Many home blood pressure monitors operate using battery power. The batteries can last a long time depending on how often you use your monitor. Battery usage can raise some questions like, how often should you change batteries in a blood pressure monitor?
The batteries in a blood pressure monitor should be changed under three circumstances. Change the batteries when the battery charge indicator indicates a low charge, the monitor display dims or the display does not light up.
This blog post will clarify these circumstances in more detail. In addition, what type of batteries to use, should they be left in the monitor when you’re not using it and can old batteries affect your BP readings.
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How Often You Should Replace Batteries in a Blood Pressure Monitor
There are three circumstances when the batteries in your home blood pressure should be changed 1.
1. The Battery Charge Indicator Indicates a Low Charge
The battery charge indicator should be located on the monitor’s display when it is turned on 2. It’s typically located somewhere near the top of the display and looks like the shape of a battery. It should have approximately four or five colored or shaded bars.
When the batteries are fully charged, the indicator will have all the shaded bars displayed. As the batteries lose their charge, the shaded bars will disappear one by one. Depending on your monitor, you will receive a low battery alert. Some possible alerts are the following:
- BAT-LOW message
- One bar remaining on the indicator
- The indicator blinks
- The indicator changes color
The monitor in the photo above is my personal home blood pressure monitor. It’s the fastest home BP monitor and the most accurate under arm movement. Find out how fast in my detailed review in my blog post, Welch Allyn Home 1700 Series Blood Pressure Monitor Review.
2. The Monitor Display Dims
As the batteries lose their charge, the display may become dimmer and become less bright. If this occurs, change the batteries 3. It’s a good idea to become familiar with how bright the display is when the monitor has new batteries.
3. The Monitor Display Does Not Light Up
If the display doesn’t light up at all, the first remedy is to change the batteries. Typically, this problem occurs when you haven’t used the monitor in some time and the batteries lost their charge with the monitor unused.
For someone who uses their monitor regularly, you’d probably receive the low battery warning or the display diming before it goes completely blank.
How To Change Batteries in a Blood Pressure Monitor
- Identify what kind of batteries your monitor requires. Most home monitors use 4 AA alkaline batteries.
- Turn the monitor off.
- Remove the battery cover.
- Remove the old batteries.
- Install the new batteries one at a time. Be sure to match the polarity (positive and negative side matching the battery diagram in the battery compartment).
- Replace the cover.
- The memory will remain even after the batteries are replaced.
Turn on the monitor and make sure the monitor display appears typical. If the monitor doesn’t turn on, double check to make sure the batteries were installed properly. If so, install four other batteries to make sure the others weren’t defective or lost their charge prior to installing.
How Long Do Batteries Last in a Blood Pressure Monitor?
How long the batteries last in a blood pressure monitor depends how often blood pressure is measured. A blood pressure monitor used everyday will drain the battery power faster than one used every few days.
If you do not use the monitor regularly, it’s a good idea to remove the batteries. If the batteries are kept installed long enough without use, they may leak and corrode. Some manufacturers, like Omron, recommend to remove the batteries if the monitor will be unused for three months or longer 4.
Can Old Batteries Affect Blood Pressure Readings?
If the batteries become old and are not replaced after receiving a low battery warning, the monitor may not operate efficiently and can affect blood pressure measurements.
How Accurate Are Battery Operated Blood Pressure Machines?
Battery operated blood pressure machines are accurate as long as the batteries contain a charge and the recommended steps for measuring blood pressure are followed.
The following are factors 5 which may affect the accuracy of a battery operated blood pressure machine:
- The batteries are completely drained.
- The body position when measuring. A person should be sitting in an upright chair, back supported, feet flat on the floor and legs uncrossed.
- The arm position. The elbow should be resting on a comfortable surface. The arm should be supported.
- BP cuff height. The cuff should be at the same level as the atrium of the heart. Typically, this is mid level of the sternum (half way from where the collar bones meet down to where the bottom of the ribcage meets).
- Failure to relax for five minutes prior to measuring blood pressure.
- For thirty minutes prior to measuring, don’t smoke, eat, drink caffeine or exercise.
- While measuring, remain relaxed and don’t talk.
Problems Batteries Can Cause for a Blood Pressure Monitor
The following problems can be caused by weak or improperly installed batteries in a blood pressure monitor:
- No power.
- Display won’t light up.
- Display is dim.
- Low battery indicator warning will activate.
Can You Use Rechargeable Batteries in a Blood Pressure Monitor?
You can use rechargeable batteries in a blood pressure monitor. The rechargeable battery must be the same type of battery the manufacturer recommends for the monitor.
Blood Pressure Monitor with Rechargeable Batteries
Some monitors come with a built-in rechargeable lithium battery. The batteries charge by connecting a USB chord into the charging port or with a plug in wall outlet charger. Most rechargeable blood pressure monitors are wrist cuffs or upper arm cuffs where the cuff and monitor are attached to each other.
Most of the rechargeable monitors are manufactured by a lesser known brand. Typically, those brands are lower quality but more affordable. Amazon sells a wide variety of them which you can check out by clicking here, rechargeable blood pressure monitors.
How do you charge a blood pressure monitor? A rechargeable blood pressure monitor is charged by plugging a charger into the unit and the other end into a wall outlet or a USB port.