Maximizing Laptop Battery Life

The best thing about a laptop is that you can take it almost anywhere. Whether you’re at the airport, in your car, or playing Candycrush in your garage while hiding from holiday visitors, having a battery powered computer means you can work or play even if you don’t have a place to plug in.

Unfortunately, Batteries don’t last forever.

Regular use wears them out. The time between charges gets shorter and you can’t even get through an entire episode of the new Jessica Jones show before the low battery warning pops up. But don’t despair. Here are tips to preserve battery life on your laptop.

  1. Keep your laptop clean – Keeping the vents on your laptop free of dust means that the laptop doesn’t have to work as hard to run and to cool the system. A laptop that doesn’t have to work as hard is a laptop that uses less battery power.
  2. Dim your screen – A super-bright screen needs a lot of battery power. To preserve battery life, dim your laptop screen to the lowest comfortable level.
  3. Keep it cool – Heat breaks down batteries. Blocking the air vents on the bottom and sides of your laptop can reduce airflow. Since most laptops are air cooled, this can cause serious damage to the battery (and other components). Never set your laptop on a pillow or blanket. If you want to watch Hulu in bed, stick a book under your laptop or set the computer on the bedside table.
  4. Shut off unused hardware and background programs – Background programs and hardware can sneakily drain battery. If you’re typing a document in Word and not using the internet anyway, shut off your WiFi. If you’re listening to music, use your phone or iPod instead of running Spotify in the background. Use the onboard keyboard and trackpad. An external mouse or keyboard drains a lot of power.

You may have heard that letting your battery completely discharge (that is, using your laptop until the battery dies) is bad for it. This is true, but fortunately, most laptop manufacturers have solved this problem for you. Your computer will automatically shut down when the battery hits a predetermined low-point. Usually this is somewhere between 7 and 10%. (find directions on how to check your automatic shutdown settings in Windows)

Some people (Including this article from Wired.com) also say that you shouldn’t charge your battery to 100% because that will shorten its lifespan. This is hard advice to follow, because there’s no way to tell the battery to stop charging when it hits a certain percentage. If you’re serious about preserving battery life, your best bet may be to charge your laptop for only an hour at a time. The obvious drawback to this is that you’ll get less time between charges.

With proper care your battery can last long enough for your laptop to become obsolete. For more on battery care, or to order a replacement battery contact your local tech support team or call Technology Solutions, Inc. at 207-368-2880.

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