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Hazardous Materials & Chemicals Emergency Supplies

Why Do Alkaline Batteries Leak? Here’s How To Prevent It.

Batteries will be one of the only power sources left when the world ends. Plus, most of the modern world uses them to do everyday tasks.

But alkaline batteries leak, putting us and the environment at risk

Let’s look at why batteries leak and how you can reduce the chances of injury or harm.

Why do alkaline batteries leak?

It is a battery’s job to release power to power things. When it does, it releases chemicals inside that create a dangerous gas. 

As it builds up inside, the battery is at risk of rupturing.  

How to Prevent Batteries from Leaking

Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do to prevent a battery from leaking, but sometimes there is.

Avoid Skimping on Batteries

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Cheap batteries are dangerous because they are made of low-quality materials and sub-par manufacturing. Saving a few cents isn’t worth taking the chance of them leaking or exploding.

For instance, emergency to-go kits (and radios) must have batteries that will last. You don’t want to be caught in the dark because of a misfit battery.

Avoid Mix and Matching Batteries

Sometimes you have one of one brand of battery and one of another. 

If you put an old battery in with a new one, you’re adding a higher density of chemicals to a volatile battery situation.

Mixing and matching battery brands can lead to leaks, explosions, and a whole array of other problems.

Are there alkaline batteries that don’t leak?

Energizer AAA Batteries, Max Triple A Max Battery Alkaline, 24 Count

While you can’t guarantee a battery won’t leak, the Energizer MAX has a no-leak guarantee.

Energizer will replace or repair the batteries if they fail within the first two years.

Pull the Batteries Out

Don’t leave batteries in things you don’t use. They not only leak, but they can also damage the device they’re in.

For instance, you use your phone as a remote and have no use for the portable one that came with the TV. Before you toss it in a closet, pull the batteries out.

Storage and Shelf Life

Store your batteries in a dry spot that stays at room temperature. And, you don’t want to keep around those that have outlasted battery shelf life because they become unstable and begin to degrade.

Rotate the batteries in your emergency kit (especially your car kit) to avoid them leaking or exploding.

Why do so many Duracell batteries leak?

All batteries are capable of leaking when left in a device or expired. The chemical combination that powers batteries will build up until the case leaks or implodes. 

Duracell batteries are specifically made to prevent chemicals from having space to build up and cause a dangerous situation. In contrast, a lead-acid battery can explode.

Always safely dispose of leaking batteries and those past their expiration date. 

If a battery leaks before the expiration, it’s a manufacturer error, and as a consumer, it is your right to report it.

Put the Batteries in Right

For the most part, people put batteries in the right way most of the time. But, sometimes, they do act finicky, and we force them into the device.

Of course, ensure the battery’s plus and minus terminals and the batteries. 99% of all things won’t work if they are put in wrong, but it never hurts to double-check.

What leaks out of the batteries?

The majority of batteries have the same four chemicals – potassium hydroxide, zinc, and manganese dioxide. But what actually squeezes through the cracks?

Most commonly, potassium hydroxide is what leaks. It’s highly corrosive, dangerous, and causes skin irritation and breathing issues if inhaled.

Battery Acid Is Harmful

Potassium hydroxide is a hazardous material that can lead to big problems if not adequately contained.

  • A leaky battery will destroy your phone or other devices.
  • Battery acid to the eye or skin surface will cause severe damage.
  • Potassium hydroxide is terrible for the environment.

What happens if I touch a leaking battery?

A lot is happening inside the battery, and electricity is one of them. You face a two-fold hazard when touching an alkaline battery that is leaking – burns and electric shock.

A battery’s liquid electrolyte can leak and react with the air around it and become conductive outside of the safety of a casing. 

By touching it, you are now one of the two terminals, and the reaction is enough to kill you by lethal shock. 

And the acid it produces can damage skin, eyes, and lungs.

How do I treat a battery acid burn?

Battery acid leaks are a life-threatening situation. It can lead to severe injury to the eyes, lungs, and skin. 

  • You will want to rinse all affected areas immediately with water. DO NOT use any other liquid or soap.
  • If it’s gotten into your eye, flush your eyeholes for at least 15 minutes and seek medical attention ASAP.
  • Respiratory tract injury caused by an alkaline battery leak demands immediate medical attention.

How do I dispose of a leaking alkaline battery?

Corroded batteries require careful disposal. You don’t want to keep them around your home, even in the garage. But you don’t want just to toss them into the garbage.

  • Contact the local municipality or trash/recycling pickup to ask about battery disposal guidelines.
  • Put the leaking batteries in a ziplock bag.
  • Safely dispose of the plastic-wrapped batteries in the trash or drop them off for recycling.

How do I stop my alkaline battery from leaking?

  1. Cheap batteries are mostly lousy quality.
  2. Don’t mix and match battery brands.
  3. Take them out of devices when they’re not in use.
  4. Check battery expiration dates and rotate them out regularly.
  5. Install batteries per device instructions.

FAQs

Is alkaline battery leak toxic?

Potassium hydroxide is a caustic agent, which means it is indeed a toxic substance. It will lead to respiratory, eye, and skin irritation and injury.

Does Duracell offer a leak warranty?

Duracell is one of only a few brands offering limited warranties on batteries malfunctioning due to defects. They will replace or repair it during the warranty period.

You will want to keep receipts to confirm the purchase date.