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Old 02-24-2008, 11:36 AM
 
175 posts, read 935,783 times
Reputation: 151

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Ok, you will think this is a tale, but I assure you it is true.

My husband charges his golf cart in the garage. In doing so, the battery acid has spilled onto the floor of the garage. I've put those drip pans underneath, but of course, it eats thru them as well. Bottom line, we are down to the dirt, literally. Without pouring fresh cement, does anyone know what else to do here? A friend suggested a sheet of steel to place underneath it. Will battery acid eat thru that? Could this be compromising the structural intregity of the house?
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:49 AM
 
28,105 posts, read 63,315,968 times
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Default Dangerous Condition!!! Use Plastic or Glass, not Metal...

You can buy 2' x 3' plastic trays for mixing mortar and such at Home Depot. Even a large Pyrex casserole dish would work to prevent the acid from getting on the concrete.

In the Old Days... back the the teens and twenties, batteries were charged on a wooden bench or on a block of wood. The wood absorbs spilled acid.

Acid will dissolve any type of concrete.

I think the real problem is your battery charger is "Cooking" your batteries. Modern Batteries and Modern "Float" Chargers should never "Boil" a battery.

Find out why it is happening... in the meantime make sure you have plenty of ventilation for two reasons... "Cooking" a battery produces Hydrogen Gas witch is very explosive and the vapors are harmful if inhaled and to your skin and eyes.
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:38 PM
 
11,944 posts, read 14,708,685 times
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Batteries aren't meant to be forever leaking. You're losing in so many ways by allowing this to continue. Get to the bottom of why it's leaking and spend your money there.
Ultrarunner is spot on about hazards here. Batteries being charged need ventilation that your garage might not be providing, and tying this into your home (is this an attached garage?) could be more dangerous than you're aware.
check out this link:
OSH Answers: Batteries
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:48 PM
 
175 posts, read 935,783 times
Reputation: 151
Oh Lordy! I had no idea!

That golf cart is 1 year old.....I suspect my husband is just filling it with water like he did with the old one. I'll get the instruction manual out....and ask my husband.

So are you telling me that while acid with dissolve any type of concrete, it will not dissolve plastic or glass? I don't want to be stupid here, I just want to make sure I understand. What happens when it hits metal?

The area I need to cover is about 10 feet X 10 feet. Really...
If Home Depot doesn't have something that large, do you have any idea where I'd go to find a sheet that large?

Oh, and thank you for your reply.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:03 PM
 
11,944 posts, read 14,708,685 times
Reputation: 2772
In a nutshell, lead acid battery power comes from interaction with metal. Plastic doesn't have the same chemical dynamic as metal. Batteries can only be as useful to people who are aware of their dangers. I'd hate to see your home and your family be a statistic. Be very careful, and yes, read the manual before you do anything. Since it's so new, perhaps you can talk to customer service folks for specific prevention solutions.
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:21 PM
 
28,105 posts, read 63,315,968 times
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Battery Acid is shipped in Plastic Jugs...

Today's Batteries have a Plastic/Composite case. Batteries of yesteryear had rubber cases with wooden separators between the cells.

I didn't realize the Golf Cart is only a year old... I would be on the phone with the dealer, manufacturer and the battery company Monday morning.

What you described is a classic case of over charging... it shortens battery life and dangerous when it occurs to the degree you've mentioned.

My guess... and it is only a guess... is to make sure the Battery Charger is not defective...

Overcharging Batteries was quite common in the past when battery charges did not have protection against overcharging. I've ruined a battery or two by putting them on a charger and forgetting about it until I could smell the air heavy with acid fumes...
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:38 PM
 
175 posts, read 935,783 times
Reputation: 151
Ok guys.... I pulled my husband and his buddy off the golf course and showed them your posts...and I bitched a little, (or a lot).

Dear hubby is guillty of filling those batteries to the TOP causing it to overflow. Regarding the proper ventilation, his buddy said all he needs to do is prop up the seat with a stick of something to leave it open while charging.

The floor (dirt) is all swept up and I'm heading for Office Depot to buy the plastic mats that are used under office chairs....just he case he fills it too full again. Also, it needs distilled water.

Wow, I've been mad at my hubby for a year and just looked the other way every time I saw that mess. In just a matter of hours, my problem is solved and we are no longer in danger.

THANKS FOR THE HELP AND VERY USEFUL INFORMATION!!!!!
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:02 PM
 
28,105 posts, read 63,315,968 times
Reputation: 23206
Default Kudos for your Husband even checking the batteries!

Sounds like your Husband is conscientious... most people I know never check their batteries and most wouldn't have a clue how to add distilled water.

Typical Batteries have a fill mark inside that is often called a ring... as long as the electrolyte (water) covers the tops of internal plates... you OK. What you don't want is for the plates to become exposed and dry because it ruins them.

So go easy on him... he sounds very conscientious

A plastic mat is OK... but you still need something to catch or absorb the acid otherwise it will eventually spill over on the concrete.

Be careful with battery acid... it will cause severe skin burns and blindness if splashed directly in an eye.

A cheap way to neutralized the acid in the concrete is to gently wet down the affected area and sprinkle Baking Soda on the area... if it starts to fix, it is working...

Be sure to dilute or flood the area with a hose... With acid... it is all in the concentration.
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Old 02-24-2008, 05:29 PM
 
175 posts, read 935,783 times
Reputation: 151
Ok, I will do the baking soda thing as well.
Again, thanks for all the info and help.
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Old 02-25-2008, 03:00 PM
Status: "MAGA - Mental Ability Gone Awry" (set 16 days ago)
 
13,132 posts, read 21,644,060 times
Reputation: 13920
Since the battery has lost acid, that acid needs to be replenished for the battery to work at peak efficiency. The only way to know for sure how much to add is to use a hydrometer to measure the battery's specific gravity. You could buy a hydrometer. Or frankly it might be best to take the cart in for service and let them check replenish the acid for you.
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