Batteries are one of the pioneers of wireless technology but even they have trouble keeping up with electronics that keep increasing in power demands every generation. Laptops are among these electronics. A laptop battery even has a short life span– shorter than its laptop for sure.
That’s why it’s important to determine when to replace a laptop’s battery since an old laptop battery can be a ticking time bomb. Here are some signs that you’ll need to look out for your laptop battery if you want yourself or your laptop to be safe.
Note that they won’t always mean a dying or defective laptop battery, but they’re still worth checking out just to eliminate them as a concern or factor in your laptop’s issues. For the record, most laptop batteries have a lifespan of two to four years.
Laptop batteries are also easy enough to buy and replace.
You’re Getting Weaker Laptop Performance
If you play games that can run on a laptop battery or perform any heavy task on your laptop and you notice that the laptop now has slower or weaker performance or is always defaulting to power-saving mode, it could be a telltale sign of a dying laptop battery.
You might want to keep checking by hovering over or clicking on the laptop icon in the taskbar. It will show what mode the laptop is in.
You also might want to monitor a specific game’s performance or a specific task’s speed (such as Adobe Premiere’s video rendering) to see if they now feel laggy compared to before. Some laptop batteries might fail or die without warning.
Nowadays, overheating caused by laptop battery death is a rare occurrence due to advancements in lithium-ion tech, but just to be safe, consider this one as a factor.
There were cases in the recent past when the laptop battery died but the charger kept trying to charge it, resulting in excess heat circulating around the laptop’s chipset. This kind of prolonged state of operation can cause motherboard failure or faster wear due to higher heat.
So if you feel like your laptop’s fans are spinning too loud or too fast or that your laptop is now hotter than usual during gaming or other heavy tasks, then it might be worth checking out the insides of the laptop just to see the batteries.
Here’s a simple guide on opening up laptops (provided it’s out of warranty) which also doubles as how to upgrade your laptop. If it’s still under warranty, then use that instead to get a technician’s help.
The Battery Literally Looks Inflated
If you managed to open the laptop, check the battery immediately.
Should the laptop battery look anything like the image above, then that thing is no longer a battery. It has turned into an explosive device and you must now handle it with care when removing it. Better yet, have a technician remove it.
Bloated or inflated laptop batteries can and will explode and catch fire, especially if placed under heat, stress, or impact. In fact, if you’re going to handle or remove it yourself, use gloves or use tongs instead, but be careful not to drop it.
As a precaution, you’re also going to want to open your laptop every six months or every year once it’s out of warranty just to see the state of the battery. If it looks like it has been filled up with air or at the least bit swollen, don’t take your chances.
The Laptop Is Old
We also mentioned that a laptop battery typically only has two to four years of optimal operation. Past that, you’re going to get reduced power capacity or are more exposed to the other dangers we detailed here.
If your laptop is older than four years since the time you bought it and you’ve been using it constantly or frequently in those four years, chances are, the battery will need to get checked. That’s regardless of how much you took care of its battery.
You can either check ocularly it or have a professional look at the battery if you have the budget.
It Drains Faster
You’ll usually notice right away if something is wrong with the laptop battery even without prying the laptop open.
A dying or degraded laptop battery will drain faster, regardless of any application you’re using. Sometimes, the indicated battery life duration in your computer wouldn’t be true anymore and it will drain noticeably faster compared to its reported battery life.
Or in other cases, the timer will adjust or trickle down too fast, making it useless. This one is mostly up to your gut feeling as you know your laptop the most and can notice whichever changes are happening to it.
Longer Charging Time
Sometimes in conjunction with a faster drain, the laptop might also charge itself slower than usual. If you notice that it has been charging for more than three or four hours while idle, then it’s time to worry.
Most laptops will be fully charged in about two hours or so depending on their battery capacity. Some take as little as an hour to reach 80 percent.
A degraded laptop battery holds less of a charge or might no longer hold any charge, which is why the power supplied by the charger is being wasted and it’s taking longer to charge. Just make sure you’re not using the laptop for gaming or other heavy tasks while testing out its charging time.
Windows Tells You
Luckily, Windows is getting more and more thoughtful with each iteration (sort of) and it can tell you whether the laptop battery is performing sub-optimally.
You can get a popup or notification as soon as you boot your laptop that the battery is damaged or faulty.
This is not always the case as Windows and its diagnostic system and processes are not completely and irrefutably reliable. But it’s better than nothing and it might even give you an early warning sign.
Hopefully, these signs of a dying laptop battery can help you before your laptop becomes a danger to itself and its surroundings. Don’t worry, the lithium-ion explosion doesn’t always happen (it’s actually very rare), but it’s still possible. What’s more important is that you’re more aware now.