just say so. Don't make up reasons why it might have in the past.

  22. Do those battery desulfators actually work to desulfate / recover batteries?

  23. Sheesh, take a breath once in a while.

  24. Well, that's weird. I've heard those stories before and I always said it was a hoax, myth or urban legend.
    I know quite a lot about technology, electronics and science. However a standard computer UPS contains a 12V 7Ah Lead-Acid battery. When I installed about 20 identical UPS'es at a school, the result was that after a month there was a major difference in up-time between UPS'es placed on the floor or on a two inch thick block of wood or on top of the desk.

    The UPS'es placed directly on the floor would have an "on"-time for about 5~10 seconds(!) after power goes off (not good, should be 5~10 minutes) while the ones placed on wood or a desk had a lifetime of about 5~7 minutes. The equipment connected to all UPS'es are similar, so not much difference in power drain either.
    After replacing the batteries for the UPS'es on the floor, the same thing happened. In fact much faster than expected. I started testing these UPS'es under load every day. I noticed a major decline in up-time for all UPS'es placed on the floor. And within one to two weeks all UPS'es placed on the floor were dead. When I placed them on a block of wood, the batteries wouldn't charge much and only provided 5~10 seconds up-time. So they were really dead.
    When I replaced the batteries again, this time I placed them all on a 2 inch block of wood.
    Guess what, they lasted fine for about a whole year. After one year they had an up time of 2~4 minutes.

    I have absolutely no scientific explanation for this.
    Your video seem to make sense with all the modern materials used in maintenance free lead acid batteries. However, it still happens… Explain that to me…

  25. correct…a modern battery will not drain from placement on concrete

  26. Dude, you sound gayer than a three dollar bill…

  27. Don't put a car battery on concrete that is grounded as it can explode!

  28. Who are you sir and where do i know you from?

  29. You can save a lot of money by bringing your old batteries back to life and re-using them instead of buying new, overprice batteries. And this method is simple [Check Details Here==>https://docs.google.com/document/d/163kspciMT9QSUlNAvv0MT-ezkqtKCoEIdoxzlystrFQ/edit?usp=sharing ], quick and anybody can do it.

  30. So if your car is old, store it in your living room. Got it. :p

  31. grounding the batttery, a joke.

  32. I remember my job at the gas station…. my jeans didn't last long because the acid ate through the front of them. No hint of it until they were washed.

  33. Next Week::  Why You Can't Run Your Cell Phone From A Battery Chicken

  34. My neighbor in his 50s saw my deep cycle charging on concrete and he told me it wouldn't charge all the way and would leak out its charge. I told him I thought that might be the older batteries that did that, but he said any battery will do it. I didn't argue with him, but my battery is still sitting on concrete right now holding a full charge.

  35. Interesting about the cold weather. I always heard the cold will kill a battery if you don't keep it on a maintainer (or drive the car often if it's in a car). The one dual purpose battery that went bad on me sat in the cold for a while without being charged or maintained, and it would no longer hold a charge. Maybe it was just low on juice and needed topped off…

  36. It doesn't. Fact is by the time it's put on the floor and forgotten about, it discharges over time.

  37. HEAT kills a battery, not COLD. I lived in AZ for 25 years. COLD just slows down the chemical reaction time.

  38. you look evil as shit.

  39. this is a good one

  40. big issue with tesla

  41. again, great with a cupnof coffee

  42. Well, that explains why my bro always had to bring the battery to his 78 Chevy if it dropped below 10f outside. 30 yr old mystery solved.

  43. Well shit, I learned something new.

  44. it doesn't, saved you a ton of time

  45. why did edison batteries with their metal casing drain faster on concrete?

  46. who da fuck this nigga

  47. Daven almost sounds like it could be a first name, and Hiskey almost sounds like it could be a last name.

  48. This quick and easy method, you can have nearly unlimited amounts of battery power …for nearly no cost [Check Details Here==>https://www.facebook.com/Battery-reconditioning-310070329426065/app/208195102528120 ]. Enough to even live off-grid and power all of your devices an electronics! This easy method works for nearly all kinds of old/dead batteries too…

  49. Lead acid batteries have one more temperamental party trick. The longer they are stored in high temperatures, the shorter the lifespan. This is a problem in uninterruptible power supplies as they often use sealed lead acid batteries that are mostly in storage ready for use for weeks or months at a time, and the enclosures do get hot. The closer to 18-20c the cells are, the longer the shelf life will tend to be.

  50. wondering , if you should store a charged battery that is used only in summer, in the fridge
    in the winter months ???

  51. Too white, dislike.

  52. Who the hell is this guy??? Were is my very informative BRIT?? I’m so triggered right now

  53. I was lucky to have thought about researching choices just before I shell out 1000s of dollars for batteries. The reconditioning program [ check Details Here>>>https://t.co/cZGFLO6iV1 ] was heaven sent! Because instead, I was capable of getting old free batteries, recondition them, and have an entire battery bank of almost no cost!

  54. look at that caterpillar go

  55. If the floor is colder than air in the room , you have a difference in temperature in your battery. That is an uncomfortable thing , sometimes the thought , is what counts.

  56. So why do they discharge faster on concrete? It actually does happen. Slower than it used too but will still discharge faster.

  57. i used to hate not getting the familiar bald head we all know and love but you're getting a lot better at videos

  58. who the fuck are you?

  59. I'm so glad I did! I've reconditioned 17 batteries with EZ Battery Reconditioning, even an old car battery I thought was long gone. “Thanks for helping me recondition my batteries [Check Details Here==>http://bit.ly/2pDTMw1 ]. It's such an easy process.

  60. Funny how I've been watching the new guy improve I go through the playlist.

  61. When my dad lived in North Dakota, he had to keep a powered heating pad on his truck's battery to ensure it would start in the mornings in winter.That was decades ago, though, so I'm not sure if this is still necessary to keep the battery functional in extreme cold weather.

  62. Is cold weather just as good for the batteries we have in our portable devices?

  63. where is simon 🙁

  64. I noticed cold made batteries last longer way back when 4 year old me noticed my "dead" game boy worked after I left it in a car outside at night in winter.

  65. discount bald dude with glasses

  66. 2 days in a row -20C couldn't start the car. Warms up to +5 C, starts with no issue.
    CANADA.

  67. There is Still a way —- and if you look far enough you Will find it —-
    for a car battery to self-discharge faster on concrete than on a wooden surface.
    But no one should normally have a reason to keep an unused battery around anyway.

  68. I have never heard about a car battery draining on a concrete floor before. This question has been asked countless times? I always thought car batteries belong in a car not on the concrete floor so iv never had this happen to me so yeah lesson here put the battery in the car. Bam problem solved no need for the vid.

  69. Whiskey hey. Looks like you had to remove the w to be legit lol

  70. This reconditioning plan  ( Check Details Here>>>https://www.facebook.com/Battery-reconditioning-310070329426065/app/208195102528120 ) is incredible. I had been able to bring my laptop batteries and several other kinds of batteries back again with your methods. I followed the steps easily due to the easy guidelines. I have a few more batteries I am going to recondition now also.

  71. It doesn’t lol. Why are you so brain dead .

  72. Still this information doesn't help with winter starting. I just leave the alarm off and it helps a lot.

  73. You heard him! Put your battery in the refrigerator then to your oven before use!!!

  74. Lame bring in simon

  75. Most batteries don't die, they are murdered.

    Another pervasive myth is that batteries are killed most often by overcharging. The exact opposite is true – lead acid batteries left in a discharged state "sulfate" quickly and permanently lose capacity as a result. Deeply discharging a battery makes this much worse, especially automotive batteries which are designed for high-current delivery rather than deep discharge. Leave your lights on and drain the battery completely, and then fail to fully recharge it immediately, and it's lifespan will be dramatically shortened. You might get away with it once or twice depending on how old the battery is and how long you wait to recharge it, but doing so repeatedly will kill the damed thing in short order.

    The same thing will happen if you just let a battery sit without keeping a float charge on it, or occasionally topping it off. I suspect this is why the "Don't store on concrete" myth persists. People leave a perfectly good car battery sitting on the floor of their garage for a couple of years without charging it. Then one day they decide to use it, and find it's dead and wont hold a charge. Well, guess what – it didn't die, you murdered it by not keeping it charged, and the concrete floor had nothing to do with it.

    Deep cycle AGM (absorbed glass matt) batteries are the best lead-acid batteries out there. They have a very low self-discharge rate (about 1%-2% per month) and can be deeply dis-charged hundreds of times without damage, as long as they are re-charged within a reasonable time-frame. They don't leak, never need water, don't off-gas explosive hydrogen, and can even be stored on their side. They require no maintenance other than occasionally topping up with a fresh charge, and if treated properly will last a decade or more. They make great starting batteries as long as they are big enough, and even better back-up / house batteries for off-grid homes, boats and RVs. The downside is their expense – they cost around twice as much as a standard flooded wet cell lead-acid battery, but again, last at least twice as long and are far more reliable and hassle free. The only problem is finding them in suitable automotive sizes, but your battery tray and post terminals can be adapted if you are clever…..

    Either way, when shopping for a car battery, bring a voltmeter and pay close attention to the date of manufacture on the battery. You want to buy the one with the highest resting voltage and most recent date of manufacture.

  76. Interstate makes great car batteries. Even though I knew just from common sense that this must not be true, this myth is so pervasive that I've never heard anyone question it. Even knowing it doesn't drain them, I still get an uneasy feeling just setting it on the floor. It's so illogical, but hard to shake that feeling.

  77. It's nice you all are the few that show Fahrenheit and celcius rather than just of 1 of the 2 ,that in itself gets a like 👍

  78. Ready to learn more fun facts? Then check out this video and find out about 10 Minute NFL Games… and 6 other Sports Facts:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETqA33w8Vdg

  79. Partly true. A concrete floor will sweat with changes in temperature. A lead battery has a high density so will also sweat especially since it would usually be setting on the floor. When the temperature rises in the daytime the cooler battery will condense moisture. usually a battery will have some Sulfuric acid acid around the terminals and the vents (filler ports) which will be conductive when wet and discharge the battery. Plastic cases help but not that much compared yo the old hard rubber cases. So… It will be best when a battery is placed on a concrete floor put a piece of wood etc under it so the temperature will be more near the ambient and less likely to condense moisture.

  80. Buyin scrap iron, ole battery buyin

  81. Can you answer my question?
    Why can’t I get a boner?

  82. extremely OLD SCHOOL myth ….

  83. So heat is bad for a battery and yet where is it placed in a car? Right next to the engine, A large steel block the burns fuel and gets very hot. Sounds smart.

  84. better than wistler

  85. I hate polypropylene. We coat it on our Honda brake and fuel lines. Actually, if you've owned a 2018 or newer Honda Accord I probably made the brake lines for it. That's kinda crazy now that I think about it.

  86. 1. What are some common myths associated with batteries?

    Storing a battery on concrete will discharge it quicker-
    Long ago, when battery cases were made out of natural rubber, this was true. Now, however, battery cases are made of polypropylene or other modern materials that allow a battery to be stored anywhere. A battery’s rate of discharge is affected by its construction, its age, and the ambient temperature. The main issue with storing on concrete is that if the battery leaks, the concrete will be damaged.

    Source – https://www.trojanbattery.com/tech-support/faq/

  87. I've been binge watching this channel (and the two others) I've never seen daven finally can put a face to a name xx
    Keep up the amazing work guys xxx

  88. where’s british vsauce

  89. I wondered about this and tested it myself about 20 years ago. I always stored batteries on a wooden shelf. One day I decided to test whether sitting on a concrete garage floor would ruin the battery. So I put a known good battery on the floor and tested it every day. After a week or so there was no deterioration. Then I forgot about it for a couple of weeks. When I came back it was dead as hell, and refused to take a charge. So 3 weeks on a concrete floor ruined a good battery. Since then I always store batteries on a wooden shelf, and my batteries last 5 years or more. I have a friend who thinks I am foolish to believe old wive's tales. He keeps his spare batteries on the floor, and he buys a new battery at least once a year.
    So go ahead and leave your battery on a concrete floor. If it goes dead after a month, it wasn't because of bad storage. The guys who sell you batteries say so lol.

  90. When I lived in Northern Alberta it got down to -40 degrees. If our work trucks didn't have the oil heater plugged in overnight they wouldn't start in the morning.

  91. id never heard of this myth before. not completely pervasive.

  92. This is why capacitors are something we should be implementing into ICE engine starting systems.

  93. I took a battery back to O’Reilly today as it was dead (6V). They charged it five days ago and told me it was dead today because I’d left it on the garage floor before installing it today. It’s the third time it died, so they were great and replaced it under the warranty. Their free test and charging service is excellent, but it seems they may need to watch this video. The video also cleared up some misconceptions I had. Thanks!

  94. Lead-acid? Lead is not much used in batteries anymore.
    And cold weather can reduce the charge capacity when using it.. That's messurable. But it does have something to say what kind of battery it is.

  95. Used to use forklifts with 1200lbs batteries, much of that weight was the 1/4'' steel casing. Those we did not keep on the concrete floor.

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