More Power!

On TV's 'Home Improvement,' Al Borland often cringes when his boss, Tim Taylor calls for 'More Power!' Yet, on April 26th, Richard Karn, who plays Borland, was the one educating users on how to elicit 'more power' out of their cordless tools.

May 08, 2000

On TV's "Home Improvement," Al Borland often cringes when his boss, Tim Taylor calls for "More Power!" Yet, on April 26th, Richard Karn, who plays Borland, was the one educating users on how to elicit "more power" out of their cordless tools.

Karn served as spokesperson for National Battery Check Day, sponsored by the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp. (RBRC), a nonprofit public service organization that educates users about rechargeable battery recycling and offers tips to help extend the longevity and responsibly use rechargeable batteries.

On April 26, Karn donated his handyman skills to Habitat for Humanity, helping to rehabilitate a home in Harlem. After working in New York, Karn flew to Toronto to meet with students at the Ontario Science Center and test their knowledge of battery power and recycling. Naturally, Karn focused on the batteries used in cordless tools.

"Cordless power tools help bring homes together, but people rarely consider the batteries behind them," said Karn. "Nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries can and should be recycled. I'm thrilled to help teach folks how they can help the environment by recycling their used rechargeable batteries."

Most nickel-cadmium batteries, commonly used for cordless tools and cellular phones, can be recharged up to 1,000 times before the battery will no longer hold sufficient charge. After the battery runs out, the units can be dismantled and the recovered cadmium used to make new batteries. Recovered nickel and iron are also used to make stainless steel products. Currently, more than 29,000 participating retail stores will accept spent batteries and transport them to recycling facilities in Pennsylvania.

Most recyclable batteries are labeled with the EPA Certified RBRC Battery Recycling Seal, but any small dry-cell nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cad) rechargeable battery can be reused. Participating retailers include Circuit City, Target, Wal-mart and Sears. For more information or assistance in finding the nearest participating retailer, visit or call (800) 822-88379.

To encourage responsible use of tools and other items that use rechargeable batteries, the RBRC offers the following advice:

  • Read and follow the charging instructions provided with your product. Each charger utilizes a specific strategy to charge the battery.

  • Charge your new battery overnight (14 to 16 hours) before using it. This is called "initializing" and will enable you to obtain the maximum battery capacity possible.

  • Let a discharged battery cool to room temperature before recharging. A warm battery will signal the thermal cut-off switch to stop the charging process prematurely, and the battery will not get a full charge.

  • Recharge batteries only when they are near to fully discharged. A discharged battery can be detected by a sharp drop in speed or power, or by a reduction in the number of power indicators.

  • Do not return fully charged batteries to the charger for "extra boosts." This will overcharge the cells and significantly shorten their life span.

  • Never leave your battery in the charger when not charging. Continuous charging will shorten battery life.
  • About the Author

    Overlay Init