If your smart, caring Roomba had a heart, you'd find it adjacent to its brushes, behind a screwed-in plastic square: its battery.
Actually, the Roomba's battery is essentially 12 NiMH batteries strung together to create one ginormous nickel-based battery. iRobot promises that the battery can run for up to 2 hours, and based on our estimates, will last about 400 charges.
That's all fine and good, but depending on how the robot's battery is taken care of, you could find yourself replacing it sooner than you'd like. And for the same reasons, you might find your Roomba getting tired before that 2-hour mark.
Save yourself the expense of a new battery and keep it vacuuming longer with these tips.
Clean those brushes
Each time your Roomba cleans up, debris like dust, hair, and fur get caught in its brushes. Of course they do -- that's the Roomba's job. However, when that debris builds up, your robot works harder to spin the brushes, draining away its precious battery life.
At least once weekly, remove your Roomba's brushes and get them clean.
Keep it charged and use it often
For the Roomba's nickel-based (not lithium ion like smartphones) batteries, it's best to keep the unit charging whenever you're not using it. However, don't leave it in its dock for days at a time -- lots of vacuuming will keep its battery healthy.
Exhaust the battery
To maintain the battery's capacity, it's important to drain it every so often. To do this, simply run the vacuum until the battery dies, then charge it to full. For best results, repeat this process a few times.
Keep it cool
This advice is applicable to devices well beyond your Roomba -- computers and smartphones should adhere to this policy, too.
To increase the battery's longevity, store your robot in a cool, dry place. The unit should stay out of direct sunlight, where heat could damage the battery. Likewise, be sure to give the unit plenty of breathing room, away from other heat-producing appliances and electronics.
Put it in vacation mode
If you're going away on vacation, put your Roomba in what could be called "vacation mode." Doing so will ensure the battery remains healthy when it's not being used for weeks at a time. (Alternatively, you could schedule your Roomba to continue vacuuming, even when you're away.)
To put your robot in vacation mode, charge the battery completely. Then, remove it by flipping the Roomba over and removing the two screws that secure the battery door. Check out the video above for a more visual guide.
Once the battery is out, store it in a cool dry place, separate from the unit.
When you return from vacation, recharge the unit to full, then run it until it dies. Then, you're free to go back to your regular routine.