How Old Is My Fire Extinguisher?
Has your business operated out of the same building for several years? Perhaps you recently moved to your current location after the previous tenant moved out. Either way, the old, dusty fire extinguisher on the wall has grabbed your attention and made you think—how old is my fire extinguisher? Here’s how to tell when the canister was manufactured and when and how to replace it.
Determining the Age of Your Fire Extinguisher
No matter what type of fire extinguisher you have, the manufacturing date should be featured somewhere on the canister. It might be printed on the extinguisher label or stamped into the cylinder body. If you don’t readily see a date stamp, check under the plastic ring around the neck of the extinguisher or beneath the rubber boot at the base of the cylinder. If paint has obscured the numbers, remove it with emery cloth so you can read the date clearly.
How Long Do Fire Extinguishers Last?
Disposable fire extinguishers, which can’t be recharged, last for 12 years, after which time you should dispose of them. Rechargeable extinguishers can last much longer with proper servicing and maintenance:
- To extend the service of foam, water, and powder extinguishers, refill them five years after the initial commissioning date or six years after manufacture, whichever comes first, and every five years after that.
- To extend the service of pressurized CO2 extinguishers, have them hydrostatically tested to check the integrity of the shell. If the canister holds up, recharge it and put it back into service. If the extinguisher fails the test, replace it. This testing should take place 10 years after the cylinder manufacture date and every 10 to 12 years after that.
When to Replace vs. Recharge an Old Fire Extinguisher
Many things can go wrong with fire extinguishers that might require you to recharge or replace them. Ask Kauffman Co. to come take a look if you notice any of these problems during a routine monthly fire extinguisher inspection:
- Cracked or otherwise damaged shell
- Cracked, ripped, or clogged hose or nozzle
- Missing or unsealed pin
- Broken or wobbly handle
- Low pressure indication
- Missing inspection tag
We’ll recommend servicing and recharging the extinguisher if doing so would be economical and equally as effective as replacing the unit. On the other hand, if the canister is damaged beyond repair, we’ll assist you with replacing your fire extinguisher.
Disposing of an Old Fire Extinguisher
If you determine it’s time to replace your old fire extinguisher, you must do so properly. After all, the canister contains pressurized chemicals, so you can’t simply throw it in the trash. Here’s what you need to do:
- If the fire extinguisher is mostly or entirely full, call your local fire department to ask about dropping off the extinguisher there. If this isn’t possible, take the canister to the nearest hazardous waste disposal facility.
- If the fire extinguisher is empty, take it outside and squeeze the lever to make sure all pressure has been released. Remove the nozzle to make it evident that the extinguisher is empty. Call a recycling facility to ask about dropping off the steel shell.
Schedule Fire Extinguisher Services in Houston
Is it time to inspect or test your fire extinguishers? Perhaps you just noticed something wrong with one of your canisters. Either way, call Kauffman Co.! We’ll make sure your fire protection equipment is working properly, and if any cylinders fail to pass an inspection or hydrostatic test, we’ll assist you with the fire extinguisher replacement process.
Contact Kauffman Co. today to schedule the fire extinguisher services you need for your Houston-area business.
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