Heading off for your summer vacation or simply on the road for most the day? As someone who spends a decent amount of time on the go, I’m always on a quest to make the batteries in my electronic devices – be it my cell phone, my netbook or my laptop –last as long as possible.

Given that my laptop is turning two in August, I decided to do some research on how to extend my battery life not only for my short trips but also the overall lifespan of the battery. Experts say there are plenty of easy things you can do to prolong the life of electronic batteries. And to my surprise, they also dispelled some common myths or misconceptions that I had.

Here’s some general advice:

1. Avoid extreme heat – this is number one for a reason. It’s the most important thing you can do to protect your battery. A hot car (like mine in the summer) is not a good place for your electronics. Absolutely, gotta leave it in the car? The coolest place is under seat, not the dashboard, trunk or glove compartment. Apple even recommends you remove your device, such as an iPod, iPhone or iPad from any extra case if it gets hot while you charge it (not exactly convenient for some of us, but a good idea).
2. Take precautions in cold weather – When summer is over, don’t assume you’re good to go. Take the time to bring your battery up to room temperature before turning it on when it’s been exposed to very cold temperatures. In my case, this would apply more to my camera when I’m outside enjoying Vermont’s winter wonderland but if you’ve taken your smartphone up Mt. Everest, be sure to warm it up before you try to use it.

3. There’s no need to totally discharge your battery to make it last longer. I learned this was true of older batteries, but not today’s lithium-based models. It’s also no longer necessary to charge your battery for an extra long time for the first charge. Great news for those of us who want to take our new tech gadget on the go immediately!

4. Leave your battery in your laptop. Some websites recommend taking your battery out of your computer when you’re using it a desktop computer so that your battery doesn’t get worn out. As someone who does this frequently, I was happy to learn this was no longer necessary. In fact, Dell suggests that this is not such a good idea because you’re more likely to damage the battery when you take it in and out. Why is it no longer necessary? There is a microprocessor inside the battery manages the charging process automatically. What does this mean? The battery will stop charging on its own when it’s fully charged.

5. Looking for ways to extend the life of your battery between charges? Change your settings—turn off anything you don’t use – for example, the WiFi settings your smartphone or the Bluetooth feature on your laptop; switch your cell phone off when you’re in low coverage areas; keep your software which includes power management software up to date. Want more? Check out these tips from Apple, Dell and Nokia.

By following these simple tips, you can extend the lifespan of your battery—saving you money (no need to buy new batteries) and protect the environment by reducing another source of electronic waste. We recycled over 3 tons this past spring of our clients’ electronics.

Want to be even more “green”?

Unplug your cell phone from the charger when the battery is fully charged. Why? It saves energy. Don’t forget to unplug the charger from the wall or put it on a power strip with an easy on/off switch. While you’re at it, consider putting all your electronics that require charging on power strips that can be easily powered off to conserve energy when not in use. The chargers themselves draw a small trickle of electricity even when nothing is plugged into the charger. I was amazed at how much our energy usage went up over a 1 year period with basically no changes other than additional portable electronics in our home.

So, if you see me driving to Vermont on the NY State Thruway some weekend, you can be sure, my batteries are fully charged and my laptop and cell are ready to go!

Have a great tip that you’d like to share? Speak up, I’d love to hear from you.