March 16, 2022

5 Things to Know About Batteries Used in Automated Floor Cleaning Equipment

With some basic information, you can keep your equipment running, avoid unnecessary downtime, and keep your cleaning team on track with the daily cleaning checklist, all the while maintaining a safer space for clients and your team.

1--How Long Do Floor Cleaning Machine Batteries Last?

Knowing how to care for batteries used in commercial floor cleaning equipment goes hand in hand with how long the batteries will last and how long they will operate at 100% power. Over time, batteries lose their ability to completely recharge, but this can be extended in some cases with proper care.

The life of batteries used in floor scrubbers and sweepers depends on a few things:

  • Following manufacturers' instructions
  • The type of battery installed in the scrubber or sweeper
  • Proper care and maintenance

Floor scrubbers and sweepers are designed to work with specific types of batteries so making sure you are using the correct type of battery is key!

Therefore, starting with manufacturers guidelines is always the safest way to get started with battery knowledge and maintenance.

Floor Cleaning Machine Battery Type & Proper Maintenance

Lead Acid Batteries

Wet flooded lead acid batteries require more maintenance than other lead acid battery types because the plates need to be submerged in an electrolyte and water mixture, as this process produces power.

Refilling this mixture should happen weekly and the plates must be covered with distilled water before charging and after charging—however, the electrolyte can expand during the charging period, so it is important to add the proper amount of distilled water to avoid over-flowing. Overflowing can damage the equipment and be potentially harmful to users.

It is also important to note that water must be distilled to keep the battery working correctly.

AGM and GEL Lead Acid Batteries

AGM and gel lead acid batteries are both considered to be “low” maintenance batteries as they do not need water added to the cells.

The best way to maintain them is through proper charging.

Lithium-ion Batteries

image of lithium-ion battery

Lithium-ion batteries are also considered “low” maintenance as there is no adding water, or periodic discharging. The best way to prolong the life of lithium-ion batteries is also through proper charging techniques.

They can be sensitive to heat due to the movement of lithium-ions, so it is best to store them in cool, dry, places.

Proper Battery Care During Machine Downtime

Prolonged downtime can reduce the life of all batteries after a certain period.

“In the worst cases, 7-10 days may already be enough to kill a battery, depending on the charging level before it was left idle and the cleaning machine it might have been connected to.”

If batteries have a prolonged idle time, it is important to make sure they are fully charged and unplugged from any equipment and leaving them plugged in at the charging station is suggested. This way, if power is turned off, and then back on, the battery can immediately start charging again.

Some batteries may be able to last up to three months sitting idle if the battery had been fully charged prior to the downtime, but again, it depends on the type and usage of the battery.

A sure-fire way to kill the battery is leaving it plugged into equipment while sitting idle, this is not advised.

2-How To Charge Commercial Floor Cleaning Machine Batteries

Proper charging techniques are one of the most important ways to sustain and prolong battery life.

Charging Lead Acid Batteries

Industry guidelines suggest lead acid batteries should be charged after each use of 20 minutes or more. The battery must be fully charged before using it again and for this reason charging overnight can be good to build into your routine.

It is also important to make sure AGM and GEL batteries are kept with their specific charger as GEL batteries are sensitive and have charging stations designed specifically for the gel-like substance.

Unless specifically stated, most lead acid batteries cannot be opportunity charged.

Opportunity charging means plugging the battery in to charge for a small amount of time when the opportunity arises, and the battery does not have to charge to 100% to be used again. This can shorten the life of lead acid batteries and should be avoided.

Lastly, do not over charge lead acid batteries: it is recommended that these batteries not be charged more than once in a 24-hour period.

Charging Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are some of the fastest charging batteries on the market and the longest lasting.

The charge/ discharge cycle of lithium-ion batteries is between 2000-5000 cycles (depending on the battery) compared to 200-500 cycles for lead acid batteries—this can equal up to 6-7 years of machine usage with one battery at 100% charge.

Plus, lithium-ion batteries can be opportunity charged giving cleaning professionals more flexibility in their floor cleaning schedule. For these reasons, lithium-ion batteries are gaining popularity with manufacturers of floor cleaning machines.

3-How Much Do Floor Cleaning Machine Batteries Cost?

The cost of batteries is dependent on the type, size, and manufacturer: In an interview for ISSA and Cleanfax.com, Tom Coyne, Sales Director at Battery Service Hub, says :

“The costs for a new battery [are] between $375-$3,750 (300-3,000 GBP) depending on size and type.”

Important things to note when figuring out initial costs are the expected life of the battery, number of charges, and disposal. Even though a battery may have a lower price point initially, the long-term care, durability, and disposal of the equipment could end up costing more than a battery that costs more upfront.

For example, lithium-ion Batteries are some of the most expensive batteries on the market but, due to the length of their charge cycles, they do not need to be replaced as often, and there is zero maintenance involved—thus they can be more cost effective overall.

4-Floor Cleaning Equipment Battery Safety

It is important to read all the manufacturer's instructions and suggestions for proper care and maintenance to ensure staff and equipment operators stay safe.

Again, making sure you have the correct battery for your floor cleaning machine is an important first step of safe operation.

Other key steps according to Cleaning Maintenance Management are:

  • Never add “acid” to any battery
  • Charge batteries in well-ventilated, temperature controlled, and open spaces
  • Wear Personal Protective Equipment when handling batteries
  • Never store or bring near open flames, gases, or flammable materials

arial view of lithium-ion battery inside a floor cleaning machine. The hood of the machine is lifted to see inside of the equipment

5-How Do Floor Cleaning Equipment Batteries Impact ROI?

walk-behind floor scrubber placed inside a very clean school cafeteria

Building a consistent battery maintenance plan into your cleaning business routine can go a long way when it comes to keeping your cleaning team focused on the job.

Proper charging can not only reduce downtime, keeping employees working longer, but it can also extend the life of the battery, which can help you control variable costs.

When you and your team focus on safe and correct battery maintenance and replacement costs, you can increase uptime, reduce the risk of injury to your staff or anyone in the facility, and reduce costs associated with running your floor cleaning equipment. Doing these things can have a positive effect on your business ROI.

Battery maintenance and care for floor cleaning machines can have a substantial impact on your cleaning business.

Feel free to reach out to our Service Team at any time, we are here to help!

Related Posts

close up photo of a lithium-ion battery

Why You Should Use Cleaning Equipment with Lithium-ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries save cleaning teams time, are safer for employees, and have a lower total cost of ownership.

Read MoreRight Arrow
ICE Cobotics iS1100L+C pictured in front of long wall of windows at a convention center

Why You Need to Upgrade to ICE Cobotics Intelligent Cleaning Equipment

ICE Cobotics Intelligent Cleaning Equipment is offered through a subscription, making equipment monitoring and maintenance easier and more predictable.

Read MoreRight Arrow
two coworkers shaking hands over a desk in an office

How Human Resources Can Help Make Your Business a Healthier Place

Bringing Human Resources into important building and maintenance decision-making, including cleaning machine decisions, can positively impact business.

Read MoreRight Arrow

Related Posts

0103
close up photo of a lithium-ion battery

Why You Should Use Cleaning Equipment with Lithium-ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries save cleaning teams time, are safer for employees, and have a lower total cost of ownership.

Read MoreRight Arrow
ICE Cobotics iS1100L+C pictured in front of long wall of windows at a convention center

Why You Need to Upgrade to ICE Cobotics Intelligent Cleaning Equipment

ICE Cobotics Intelligent Cleaning Equipment is offered through a subscription, making equipment monitoring and maintenance easier and more predictable.

Read MoreRight Arrow