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Old 01-03-2013, 02:08 PM   #1
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charging flooded cell in a basement?


I know this is not electric related specifically, but I thought this was a good forum to ask--

I have a friend who is installing one of those Basement Watchdog sump pump's with a battery backup.

I was very surprised to see that they use a flooded cell battery--it was always my understanding that those types of batteries should never be charged in an enclosed space, especially indoors, due to the potential for hydrogen build up and explosion.

I pointed this out to my friend and he started to read the instructions, with what I think are some almost comical suggestions from them like--"fan the battery with a piece of cardboard to disperse hydrogen"...

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Is it safe, or questionable? He's got a 90% finished basement (raised ranch) and this will be getting installed in the 10% that is unfinished and houses his oil furnace and water heater--i.e. appliances with flame and spark! )

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Old 01-03-2013, 02:24 PM   #2
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charging flooded cell in a basement?


Ayuh,.... In my experience with batteries, I think it's a problem in yer mind, but not in the real world...

While batteries do gas off while chargin', it ain't that much gas...

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Old 01-03-2013, 03:14 PM   #3
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charging flooded cell in a basement?


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Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,.... In my experience with batteries, I think it's a problem in yer mind, but not in the real world...

While batteries do gas off while chargin', it ain't that much gas...
Can't be any worse than what comes out of me......

With that said....if the basement is air tight....yes, you could have a problem. But as long as there is some air exchange, the hydrogen gas venting should be a minimum.

Note....he needs to make sure he uses the right charger....he does not want one that charges the battery so much that it starts to boil....the battery won't last long.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:51 PM   #4
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charging flooded cell in a basement?


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he needs to make sure he uses the right charger....he does not want one that charges the battery so much that it starts to boil....the battery won't last long.
This is a "system", so it's a matched charger, pump and battery. It looks like this particular version of the system will only charge at a rate of 500mA-1A, so not too bad, I suppose the chance of boiling or out gassing very much will be low. They have a larger system, called "Big Dog" (or something) that I see has a 20A charging rate. I don't know what battery they specify for that, might be a sealed type. There must be tens of thousands, if not more, of these systems out there operating... so I'm guessing it's reasonably safe or would be recalled...

I have my own cobbled setup--A large deep cycle battery connected to an inverter. When I need to top off the battery every few months, or re-charge after an outage, I will manually take the battery outside and charge it.

Having been indirect witness to an exploding car battery, I would imagine an explosion inside of a 5'x10' furnace room could be pretty bad, particularly if a person happens to be in there working when it happens. Both my friends system, and my cobbled system, have the battery stored inside a battery box--so at least that minimized the potential destruction as long as the cover is on whenever final connections are made.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:13 PM   #5
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charging flooded cell in a basement?


5' x 10'? Thats pretty small......

I've had a battery explode near me.....we were lucky....it just cracked the case.....no one was hurt....I've 'heard' of worse.

The battery box is a good idea.
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