Lifespan of a Portable Fire Extinguisher
With proper care, fire extinguishers should last at least 10 to 12 years. At this age, your extinguishers require hydrostatic testing to verify the integrity of the outer shell. If it passes the test, you can recharge the extinguisher and continue using it for several more years.
When to Replace a Fire Extinguisher
Disposable fire extinguishers, which you can’t recharge, should be replaced every 12 years. As for rechargeable fire extinguishers, dispose of them if they exhibit any of these problems:
- Slow loss of pressure despite not being used for a long time
- Cracked or clogged nozzle
- Wobbly or broken handle
- Missing or broken pin
- Damaged outer shell
- Missing inspection tag
- Failed hydrostatic test
What Should I Do with an Expired Fire Extinguisher?
Sometimes, specific components can be repaired, especially if the fire extinguisher is relatively new. If you’re not sure whether to repair or replace a damaged extinguisher, call Guardian Fire Protection for an inspection. We’ll offer our professional advice based on what we find.
If it turns out you need to replace your fire extinguishers, you can’t simply throw them away because they’re considered hazardous materials. After all, high-pressure chemicals can be very dangerous if mishandled. Here’s what to do with an old, damaged, or expired extinguisher:
- If the fire extinguisher is partially or fully charged, call your fire department to ask if they accept drop offs. If not, take the canister to a hazardous waste disposal facility.
- If the fire extinguisher is empty, squeeze the lever to ensure no pressure remains inside. Remove the extinguisher head to make it apparent that it isn’t charged. Then, call a local recycling facility to ask about dropping off the steel canister.