Battery swelling is a very common problem with laptop batteries and can lead to your laptop not working correctly. If that happens, you’ll need to know how to prevent it.
Depending on what you’re doing, your laptop battery may be doing a lot of heavy lifting. It’s not easy to know if your laptop battery is about to die.
If you are like me, who do lots of work on laptops, your battery will eventually become so heavy that it may swell up.
There are several things you can do to avoid laptop battery swelling. And it is essential to keep an eye out for some of these warning signs.
In this guide, you will know to prevent laptop battery swelling. Also, what is the cause and sign of the swollen battery?
So, let’s get started.
Why do batteries swell
A laptop battery can swell due to several factors, but the most likely cause is a manufacturing defect. If there is a failure in lithium batteries or lithium polymer batteries, the charging process will cause a small amount of gas to build up in the sealed chamber. Over time, that gas will cause the battery to become swell.
Some other causes of battery swelling:
- Using cheap charger
- Physical damage to your device
- Exposure to high temperatures
How do you know that the battery is swollen
If the laptop changes its size, the swollen battery is the reason. A swollen laptop battery causes most laptops to change shape. After some time, the distortion grew more and became easily noticeable. This is a common sign when the laptop battery swells. Some other signs are:
- Feel uneven or bumpy on the laptop.
- Excessive heat.
- Quick drain battery.
- Touchpad issue
What is a swollen battery
The vast majority of portable electronic devices, including laptops, smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and fitness trackers, are powered by lithium-ion batteries. When it comes to compact batteries, these are great. These batteries used in MacBooks, Kindles, and many other portable devices have high energy densities, low self-discharge, and minimal memory effect—all of which make them well-suited.
Unfortunately, the energy density of lithium-ion batteries comes with a cost. Although lithium is cheaper and more readily available than other options (like cadmium), the lithium-ion battery is less stable and sensitive to high temperatures. Lithium, which makes up half of a cell’s electrolyte, is more reactive than the compounds used in previous cells and can increase the chance of a short circuit. The lithium-ion battery also uses a very thin partition between its anodes and cathodes, as well as a thin metal casing that’s sandwiched between two sheets of plastic.
When lithium-ion batteries get too hot, overcharged, or fail due to being in use for too long, the internal battery cells may release an explosive mixture of electrolytes. When the battery gets swelling, as a safety measure, batteries contain a vent that releases gas in the event of overheating to prevent a fire.
If the swelling is minor, you will notice that something is wrong with your device: the back will be slightly distorted, the frame of your Kindle could have an unusual opening, or perhaps the touchpad of your laptop seems a bit stiff.
Although the difference is not dramatic, the small battery has a clear flaw, and the center of the battery has swelled to 150-200% the size of a healthy battery, and the cover can no longer be closed.
At the other extreme, there have been cases where a battery has swollen to the point that it breaks the device’s casing. As shown below, the battery of this MacBook caused such a powerful force that it pulled the touchpad out of position.
Before you panic, we want to emphasize that most lithium-ion batteries are safe. There are multiple safety measures built into them (such as protection circuits that are not overcharged, temperature gauges, among others). Although the batteries have failed, they did not explode in flames. The security measure worked, and no one was injured.
Let’s look at how to remove and dispose of a swollen battery and what you can do to prevent swelling.
How to remove and dispose of swollen batteries
Although lithium-ion batteries generally do not fail catastrophically, causing harm to everyone, they should still be treated with the respect given to potentially explosive objects.
Do not charge or use the device
Once you notice that the battery is swollen or compromised in any way, you should stop using the device immediately. You must turn it off, and above all, they should never be charged. When the battery has begun to swell, it should be replaced immediately because safety systems in the battery have ceased to function. Charging a swollen battery is asking it to transform into an explosive fireball that will release harmful gas into your living room.
Remove the battery
When removing a swollen battery, it is essential to work carefully and avoid creating additional problems by compressing the battery or compromising its outer coating. If you pierce the outer layer of the battery, you will have a hard time because the compounds inside the battery will react with oxygen and moisture in the air.
If your device is the type that can be easily opened to remove the battery, then it is best to do so: it will prevent the battery from causing damage to your device and from being punctured by contact with a pointed part.
After you have removed the battery, you must immediately perform two tasks. The first is to insulate the battery contacts (if exposed) with electrical tape. Second, you must store the battery in a cool and dry place. Do not store the battery near any flammable objects, such as gasoline. Do not store it in a car or other hot environment. Before discarding it, take the battery to an authorized disposal site.
Removing the swollen battery may be difficult if you can’t get access to it. If your device is not meant to be taken apart, or if you cannot remove the battery without breaking the seals on the case, I suggest taking your laptop to a repair center. A technician equipped with the proper tools will help you open your device and remove the swollen lithium ion battery.
Dispose of the battery at an authorized recycling center
Batteries should not be thrown away, regardless of whether they are damaged or not. Because the battery is the kind of environmental hazard you don’t want to land on landfills, even a brand-new lithium-ion battery can be a latent fire hazard if it gets damaged inside your house or the garbage truck. The risk of home fires is high; according to fire.org, every year, thousands of people die in residential fires.
Batteries should never be thrown away in trash cans, as several recycling centers accept lithium-ion batteries. When disposing of them, we recommend calling in advance to find out if the recycling center accepts damaged batteries and to verify the protocol for taking the battery. Don’t just throw the battery into a recycling can.
How to prevent laptop battery swelling
You can prevent battery swelling by following some precautions. While it is impossible to eliminate the risk of a factory defect, most swollen laptop batteries are caused by mistreatment at the hands of their respective owners.
You can reduce the risk by following these steps to ensure that your laptop battery lasts as long as possible.
1. Keep your battery cool and dry
Lithium-ion batteries do not function well in extreme heat. To prolong their life, store your laptop in a cool, dry place when you are not using it. When you are not using your devices, remove the battery if possible. Leaving your laptop in an enclosed space, such as a hot car, can cause the battery to overheat and render it useless.
2. Use a good quality charger
When it comes to the power source for your laptop computer, time and time again, you get what you pay for. If your laptop’s battery gets broken or malfunctioning, it may be due to an inferior charger that overcharges.
To protect your investment in a high-quality laptop and battery, purchase only a genuine manufacturer’s charger or replacement unit. You’ll save money in the long run because the genuine parts will last longer than cheap imitations.
Please don’t use a cheap, quality laptop charger because it damages your battery.
3. Replace old batteries
It would be best to replace your battery with a new one when it doesn’t hold a solid charge. Analyze the cause of the battery’s failure before replacing it. For example, if you originally got 6 hours of battery life and now you only get less than 30 minutes, that is a sign that your battery needs to be replaced.
Replacing a battery can give you more hours of life from an older battery, which is safer than using the old one until it dies.
4. Please don’t leave it plugged-in
You don’t need to plug in your laptop for charging continuously. It’s not suitable for the battery; it draws in extra heat, and your battery may get swell. That does not mean you can’t leave your laptop connected during a long work session, but you do not need to have it plugged in every day.
5. Buy a new battery from reputable manufacturers
When buying a new battery, please buy it from reputable manufacturers. In general, it is better to buy a replacement from the original manufacturer of the laptop than the cheaper compatible option from a third party.
Can you fix a swollen laptop battery?
It is advisable to replace a swollen battery because can no longer workell and can even be dangerous. Batteries function best when charged slowly and discharged at the same rate. Batteries should be used when temperatures are moderate.
Is a swollen battery dangerous?
Yes, a swollen battery can cause severe damage to a laptop and lead to the device’s failure. The risk is particularly severe in extreme situations: the laptop could catch fire. Usually, this means the device is irretrievably destroyed. In addition, the fire could spread, which you would like to avoid.
Preventing swollen laptop batteries is a critical step in ensuring that your battery lasts. It isn’t that hard to prevent overly swollen batteries, but it does take some attention, in the beginning, to determine how your battery is going to be used.
By taking steps to prevent the swelling of your laptop battery, you will maximize the performance and lifespan of your battery.