Batteries, much like anything else that is manufactured, degrade over time and eventually become unusable. But taking care of your laptop battery while it is still relatively new will certainly reward you with years of efficiency and productivity when using your laptop. So if you are asking “What can I do to keep my batteries longer?”, here are some useful tips you should start applying now.
(Note: This applies only to Lithium-ion batteries which is very much what most laptop batteries are made of)
1. Avoid discharging your laptop completely after charging it. Most times, it is best to keep the battery level of your PC between 40 percent and 80 percent. Discharging a laptop to a cut-off point (0%) can destroy battery cells. Therefore, it is safer to set a healthy limit (15% – 20%) at which your laptop will display the low battery alert so you can either stop working and turn off the PC or plug into an AC power outlet. Most manufacturers already set the battery alert values before shipping their products. But if you want to change the values, click Start on your desktop, type power, and select Power Options. Click any one of the Change plan settings links, then the Change advanced power settings In the resulting dialog box, scroll down to and expand the Battery option, and then you will see the preset values for battery alerts.
Also when charging your laptop battery for the first time, you should make sure to fully charge it once, to calibrate it. But after that, aim to keep it between 40 and 80 percent as said earlier.
2. Make sure that your laptop doesn’t get too hot. Overheating is the most critical factor when it comes to the prolonged life of a battery. The problem most times is that the CPU, the graphics card, and the hard disk also heat up your laptop, and results in the temperature increase experienced when charging the battery. So If you notice that your laptop is overheating, unplug it from the power source, then save your work and turn off the laptop and give it some time to cool down. Also, if your laptop has got a removable battery and you wish to use your laptop for an extended period, you can remove the battery from the socket and make use of AC power. Although recent laptops can optimize their charging cycle so that when the charge level reaches 100% the battery stops receiving charging energy and the energy is then bypassed directly to the power supply system of the laptop.
(NB: Do not remove the battery while the computer is on, or even in standby or sleep mode; doing so will crash your system and possibly damage your hardware. Even inserting a battery into a running laptop can damage the system. So only remove or reinsert the battery when the laptop is completely off or hibernating).
3. Make sure the laptop’s ventilation is working properly. Don’t place objects before the ventilation vents. Always use your laptop on a hard surface. Don’t put it on your lap (despite its name) or on thermal insulating materials such as cushions. If you like to work in bed with your laptop, you can use a book to give your PC some clearance from the bed for proper aeration. Also, make sure your laptop is turned off properly before putting it in a bag, case or any enclosure to prevent overheating.
4. Optimize your power settings so your laptop does not discharge quickly when in use. You should switch to a power saving power plan and turn on battery saver (if your PC supports this). You can also dim the display, toggle off unneeded hardware like Bluetooth, and if you’re not using the internet, turn off your Wi-Fi receiver as well. You should also reduce use of stuff like external mouse or other peripheral devices. And also muting the PC’s sound system not only saves power, it also avoids annoying everyone else around you.
5. Take care of your battery – Exercise the Battery. Do not leave a charged battery dormant for long periods of time. Once charged, you should use the battery at least once every two to three weeks. That is if you’re not a heavy user. You should also fully charge and discharge your computer’s battery at least once a month to keep it healthy.