How to Know When to Recharge Your Fire Extinguisher

There’s no doubt that fire extinguishers are among the most important tools in any fire safety plan. They’re often the first line of defense against fires – and their usage can prevent certain fires from becoming catastrophic – saving both lives and assets.

However, many people make the mistake of depending on the same, old fire extinguishers they’ve had over the course of a few years. They think that because they haven’t had to use them that they should be full and ready to go whenever needed. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Fire extinguishers need to be charged in order to operate correctly. Here are some ways you can stay out ahead of this issue and make sure that when called upon – your fire extinguishers will be ready.

Was your extinguisher recently used?

If the answer is ‘yes’ – then it’s time to get it recharged. If the answer is ‘no, it hasn’t been used in years’ – then you really, really need to get it charged. Over time an extinguisher can leak pressure – so little you’d never notice it. And when it leaks air pressure, it also leaks chemicals from within the extinguisher. That’s bad if you need to fight a fire – it’s doubly bad if you lack both the chemicals and the air pressure to fight the fire.

Take the time to read this blog through, then call someone and get it inspected. Oh, and speaking of inspections…

Get your extinguishers inspected regularly

You should get your extinguishers inspected every year. Get a fire safety pro to come through, inspect them -and make sure everything is working as it should be. Fire extinguishers are incredibly durable – but in the rare event that they’re not, it’s important to be prepared. Professionals will also notice things that you simply wouldn’t think or know how to look for. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Be on the lookout for problems

Things like low-pressure readings are a sign that you might need to get your extinguisher recharged. This would also apply if you can’t read operating instructions or you notice that certain seals have been broken. Also – if your extinguisher has been tampered with in any way – It should immediately be replaced.

Beware pressure gage issues

Anytime you notice little to no change in a pressure gage over the span of a few months, you could potentially have an issue. Your unit could be overcharged or undercharged – and you’ll need to make sure that your extinguisher is within safe operational parameters.

If you have any questions about this or any other fire protection topic, please contact Protegis Fire & Safety.

Should I Refill or Replace My Fire Extinguisher?

If you’ve recently had to use your fire extinguishers to put out a fire, then you have one of two options. The first is to get your fire extinguisher completely refilled or recharged. The second option is to simply replace your entire unit. How do you know which one you should choose? What things should you consider? That’s what we’re here to discuss today.

Here is some quick, helpful advice when it comes to determining whether you should replace your fire safety equipment or simply have it refilled. Let’s jump right in!

When to refill your tank

Fire extinguishers are built to last – and in some cases can be useful for up to 12 years or more. This means that so long as you keep up with your regular, routine inspections and take care of your equipment, your shell should be in good shape and you’ll be able to simply recharge your extinguisher as many times as you need to.

A caveat to this, however, is with regards to smaller fire extinguishers. They’re usually only made for a few uses if that. So if you recently used one to put out a fire, we recommend you simply get it replaced. For normal to larger extinguishers, you should be fine getting them refilled.

When it’s time to get them replaced

Any time you use an extinguisher, you should have it inspected. But when is it time to get a totally new unit? We recommend purchasing a replacement IF:

  • The hose or nozzle is damaged
  • Pins are broken or missing
  • Wobbly handles
  • No inspection tag or a missing inspection tag
  • Cracks or damage to the extinguisher’s shell.

These are all repairs that can’t be made or if they were made – would cost you a pretty penny. A good rule of thumb is that if the extinguisher experiences any kind of significant damage on the exterior, then it’s time to get it replaced.

If you have a question about this or any other fire protection topic, please contact Protegis Fire & Safety.