How to Add Distilled Water to Battery?

Flooded batteries or maintenance batteries need to be filled up with distilled water or battery water (conforming to IS1069:1993 specifications) on a regular basis. The process of adding distilled water to the battery cells is known as topping up the battery or watering the battery.

Here is a brief procedure outlining how to add distilled water to battery along with the tools, spares, safety equipment and other materials required for topping up the battery.

Materials and Usage

  • Rubber or Latex Gloves (industrial gloves are preferred)
  • - To avoid contact with dust, debris and the battery electrolyte (diluted acid) during cleaning and topping up the battery

  • Safety Glasses or Goggles (industrial goggles are preferred)
  • - To avoid any dust, debris and the battery electrolyte getting into the eyes during cleaning and topping up the battery

  • Vacuum Cleaner (with both blower and suction functions)
  • - To quickly clean dust, cobweb and other debris around the battery

  • Dry Cotton Waste (a handful of cotton waste is usually required)
  • - To clean the surface of battery and any liquid spills

  • Pair of Spanners (10-11 and 13-14 size spanners are usually required)
  • To disconnect and reconnect the battery cables to the battery terminals

  • Plastic Tray
  • - To keep the battery caps (vent caps, float caps and terminal caps) during cleaning and topping up the battery

  • Distilled Water Can or Bottle (5 Lt cans and 1 Lt bottles are commercially available)
  • - To store distilled water before topping (2 to 4 litres of distilled water are usually required per battery)

  • Plastic Mug (preferably 1 litre with volume markings)
  • - To easily pour distilled water into the plastic funnel without spilling
    - To measure the amount of distilled water poured into each battery cell and battery

  • Plastic Funnel
  • - To gently pour distilled water into the battery cells without spilling

  • Notepad (or plain paper)
  • - To note down, if required,:
    - – The date and time of the battery electrolyte level inspection and topping
    - – The level of battery electrolyte in each cell
    - – The battery voltage and individual cell voltage (requires use of multi-meter)
    - – The specific gravity of the electrolyte in each cell (requires use of hydrometer)
    - – The amount (in litres) of distilled water topped up in each battery cell and battery
    - – Any other observations of importance

Step-by-Step Procedure

    1. Switch off the charger, inverter or UPS connected to the battery
    2. Disconnect the battery cables from the battery terminals, if required, using appropriate size spanners
    3. Vacuum area around the battery to quickly clean up dust, cobweb and other debris
    4. Clean the surface of battery with dry cotton waste
    5. Inspect indicators on the battery float caps, if available, to quickly determine the battery cells that need topping. Topping is required for the battery cells whose indicator is approaching the red marking.
    6. Unscrew  the battery vent or float caps one at a time and place them carefully in the plastic tray without spilling any electrolyte collected in the microporous ceramic aquatrap
    7. Check the level of electrolyte in each battery cells and make a note of the battery cells that need topping. The electrolyte should always immerse the battery plates and be between the minimum and maximum markings specified on battery
    8. Pour about 500 to 750 ml of distilled water from the distilled water can or bottle into the plastic mug. Repeat this step as required
    9. Place the plastic funnel into the battery vent well (battery cell opening) and pour distilled water from the plastic mug till the battery electrolyte level rises to about 1.25 inches (31.75 mm) to 1 inch (25.40 mm) from the bottom of vent well (brim of the battery cell opening). Repeat this step for each battery cell that needs topping
    10. Clean the surface of battery and any liquid spills with dry cotton waste, if required
    11. Pick the battery vent or float caps one at a time, carefully from the plastic tray without spilling any electrolyte collected in the microporous ceramic aquatrap, and screw them back gently without over-tightening
    12. Connect back the battery cables from the battery terminals, if disconnected earlier, using appropriate size spanners
    13. Switch on the charger, inverter or UPS connected to the battery
    14. Clean up the place with vacuum cleaner, if required, and collect the tools, spares, safety equipment and other materials used for topping up the battery

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