Tech Corner August 2023 | Why is my old battery ‘Swollen’

Tech Corner:  August 2023

Topic:  Why is my old battery “Swollen”


In the world of the mobile and “smart” ready device, we are always dependent on the remaining battery power and looking for our closest recharge or plug in adapter.  How else can we survive now adays if our battery is below 10%?


Have you noticed that over time your battery starts holding less and less of a charge, or notice that the bottom of your laptop or cell phone cover seems to be separating?


According to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety report, more than 25,000 overheating or fire incidents have been reported over a 5-year period, involving more than 400 types of lithium battery powered products.


Batteries contain rechargeable cells that are charged to create what we know as “percentage” of remaining battery power.  Each cell within a battery is responsible for holding a value of that 100% charge.  As batteries begin to die or get older, those cells begin depleting faster than normal, skipping over dead cells, or even worse, the battery begins having “swollen” areas like a pillow.


It’s important to replace batteries that no longer hold a charge or seem to be getting “warmer” than they used to.  Many devices are equipped with thermostat capability to warn you when your device has become too hot and needs a “cool off” period.  These batteries often being to swell up with excessive heat or wear and tear and can quickly go from a battery not holding a charge to a major fire hazard.


As the battery continues to age, the chemical reactions within the battery that typically produce “power” start malfunctioning and the membranes and internal layers of the battery start to separate and create “swelling.”  If you notice that you have a device with a battery bulging or case that’s separating, it’s crucially important to unplug this device, turn it off, and send it in for service.  Do not store these devices in hot or warm environments and try to keep them as cool as possible until you are able to have them serviced.


This tech corner is not meant to scare you away from using your battery powered devices, but to create a sense of awareness to be on the lookout for changes in your device or noticeable battery swelling.  Be safe and enjoy!