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Fire Extinguishers – Recharge or Replace?

This is a guest post by Nick at Guardian Fire Protection. If you would like to Guest Post, check out the Guidelines here.

A fire extinguisher that’s not properly charged is just as dangerous, if not MORE dangerous, than not having a fire extinguisher at all. One thing many people don’t know is that fire extinguishers that have been used at all should be considered empty and should be either recharged or replaced – regardless of how much extinguishant was actually sprayed out! So now that you know when your fire extinguishers need to be serviced, the question remains: should they be recharged or replaced?

A good fire extinguisher should last you up to 12 years or more, provided you keep up with proper maintenance. What this means as long as the shell holds up, you should be fine with just having your fire extinguisher refilled and letting it live its life. However, if you want the best (and most economical) fire protection, you’re usually better off letting your fire protection company replace the extinguishers! Fire extinguishers are generally not expensive (refilling them is often the same cost as replacing!) and getting brand new fire extinguishers is the easiest way to guarantee that you’ll be completely protected from fires.

Note: the above applies only to fire extinguishers that have been used. If your fire extinguisher is slowly losing charge even though you haven’t touched it in a while, you may have a leak or a small crack in the shell – both things that would require fire extinguisher replacement.

When else should you have your fire extinguishers replaced?

Since your fire extinguishers need to be working perfectly at all times in order to keep you safe, it’s important that you have them replaced any time their charge has been compromised for any reason. This means replacing your fire extinguishers if:

  • The hose or nozzle is cracked, ripped or clogged
  • The pin on the handle is broken or missing
  • The handle is wobbly
  • The inspection tag is missing
  • The shell is cracked or damaged

If you have fire extinguishers in your building that have been used recently and have lost some of their charge, call a fire protection company as soon as possible. Having non-working fire extinguishers that fail when you try to use them can seriously endanger life and safety in your building, because people may spend precious time trying to figure out how to get them to work instead of getting themselves to safety. And remember: the best way to avoid any issues with your fire extinguishers is by having them professionally inspected by a fire protection services company once a year.

Guardian Fire Protection is a fire extinguisher services and fire protection services company headquartered in Rockville, Maryland. We have over 30 years of experience providing complete fire protection services for businesses, organizations, government buildings and restaurants in the Washington, DC area.

One Response to Fire Extinguishers – Recharge or Replace?

  • You are right in saying that good extinguishers last 12 years and more, however, quite often it costs more to refill let’s say a powder extinguisher than to buy new. Just do the comparison and choose whatever is cheaper. Refilling of water extinguishers on the other hand can be quite economic, as the old extinguishing agent can be easily got rid off.

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