In this blog, we will discuss how to handle and dispose of swollen or damaged batteries and what causes them to swell in the first place. We will also talk about how to handle them safely.
Battery technology and causes
The Lithium-Ion and Polymer technology is a multi-layer battery that has become the standard in laptops in recent years due to its lightness and efficiency.
However, the battery can swell due to its thin housing and design. This can be caused by many factors including heat damage, age, and usage pattern.
Previous lithium-ion cells were made using cylindrical or rectangular cells in a rigid case but this design was heavy, bulky, and less efficient.
The risk of a lithium-ion and Polymer battery swelling is low but swelling has been an issue for most laptop and phone manufacturers over recent years.
Lithium-Ion Polymer batteries can also be damaged by heat, this can be prevented by keeping the vents clear on the laptop, avoid using the laptop on soft furnishings as this will limit airflow within the laptop and suck up any dust on the material. This can lead to a build-up of heat cause the battery to release gas and swell.
If you are a heavy user or laptop gamer, it may be worth investing in a cooling pad for your laptop.
If you have a swollen battery it needs to be replaced as soon as possible it can cause your keyboard to lift and in extreme cases damage your laptop beyond economic repair.
Dell recommends replacing your battery every 18 months, however, with correct usage the battery can live a lot longer.
The usage pattern is another factor that can damage the battery. You shouldn't allow the battery to drop below 20% too often as it will count as what's called a cycle count. Each battery has a limited number of cycle counts and a full charge and discharge will cause more wear to the battery.
Dell state a swollen battery does not pose a safety issue but can cause damage as stated above. If you have a swollen battery it should be removed and replaced as soon as possible.
Signs that you may have a swollen battery include:
- Lifting of the palm rest, touchpad, or keyboard
- Base place bulging causing the laptop to rock when on a flat surface
- separation of the casing
How to handle and dispose of a damaged or swollen Battery
- If it is possible, discharge the battery to 0%
- Take caution not to damage the battery when removing it from the laptop
- Do not apply pressure to the battery
- Do not bend the battery
- It is recommended you cover the connection with insulated tape.
Do not send a damaged battery by post or courier
Take the battery to your local approved recycling centre. For more information please go to our "Recycling your batteries" page.